I'm attempting to proactively thwart zero-day attacks on my network. Can I prevent zero-day attacks with a combination of good security practices, VLAN network segmentation and an NAC system?
As you probably know, it's never possible to completely prevent zero-day attacks. However, the controls you mention are a good start toward dramatically reducing the risks. Let's expand a bit on "good security practices" and look at some of the particular management practices that can lower your exposure to
Firewalls play a vital role in preventing zero-day attacks. Use them to protect the perimeter of your network from unsolicited traffic. You should also use host-based firewalls (such as Windows Firewall) to limit the inbound connections allowed to each system on your network. Ideally, most systems (e.g. workstations) will not allow any inbound connections.
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Patch management is also critical. Many zero-day attacks are simply novel exploits of a previously known vulnerability. If you keep your operating systems and applications patched, you'll be immune from the vast majority of zero-day exploits.
Antivirus software and intrusion detection systems may not help with true zero-day attacks, but they play a valuable role in protecting your network from known issues. Don't neglect them when planning your security infrastructure.
I hope this helps you plan and implement your network security controls. Good luck in your battle to secure your enterprise information assets!
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