How Do I Deploy a Data Center Best Practice Security Policy?

Learn how to create and implement a best practice data center security policy that protects your most valuable assets.
The workflow for implementing a data center best practice security policy is to learn about your data center network, its assets, and the firewall’s threat prevention capabilities, and then create initial security policy rules based on that information, protecting your most valuable assets first.
  • How to Assess Your Data Center—Identify and prioritize the assets to protect, the biggest threats to those assets, and the applications and users sanctioned for access.
  • How to Decrypt Data Center Traffic—You can’t protect your network against threats you can’t see. Encrypted traffic is a common method for attackers to deliver threats.
  • Create a Data Center Segmentation Strategy—Segmenting your data center prevents an adversary who gains a foothold in the data center from moving laterally to other areas.
  • How to Create Data Center Best Practice Security Profiles—Legitimate applications can deliver command and control malware, common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs), drive-by downloads of malicious content, phishing attacks, and APTs. Best practice Security Profiles protect allowed traffic from known and unknown threats for all four data center traffic flows.
  • Use Cortex XDR Agent to Protect Data Center Endpoints—Firewalls protect against threats that traverse the network. But threats that execute on an endpoint don’t cross the network, so they don’t traverse a firewall. Install Cortex XDR Agent on every endpoint to protect against threats on the endpoints themselves.
  • Create Data Center Traffic Block Rules—Block known malicious IP addresses, applications that attackers commonly exploit, applications designed to evade or bypass security, and applications that you don’t need for business purposes in the data center.
  • Define the Initial User-to-Data-Center Traffic Security Policy—Unauthorized access poses a huge risk to the valuable information inside the data center. Because employees and other users on the internal corporate network are often trusted, security precautions may be lax. The user population and the data center may even be on one flat network. Tightly control who can access the data center, the assets different user groups can access, and the level of access different user groups have to applications.
  • Define the Initial Internet-to-Data-Center Traffic Security Policy—Protect data center servers from malicious internet traffic. Exploiting server-side vulnerabilities opens the data center to attack and puts partners at risk because a compromised data center server could serve exploits to third-party clients.
  • Define the Initial Data-Center-to-Internet Traffic Security Policy—Command-and-control malware hiding on an infected internet-connected server can use legitimate applications to download more malware. Prevent applications from using non-standard ports, permit transfers of only the file types that each application should legitimately use, and block URL categories for malware, phishing, proxy anonymizer, peer-to-peer, and other potentially malicious URL categories.
  • Define the Initial Intra-Data-Center Traffic Security Policy (East-West Traffic)—Threats from within the data center are often overlooked because no user traffic originates there and within the data center is considered as trusted. However, if an attacker compromises a data center server, communication between servers and VMs can spread malware. The best practice Security policy prevents attackers from moving laterally through the data center and compromising more systems or exfiltrating data.
  • Log and Monitor Data Center Traffic— Logging and monitoring allowed and blocked traffic provides information at all stages of the transition to and maintenance of your data center best practice security policy. It reveals the applications, users, and traffic patterns on your network, including those you may not have known were there. This information helps you investigate potential security issues.
  • Maintain the Data Center Best Practice Rulebase—Continually monitor your application allow list so that you can adapt your rules to accommodate new sanctioned applications and determine how new or modified App-IDs impact your policy.
Order the Data Center Security Policy Rulebase summarizes the Security policy rulebase.

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