A network security plan is, at the core, the protective framework behind an entire organization’s IT infrastructure. In today’s modern times, cyberattacks, risks, and threats are continually evolving, as well as our best practices to combat them. A sophisticated network security plan should be carefully researched, tested, and continuously evaluated regarding its ability to cover all assets, stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and attacks, as well as be modified anytime that personnel or assets change. While a network security plan can vary, the general outline should be relatively similar regardless of the size, location, asset type, usage, and sensitivity of the organization’s business practices and information assets.
A default network security plan consists of a wide variety of processes, policies, and procedures that are created and managed to reduce risk to the organization. Furthermore, there may be a need for several separate network security plans for different organization locations or assets, including disaster recovery plans (DRP) and emergency response plans (ERP). A standard section in a network security plan is security risks; in this section, every possible security hazard that the organization can face should be identified, explored, and prioritized based on the probability and potential threat of the incident. Next, utilizing the list of security risks, the security strategy should address each possible threat (Microsoft, 2012).
The public key infrastructure policies will handle internal and external security features regarding the deployment of certification authorities; this will create, manage, use, store, distribute, and revoke access to the organization’s information assets, thus ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all data. As an organization’s personnel can be quite challenging to manage on all fronts, when it comes to separating, classifying, and protecting security groups, a proper network security plan will outline each group, their description and use, as well as how they relate to one another through the use of group policies (Microsoft, 2012). Speaking of group policies, the methods and configuration of Group Policy settings will facilitate and limit what users can and can’t do on a computer system; a vital role in this is network password rules.
Another central section of a network security plan is network login and authentication strategies. Authentication strategies for network login, remote access, smart card login, two-factor authentication (2FA), biometrics, CAPTCHAs, and single sign-on (SSO), all need to have carefully drafted security policies. Next, information security strategies should be covered, consisting of definitions of governance models and inventories of both services, information assets, and software capabilities, as well as addressing the various risks to information assets outlined earlier in the network security plan. Finally, administrative policies should be constructed to ensure continuous monitoring of all aspects of the network security plan. Tasks such as creating and reporting on malware scans, auditing logs, running intrusion detection software, as well as adopting the principle of least-privilege, should hold substantial value (Microsoft, 2012).
As with any proper security plan, constant revisions, testing, and documentation are required through all stages of the plan creation, implementation, and maintenance phase. The last section of a network security plan should detail how the security plan’s many areas will be mandated and managed, as well as who will do it, in what intervals they will do it in, and finally, who is responsible for the plan (project lead, department leads, general security technicians, etc.). While it is not entirely necessary to include it in the plan document itself, metrics and data should be collected before the network security plan is implemented, as well as continuous data collection afterward; this will enable the ability to clearly see how the network security plan is performing at all phases, especially after each revision.
Stallings, W. (2017). Network Security Essentials: Applications and Standards (Sixth). Pearson.
Microsoft. (2012, July 8). Developing a Network Security Plan. Retrieved March 9, 2020, from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/windows/it-pro/windows-2000-server/cc960627(v=technet.10)?redirectedfrom=MSDN.