Table of Content:

It is essential to design a secure office network for office maintaining sufficient security to prevent any loss or leakage of data and/or any third-party intrusion.  

Network security comprises protecting information and knowledge systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. 

Most organizations follow the CIA information security triad: 

  • Confidentiality - Only designated persons, organizations, or processes may access confidential information. 
  • Integrity–Refers to protecting data from unauthorized alteration. It requires the use of cryptographic hashing algorithms such as SHA. 
  • Availability-Approved users must have access to essential services and data without interruption. 

To ensure safe communications in both public and private networks, you must protect devices, including routers, switches, servers, and hosts. A defense-in-depth approach to security is ed by most organizations. A combination of networking devices and facilities that work together is required. 

The Basic Requirements for Designing a Secure Office Network: 

  • Modem 
  • Router 
  • Firewall 
  • Switch 
  • Cable 
  • Access Point
  • Ethernet Hub 
  • Network Security and Management  

 


Basic Requirements for Designing a Secure Office Network

A Secure Office Network Setup

The internet connection, which comes from the local ISP (internet service provider) through a cable, is connected to a router. And the firewall filters the network traffic channeled through the cable. The cable is then connected to a switch which enables all the devices to connect to the internet. 

There is no single security system or piece of technology today that can satisfy all network security requirements. Since there is a range of security systems and tools that need to be incorporated, they all must work together. When they are part of a system, security appliances are the most effective. 

Security appliances are often stand-alone devices, a sort of router or firewall, a card that will be installed into a network device, or a module with its processor and cached memory. Security appliances also can be software tools that are run on a network device. 

 

Several security devices and services are implemented

  • VPN 
  • Firewall 
  • IDS and IPS technologies 
  • Security Patches 
  • Protection against malware 
  • Data encryption 
  • Add port-security

VPN

VPN or Virtual Private network can improve your security level. Once you are employing a VPN network, all of your network traffic is tunneled through the VPN server. This VPN server is found elsewhere within the world. Hence, you’ll hide your identity by using VPN software. If you’re employing a VPN, then nobody can track your browsing activity. 

There are two ways in which VPN acts as network security: 

  1. Encryption
  2. IP masking 

Encryption–a VPN is formed to enable secure connections between two devices over the web. A part of this is often encrypting your information. It happens on your device before sending it to the VPN server, decrypting it there and forwarding it to its online destination. 

IP-masking-IP address is the online home address. When VPN is used, it uses the server’s IP address and hides the home IP address, preventing any intruder from monitoring or gaining access to the user’s network.

Firewall

A firewall is a system that imposes control on the access policy between networks. Firewalls track and manage the data traffic, depending on the security options that are set. 

The firewall allows traffic from: 

  1. Any external address to the web server 
  2. FTP 
  3. SMTP 
  4. Internal IMAP server
  5. It denies all the incoming
  6. Traffic with network addresses matching internal registered IP addresses
  7. ICMP echo-request traffic 
  8. MS active directory queries 
  9. MS domain local broadcasts 
  10. Traffic to the server from external addresses 
  11. Traffic to MS SQL server queries

 

Some common firewalls that are implemented are listed below: 

  1. Network Layer Firewall 
  2. Transport Layer Firewall  
  3. Application Layer Firewall  
  4. Context-Aware Application Firewall  
  5. Proxy Server  
  6. Reverse Proxy Server 
  7. Network Address Translation (NAT) Firewall  
  8. Host-based Firewall

IDS and IPS Technologies

Intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems are cost-effective technologies for tracking and preventing fast-paced, strengthening attacks. These are sensors that are manufactured as various devices. It can detect single or multi-packets. 

The steps followed by IPS for handling traffic: 

  1. Packet sent by a hacker to the targeted device. 
  2. Packet received and evaluated by the IPS against the threats, and policies set by the office.
  3. Information sent to the management console by IPS in the form of a log message.
  4. Finally, the packet is dropped by the IPS.

Protection Against Malware 

We know the most common malware as a virus. Other malware includes Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and adware. The malware protection can be installed in devices such as routers, IPS devices, etc as well as installed in computers and mobile phones as software that must be updated regularly. The anti-malware software needs to be configured to scan files and web pages automatically and block malicious content. Ensure regular scanning of devices.  

Security Patches 

A software patch is a series of modifications that are used to upgrade, address security vulnerabilities, or enhance functionality, usability, or performance in a computer program. We also used it as a synonym for fixing bugs.  

The common implementations are: 

1. Using only licensed tools to prevent third-party access. 

2. Install the updates for all software whenever they are available. 

3. Remove unsupported files from the device. 

Data Encryption 

Encryption is converting the data into a form where an unauthorized party cannot read it. Only a trusted, authorized person with a secret key or password can decrypt the information and access it in its original form. The encryption itself doesn’t prevent someone from intercepting the data. Encryption will only prevent the content from being displayed or accessed by an unauthorized user.

Software programs are used to encrypt files, folders, and even entire drives. Encrypting filing system (EFS) is a Windows feature that will encrypt data. We directly linked EFS to a selected user account. Only the user that encrypted the information is going to access it after it has been encrypted using EFS. 

There are two types of encryption: 

  1. Symmetric 
  2. Asymmetric 

Symmetric Encryption 

Symmetric algorithms use an equivalent pre-shared key, also called a secret key, to encrypt and decrypt data. A pre-shared key is known by the sender and receiver before any encrypted communications can happen.

 

We commonly used symmetric encryption algorithms with VPN traffic because they use fewer CPU resources than asymmetric encryption algorithms.  

When using symmetric encryption algorithms, the longer the key, the longer it’ll seem for someone to get the key. To make sure that the encryption is safe, use a minimum key length of 128 bits.

Asymmetric Encryption 

Asymmetric algorithms, also called public-key algorithms, are designed so that the key that’s used for encryption differs from the key that’s used for decryption.

 

 

Asymmetric algorithms use a public key and a personal key. The complementary paired key’s required for decryption. Data encrypted with the public key requires the private key to decrypt. Asymmetric algorithms achieve confidentiality, authentication, and integrity by using this process.

Because neither party features a shared secret, very long key lengths must be used. Asymmetric encryption can use key lengths between 512 to 4,096 bits. Key lengths greater than or adequate to 1,024 bits are often trusted, while shorter key lengths are unreliable.

Add Port-Security

Port Security is a capability in most switches that provide tool permission to use that switch. It helps to control the number of MAC addresses and forward only the packets from the MAC address that matches. Rests are restricted. When the switch flags a violation, it can automatically stop working by disabling that port to further network access. Port Security allows for the limiting of both the quantity and devices that are allowed on the individual switch ports.

There are two ways to implement port security: 

Dynamic locking–This process includes specifying the maximum number of MAC addresses in a port. This process enables the MAC addresses to be learned by another port.  

Static locking–The MAC addresses can be specified manually. It can convert dynamically locked addresses to statically locked addresses. 

Last, although it does not fall under any technical requirement, to design a secure network, physical security should also be considered. It should provide the employees with enough knowledge to differentiate between a malicious file and a non-malicious file. It should appoint strong security management to maintain the organization’s network security and ensure all the technical requirements are being fulfilled regularly.

 


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