“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only a few minutes of a cyber-incident to ruin it.”
What IS Network Security?
Network security is any activity designed to protect the usability and integrity of your wired and wireless network and data. It includes both hardware and software technologies. Effective network security manages access to the network and gives you visual realtime information of what is connected to you network. It targets a variety of external and internal threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network.
How does network security work?
Network security combines multiple layers of defenses that protects from threats that originate from inside and outside of your network. Each network security layer implements policies and controls. Authorized users gain access to network resources, but malicious actors are blocked from carrying out exploits and threats.
How do I benefit from network security?
Digitization has transformed our world. How we live, work, play, and learn have all changed. Every organization that wants to deliver the services that customers and employees demand must protect its network. Network security also helps you protect proprietary information from attack. Ultimately it protects your reputation.
Types of Network Security
Network Access Control (NAC)
Not every user should have access to your network. To keep out potential attackers, you need to recognize each user and each device. Then you can enforce your security policies. You can block noncompliant endpoint devices or give them only limited access. This process is network access control (NAC). Read more about current issues related to NAC for small to medium sized businesses.
Antivirus and anti-malware software
“Malware,” short for “malicious software,” includes viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware. Sometimes malware will infect a network but lie dormant for days or even weeks. The best anti-malware programs not only scan for malware upon entry, but also continuously track files afterward to find anomalies, remove malware, and fix damage. Read more about current malware concerns anti-malware and solutions.
To detect abnormal network behavior, you must know what normal behavior looks like. Behavioral analytics tools automatically discern activities that deviate from the norm. Your security team can then better identify indicators of compromise that pose a potential problem and quickly remediate threats. Read more about current behavior analytic tools that provide valuable intel on potential internet breaches before they occur.
Data loss prevention
Organizations must make sure that their staff does not send sensitive information outside the network. Data loss prevention, or DLP, technologies can stop people from uploading, forwarding, or even printing critical information in an unsafe manner.
Email gateways are the number one threat vector for a security breach. Attackers use personal information and social engineering tactics to build sophisticated phishing campaigns to deceive recipients and send them to sites serving up malware. An email security application blocks incoming attacks and controls outbound messages to prevent the loss of sensitive data.
Firewalls put up a barrier between your trusted internal network and untrusted outside networks, such as the Internet. They use a set of defined rules to allow or block traffic. A firewall can be hardware, software, or both. Firewall support helps to monitor and collect global threat intelligence to not only block malicious activity but also track the progression of suspect files and malware across the network to prevent the spread of outbreaks and reinfection.
Mobile device security
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting mobile devices and apps. Within the next 3 years, 90 percent of IT organizations may support corporate applications on personal mobile devices. Of course, you need to control which devices can access your network. You will also need to configure their connections to keep network traffic private.
Software-defined segmentation puts network traffic into different classifications and makes enforcing security policies easier. Ideally, the classifications are based on endpoint identity, not mere IP addresses. You can assign access rights based on role, location, device and more so that the right level of access is given to the right people and suspicious devices are contained and remediated.
Network visualization products pull together the information that your security staff needs to visually identify and respond to threats, problems, and anomalies. These products come in various forms, including physical and virtual appliances and server software.
A virtual private network encrypts the connection from an endpoint to a network, often over the Internet. Typically, a remote-access VPN uses IPsec or Secure Sockets Layer to authenticate the communication between device and network.
A web security solution will control your staff’s web use, block web-based threats, and deny access to malicious websites. It will protect your web gateway on site or in the cloud. “Web security” also refers to the steps you take to protect your own website.
Wireless networks are not as secure as wired ones. Without stringent security measures, installing a wireless LAN can be like putting Ethernet ports everywhere, including the parking lot. To prevent an exploit from taking hold, you need products specifically designed to protect a wireless network.
Brian L. Coday is the new Network Management and Security Team Lead at NSG and is quickly becoming one of Houston’s most trusted sources for information and implementation of security solutions for small, medium and enterprise level businesses.
Schedule a free initial phone consultation by using this link.