Three essential strategies for embedding managed network security services

April 19, 2023
Author: Jon Lloyd
Blog | Security

Ten years ago, implementing a single firewall per business location was considered an adequate security practice. However, a single firewall is not sufficient in this age of remote and hybrid access where criminals and threat actors actively target your company.


Because the points of presence (PoPs) for even simple business models have exploded in recent years. No longer is it enough to simply protect a company’s digital perimeter or edge, but managed network security services must now encompass employees, devices, and applications. An organization’s data must be secured, no matter where it lives or how it flows.

In other words, each device must be secured, every application monitored for vulnerabilities, and every employee must become a firewall. As hackers become increasingly sophisticated at targeting your employees and the potential points of attack continue to multiply, organizations must deploy both proactive and reactive managed network security services. Gone are the days when running an antivirus program occasionally was a satisfactory defense technique. Now, businesses must manage a portfolio of security applications and protocols to address the increased risks to your data.

This post will review the best practices of managed network security services through the lens of three security strategies:

  • Devices
  • Applications
  • People

Securing devices

Brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the remote and hybrid revolution of the world’s workforces mean that it is no longer sufficient for an employee to work from anywhere; they also want to work from any device. While this is incredibly convenient for remote employees, it is a massive potential problem for security teams. Each device represents a potential vulnerability or weakness in the secure perimeter you need to establish to reduce risk.

Fortunately, managed network security services are evolving to secure mobile devices. Effective risk mitigating strategies include:

  • SASE/SSE. Secure access service edge (SASE) and security service edge (SSE) are cloud security solutions that integrate with emerging cloud network tools (Firewall as a Service [FWaaS], SD-WAN, and zero trust networking access [ZTNA] to name a few) to secure access points and PoPs.
  • EDR. Endpoint detection response (EDR) is a next-generation suite of antivirus and anti-malware applications that make your devices unattractive targets for criminals. EDR does not rely on user signatures but instead deploys machine learning to notice aberrations in user behaviors. EDR also utilizes more effective tools to contain and defend against malware.
  • MDM. Mobile device management (MDM) is a way for organizations to control connected mobile devices. First, businesses enroll the device in the MDM tool and set rules and policies for the device. For example, MDM can turn off the camera function of a device during a sensitive meeting. MDM can also send an application to every MDM-enabled device within an organization. MDM is an emerging technology to allow businesses to secure their employees’ devices en masse.
Learn more: 2023 Strategic Roadmap: The Future of SD-WAN

Securing applications

In many ways, modern businesses are the sum of their data and value-add applications. For example, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company may market and sell applications to its end users. The same company also uses applications for business operations: finances, payroll, HR management, communications, security, etc. As each device represents a potential security breach, so does each application. Additionally, with digital and physical supply chains being more interconnected than ever, the potential for catastrophic damage across entire sectors is a genuine danger. Remember the Log4J vulnerability that was revealed in December of 2021 and the impact that had on virtually every organization.

Businesses can take proactive steps to secure their applications enterprise-wide using managed network security services such as:

  • Patch applications. A vital and often overlooked piece of security hygiene is routinely checking for and installing the latest patches for each application. These patches plug security vulnerabilities as they are discovered. An organization should check for new patches at least once a month.
  • Vulnerability scanning. This automated test seeks out potential vulnerabilities and creates an actionable report. As a rule, vulnerability scans should be scheduled to run once a month.
  • Penetration testing. Often confused with vulnerability scans, a penetration test (pen test for short) is an in-depth, cohesive examination run by actual humans. The goal is to simulate a cyberattack. Unlike a vulnerability scan, pen testing is an investment, ranging anywhere from $15,000 to $70,000. Testing length varies from a couple of days to several weeks depending on the size and scope of the test.
  • Security assessments. How do you know what security measures you need to implement to secure your applications? Security assessments advise businesses on what mosquitos to swat (patching and vulnerability scans) versus potentially catastrophic attacks they must prepare for (penetration testing). In addition, security assessments help companies comply with evolving government security and application management regulations. Security consultants like CBTS take a holistic view of the organization, factor in business goals, and deploy solutions with a phased approach.
Learn more: Cloud security controls that help mitigate risk

Securing people

Businesses hoping to attract and retain the best talent know they need to meet the demand for a hybrid workforce. However, it is unfortunate that a vast majority of security breaches come from users falling for a phishing attack rather than a brute-force cyberassault. People are distracted by hectic schedules and responsibilities, and social engineering schemes grow more sophisticated by the day. That’s why it is incredibly vital to generate a culture of security.

Each employee must become a firewall. But what does that actually mean?

Managed network security services principles for employees:

  • Implement security training as a part of employee onboarding, and schedule business-wide security training refreshes to keep all employees updated on emerging threats.
  • Regularly evaluate permissions, rules, and security policies.
  • Deploy ZTNA policies to limit which employees have access to sensitive data and minimize the risk of exposure.
  • Utilize identity access management (IAM). IAM is a better way to securely manage employee permissions in cloud environments such as AWS. This toolset works well with ZTNA protocols and integrates with applications like the Microsoft Office 365 portfolio.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a high-quality additional line of defense for access to cloud networks. However, one drawback of MFA is that it can be time-consuming to set up and can slow down the process of employee log-ins. Another downside is that an application on the corporate level must set it up. However, these disadvantages are slight in comparison to the level of security that MFA provides. In addition, MFA is swiftly becoming a requirement for compliance across sectors and regulatory bodies.

Choosing a trusted partner in managed network security services

Choosing which security tools are appropriate for your company’s unique needs is challenging. How do you select not just adequate tools but the best-in-class anti-malware services? How do you deploy those tools effectively without overburdening your IT department while staying on budget?

CBTS uses a consultative approach to discover your company’s needs and to develop a phased plan for instituting the appropriate solutions. Our profoundly experienced team offers a comprehensive security assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and proactive steps to prevent malware attacks. CBTS managed security services save your IT team time and money by offloading the burden of researching, managing, and updating security tools.

Get in touch with CBTS today to learn how to protect your devices, applications, and people.

Learn more: Watch our Tech Talk replay now

Tech Talk: Build the best team when you secure your cloud network

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