Network infrastructure security is very vital for the success of the business. It ensures that all devices connected across the network can securely transport communications needed for data, services, multimedia, and other applications.
There are several devices that comprise the components of the network infrastructure, and they include routers, firewalls, servers, load-balancers, domain name systems, and intrusion detection systems. These devices are the ideal targets for cybercriminals. Remember that all the business traffic and consumer traffic must pass through them.
What can attackers do for network infrastructure security?
Any hacker who infiltrates the business gateway router can easily monitor, deny traffic and even modify the traffic flow of the business. On the other hand, an attacker in the presence of the business’s routing and switching infrastructure can deny traffic from and to the critical hosts inside the business network.
They can leverage the trust relationships and conduct lateral movements to their target hosts. This is why it’s recommended for businesses to adopt secure network infrastructure security practices to help in avoiding malware attacks.
Security threats associated with network infrastructure devices
Devices that make up the network infrastructure security components are prone to attacks as they are a vital gateway into the business’s systems. Below are factors that contribute to the vulnerability of the business network infrastructure devices.
Fault network devices
The manufacturers and suppliers sometimes distribute devices built with easily exploitable services. Sometimes these devices are designed to enable easy installation, maintenance, and installation. You can easily find a replacement for these devices on the market. These devices are a prime target for hackers.
They will first buy them at an affordable price and learn how they work within a short time, and then lay the attack on your business network. If you are operating a gaming business, you must ensure that your systems are built with high-quality devices to avoid hassles when customers play fantasy games.
Few network devices
Most business organizations do not have advanced network infrastructure. Maybe, they can’t afford to buy these devices because of their limited budget. The whole system becomes vulnerable to attacks when the network infrastructure is built with few devices or some essential devices are lacking.
Avoid using general-purpose devices to protect your network infrastructure. Invest in the particular devices that can be explicitly used for a specific purpose.
Default settings change failure or equipment replacement
When you fail to change the default setting of the devices making up the network infrastructure security, your business systems become vulnerable to attacks. In this case, you fail to harden the operating device settings. On the other hand, once the device is not supported by the internet service provider, failure to replace it may lead to vulnerability in your network infrastructure.
How to improve your network infrastructure security
There are several recommendations that the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency encourages businesses to implement to improve their security. And they include.
Secure access to infrastructure devices
The more you limit the administrative privileges for the network security infrastructure, the more you limit the chances of the intruder using these privileges to exploit your security systems. Hackers can take advantage of these privileges that are improperly granted to traverse the network or take full control of the network infrastructure backbone.
To secure access to the infrastructure devices, you must implement multi-factor authentication and manage administrative credentials and privileged access. If you control these three, you can be assured that you have improved the security of the whole network infrastructure.
Perform out-of-band management
Performing out-of-band management ensures that your network infrastructure is remotely managed through alternative communication paths. Most of these communication paths often differ in configuration, including anything from physical separation to virtual tunneling.
This strengthens the network infrastructure security by limiting access and ensuring that the user traffic is separated from the network management traffic. The out-of-band management also ensures monitoring and performs corrective actions without necessarily allowing the attackers who had attempted to infiltrate the system to observe these new changes.
You can implement the out-of-band through hybrid, virtually or physically, by building additional physical network infrastructure for the network managers. The virtual implementation is less costly and requires significant configuration changes for tunnel encryption.
Limit unnecessary lateral communications
One of the significant security challenges facing the network infrastructure of most businesses is the vulnerability to unfiltered peer-to-peer communication or workstation-to-workstation communication. This can often lead to serious security breaches and allow hackers to infiltrate the network system very fast and spread their malicious programs to multiple systems.
When the hacker establishes a clear beachhead with the network, the unfiltered lateral communications will allow them to create backdoors through the business network. With these backdoors, the intruders can maintain persistent attacks within the network.
Your efforts to defend the network infrastructure from more attacks and eradicate the attackers will always be in vain. So, ensure that you restrict communications using firewall-based rules that will deny the flow of information packets from other hosts in the network system.
Harden network devices
Hardening the network devices is one of the most fundamental ways to enhance the security of your network infrastructure. Ensure that you safeguard the configurations of the networking devices to thwart any attempt to infiltrate your network system. There is a wide range of guidance to administrators often supplied by government agencies and organizations on how to harden the network devices.
You can disable unencrypted remote admin protocols that manage the network infrastructure, like the file transfer protocol. Then, disable the unnecessary devices on the network, like discovery protocols or the hypertext transfer protocol. Ensure that you regularly test the security configuration against all the security requirements.
Improving the security of the network infrastructure is one of the best ways to prevent hackers from infiltrating your network systems. You need to harden all the network devices, perform out-of-band network management, limit unnecessary lateral communications, and then secure access to the infrastructure devices. This way, you will have improved and made sure that the number of hackers who can potentially intrude is very minimal.