Practical Network Security

Practical network security is a hot topic among business owners and IT professionals recently.  Network security solutions can allow you to protect sensitive data, and meet your compliance demands.  It can also hamper user productivity, limit access to needed data, and generally be a nuisance.

Striking a Balance

It then becomes the IT departments job to strike a balance between security and usability.  To be able to do this effectively it’s important that they have a good understanding of company processes and workflows.  This will empower them to make better decisions about the solutions they put in place.

User input on the types of solutions can be helpful as well.  This data gathered from the users on the front line can help to make critical decisions about the types of solutions selected.  This is in the interest of all parties, as the best solutions will add necessary security without impacting productivity.

Impractical Network Security

So how can you tell if you’re not striking the right balance with your security?  What if you don’t have the right solutions in place?

One of the main indicators to an IT guy that things aren’t set up in a way that works for his users is that they actively start to work to get around the system.  If your security is so cumbersome that your users “get creative” and start figuring out workarounds that are even less secure than the original configuration you have a problem.

Security solutions that are this cumbersome can do more harm than good.  Not only do they decrease security, they waste time and hurt employee productivity.

Security Vs Business Flexibility

An interesting study recently asked 380 IT professionals about their thoughts on IT Security and business flexibility.  It was commented on in a recent article in Betanews.

When asked about their preference if they needed to choose between IT security and business flexibility, 71 percent of respondents said that security should be equally or more important than business flexibility.

But show them the money and things change, when the same people were asked if they would take the risk of a potential security threat in order to achieve the biggest deal of their life, 69 percent of respondents say they would take the risk.

“These results show that organizations have a long way to go to balance security and business,” says Zoltán Györkő, CEO at Balabit. “They demonstrate that while security overload may be tolerated during normal business, when it comes to big deals the respondents would not hesitate to bypass security to win business. It is important that this is recognized as an issue and dealt with accordingly”.

Solutions that a business put in place have to be practical and not impede the speed of progress.  Business owners and IT professionals must agree that the IT systems exists to support the business and not the other way around.

Let’s talk it out

Open communication between IT staff, management, and end users will best facilitate the selection of appropriate security solutions.  In 2019, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that going without network security simply isn’t an option.  There are too many examples of major breaches that have cost companies millions and damaged their brand at the same time.

Hospitals are a good example of this.  Healthcare is a field that has very specific needs.  Their patient data is completely private and must remain secure.  However, they often must render life saving care to someone in an emergency.  Immediate access to records with possible drug interactions must be immediately available.

To solve this problem most hospitals have gone to a solution where healthcare professionals can quickly scan an ID badge to access their computers instead of typing a password.  Those seconds can be critical in an emergency.

If open communication and a good understanding of the needs exist IT can usually devise a system that will allow their users needed access while maintaining security.

Here to help

i.t.NOW has been working with businesses across the US for over 20 years to help them develop and maintain their networks including practical network security solutions.  Feel free to reach out for a free consultation on your security needs.  We promise to work to understand your business, processes, needs, and to offer practical security solutions that won’t impede your work.