Building a Network Infrastructure
Network infrastructure sits at the core of reliable telecommunications and data sharing for government agencies and corporations. Compromise or botch network security, and risk losing clients, sacrificing a hard-won reputation, and even jeopardizing public safety. It all could add up to huge sums of lost money and wasted time.
When IT directors and managers know what’s at stake with network infrastructure, how can they take advantage of the sensitive situation to protect the integrity of corporate and government data and telecommunications? A helpful, but perhaps surprising, answer lies in the basic principle of opting for simplicity over complexity. Before spending gobs of cash and gadgets on a problem, look closely at the existing infrastructure and see where it can be retooled within its existing parameters. This back to basics approach also drives home the point of building a solid foundation, where it can grow costly in the long run to keep adding corrections when the simple fundamentals are not right.
Point one of this nuts-and-bolts approach is to avoid overcomplicating matters when you build a network infrastructure. Think of too many bells as whistles as sailing a flimsy ship that would be destined to sink when it enters rough waters, which is bound to happen in any government agency or corporation. Instead of adding various layers for management, reporting and authentication for access to the LAN, for example, focus on the basic. Think switches, centralized authentication, firewalls and UTM devices and the like, as well as policy management sewn into the directory services. Streamline the network infrastructure and keep it open to additions later, without overloading it from the start. In other words, do keep it simple, and don’t overcomplicate.
The second point about the back to basics approach is to make sure the underlying network infrastructure supports security layers such as firewalls, IDS/IPS, zoning, NAC, 802.1X, application firewalls and wireless. Unless a business or agency plans to redesign the network every few years, which costs significant time and money in terms of work interruptions, it is important to make sure the chosen infrastructure is flexible to grow with new developments. In other words, don’t compromise, but do optimize.
Finally, in the big view of network infrastructure, do take note of all network connections, and be sure to consistently review polices and procedures for potential violations. Companies and organizations must become as dynamic and evolving as the security dangers that threaten their businesses. Engage your team at regular intervals in searches and comprehensive reviews for holes in the security system. Make sure IT managers and directors know every possible exposed entry point that a potential threat could use to enter the system, and insist that they understand what is the organization’s weak. Many threats prey on the easiest point of entry.
While it may be tempting to build the most complex network infrastructure as a way to ensure the safety and integrity of data and communications, the simple truth is that network success begins with some basic dos and don’ts.