4 Resolutions You Can Make to Secure Your Network in the New Year

2017 is almost upon us, and now is the time for IT leaders and network administrators to take a hard look at their technology resources. As this year comes to a close, it’s an opportune moment to take stock of what has worked in the past, what hasn’t and what changes should be made as we head into January.

For IT stakeholders, much of these considerations boil down to the network underpinning the organization’s most critical processes and how it can be better secured. In this spirit, here are four resolutions your technology leaders can make to improve the security of this important resource next year:

1) Resolve to vet and closely manage third-party vendors

The rise of cloud- and -as-a-service offerings mean one thing for today’s organizations: Many institutions are now involved with a greater number of third-party providers, bringing key capabilities out from under the business’s own roof. This approach has numerous advantages, but can also open a company to additional risk.

As we head into the new year, it’s important that network stakeholders place a major focus on their interactions and relationships with these third parties. In recent years, several data breaches have taken place as a result of outsourced partnerships, including the infamous Target breach. For this reason, it’s critical that IT stakeholders closely manage and oversee all access and activities taking place on the network that originate from a third party.

2) Resolve to educate employees

Another weak link in the security chain that should be addressed is an organization’s own employees. When staff members don’t have the best understanding of their own responsibilities and how their actions can impact security, they could be increasing a company’s vulnerability to outside threats.

In fact, according to a 2015 study from CompTIA, more than half of all data breaches – 52 percent – come as a result of human error. This can extend to a failure to follow organizational procedures, not getting up to speed about emerging threats or a general lack of expertise or carelessness.

In any form, human error can increase the risk an institution faces. In order to combat this, it’s important that IT leaders educate employees about the vulnerabilities they face, the latest network threats and what staff members should do to prevent them. Ongoing training sessions may be the most helpful to supporting employee education.

3) Resolve to guard against ransomware

Speaking of emerging threats, ransomware has become a formidable foe for even the most experienced security professionals. What’s more, experts predict that we’ll only see an increase in these types of attacks, coupled with more advanced cybercriminal strategies.

As we head into 2017, it’s critical for network security administrators to be aware of the latest ransomware families, as well as the behaviors these threats display when they’ve infected a system. Being prepared to respond is crucial to containing the threat.

4) Resolve to update legacy security technologies

Whether guarding against ransomware or other types of malicious threats, it’s imperative to have high-level security tools in place. As threats become more advanced, so too should an organization’s protection. It’s essential to have best-in-class security measures to support your organization’s safeguarding strategy, including a next-generation firewall.

Untangle is a leader in network security and provides one one of the most powerful and complete firewall solutions available today. To find out more, visit our website and contact us today.