Networks have built quite a track record for being utterly annoying to maintain. The greater their complexity, the more chances there are that something will go wrong. In some ways, a company's downfall can be linked to how closely its internal and external networks resemble Mr. Magoo. A network failure translates indirectly into dollars and cents. Sony, for example, lost $171 million when its PlayStation Network went down in 2011. This doesn't count the money lost from the people who ditched the company for such a failure.
So, what should you do to ensure a minimal chance of embarrassment?
First of all, publish a security policy. If you don't take the necessary steps to ensure that your employees know how to follow a strict security protocol (don't call it a “guideline”), then your company will suffer when an employee does something that compromises network security. Also, don't just publish one policy and leave it there. Update it as soon as something new develops. An outdated security policy is like a 747 with wings held together by duct tape.
When you're done writing a policy and training employees on how to properly follow it, give your IT staff the right tools to make sure that they can manage the network with more ease. There are many technologies out there that can give them more visibility of the network.
Speaking of technologies, don't be a bandwagon-hopper. If a new doohickey comes out, do some research on it first. Ask people you trust from your IT staff if you really need something like this to improve your network, or if the product is loaded with gimmicky literature to make it look more effective than it really is. You'd be surprised how many of them can provide very good input on this subject. They might even propose alternatives that are safer, better, and maybe even more affordable.
Today, check your security policy (if you have one). See if there's something you might have missed. That one little thing that's missing might make your network rot like wood left in the rain.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson