What is Network Security?

What is Network Security

Network security refers to strategies and policies designed to safeguard a company’s data from attacks. Additionally, network security involves making sure all employees abide by these security protocols.

Examples of tools utilized for network security include firewalls, which regulate incoming and outgoing data according to set protocols, as well as tools like UEBA that use machine learning technology to identify abnormal user or device behavior.

Security Definition

Network security refers to a set of processes and tools designed to safeguard data stored on computer networks as well as devices connected to them. It has become ever more crucial as more sensitive information is stored digitally – while sophisticated cyberattacks become ever more likely.

Network security involves safeguarding the identities of those accessing company systems through authentication – typically consisting of something the user ‘has’ (e.g. a username and password) combined with something they ‘are’ (such as fingerprint or retinal scan). Communication among hosts on a network often uses encrypted communications channels in order to prevent unauthorized parties from intercepting the information passing between hosts on it.

Another key component of network security is preventing data breaches, which can expose personal information and cause financial losses. Regulatory standards increasingly mandate organizations protect personal identifiable information (PII). If organizations fail to abide by such requirements, failure may result in fines and the damage of reputation.

Integrity of company data is of utmost importance in network security, as is ensuring employees can continue working productively when systems become disabled due to malware attacks or other issues. To accomplish this goal, network security solutions with fast recovery times must be deployed.

Network security measures help businesses meet regulatory compliance requirements such as those laid out by HIPAA for healthcare companies or PCI DSS for merchants accepting credit cards. In addition, network security measures help build customer trust; customers are less likely to choose brands known for data breaches or poor services.

Network security measures can also help businesses prevent intellectual property theft, which poses a substantial threat to competitiveness. This is done using firewalls which restrict unauthorized access from external systems by blocking data traffic between internal and external systems.

Security Threats

Today’s business networks contain vast amounts of private information, which is vulnerable to cyberattackers looking for ways to break in, steal data or cause outages. Network security professionals must recognize these cyberattacks early and prevent their occurrence.

Security for networks typically relies on physical devices that monitor and restrict unauthorized access to information and services – known as network access control – using password-based or two-factor authentication (2FA). Any device or user seeking entry must present proof of identity such as username/password combination or two-factor authentication (2FA) before being permitted access. This helps protect networks against attacks such as malware, phishing scams or any other means used by attackers to gain entry.

Another form of network security is encryption, which scrambles data until unintelligible without accessing a key that opens it up again. This protects information even if intercepted while traveling or stored on compromised devices.

Antivirus and antimalware software form an integral component of network security. These programs detect and eliminate any malicious software (malware) that has infiltrated either a device or network, such as viruses, ransomware, trojans and worms. Furthermore, such software can detect unusual network activity that could signal the presence of new threats like ransomware.

Other methods for network security can include installing firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) as well as using encryption technologies like SSL/TLS for communications encryption and secure protocols like these. Physical network measures like door locks or ID passes may also be employed to prevent physical accessing to network connections or components.

Companies handling large volumes of private data should implement a multi-layered network security architecture. This approach seeks to prevent any one type of attack by employing security controls in multiple layers; for example, firewalls act as the initial line of defense by blocking unauthoritied network access by blocking unrecognized connections that don’t belong in their network; IDS/IPS then take over to combat any known threats which have already made their way in through various sources.

Security Measures

Network security can be improved through several security measures that can be put in place. These measures include firewalls, IPSs, IDSs, VPNs and antivirus software as tools to prevent unauthorized access, detect attacks in progress and stop cyber breaches before they happen, monitor activity on networks to detect potential threats such as unusual data movements that indicate breach attempts or provide potential indicators of breached accounts, as well as monitor activities on networks to identify any unusual data patterns that could indicate breaches or attempts at gaining unauthorized entry.

Firewalls serve as the cornerstone of defense against external threats, providing an outer wall for trusted networks while screening out suspicious incoming connections from untrustworthy external ones. Firewalls can also be configured to filter specific types of traffic and apply rules that reduce the impact of a successful attack, for instance by disallowing certain IP addresses or only permitting traffic on specific types of connections. Firewalls can be combined with intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) for even greater effectiveness.

IPS and IDS technologies provide another layer of network protection by detecting and stopping attacks once they begin. These technologies monitor both inbound and outbound traffic for signs of intrusion such as malware infections or attempted breaches; once identified they can either notify an administrator for review, or take automated action against it before it spreads further.

Sandboxing and similar techniques are an integral component of network security, used to detect and assess unknown malware objects that have infiltrated a network. These objects can either be forwarded for analysis by an IDS/IPS system, or they may be assessed directly by security teams using inbuilt sandboxing tools for their network management platform.

Network security requires the implementation of antivirus and antimalware software to counteract malicious programs like viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms and trojans which can wreak havoc by attacking devices and software, blocking data transmission or corrupting it, leading to downtime for businesses that must adhere to compliance standards such as HIPAA or PCI DSS that mandate stringent protection of personal information.

Security Solutions

Network security solutions are systems of devices and practices designed to safeguard computer networks against threats. Common examples include firewalls, antivirus software and intrusion detection systems; more advanced solutions include user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) using machine learning to detect anomalous activity; for maximum protection layered approach is recommended with security controls applied at every layer of security for optimal results in spotting and stopping potential threats.

Network security aims to keep out threats, protect data integrity and ensure applications and services remain available – with any breach compromising one or more of these elements having potentially devastating repercussions for businesses of any kind – such as WannaCry’s massive disruption in 2017 which cost billions in downtime costs for many organizations around the globe.

Network security measures can protect against such attacks by recognizing and blocking potential threats before they cause any damage or disruption of data flow. A good way to understand network security is as a set of interlocking layers working together to protect an information ecosystem.

These measures range from access control, endpoint/mobile device management, cloud data protection and cloud backup services – each contributing towards network security’s three main focuses of protection, detection and response.

Traditional company networks were traditionally centralized, with applications and data stored on premises. But as businesses have adopted digital transformation, their infrastructures have become more decentralized – with apps and data stored both remotely and at cloud data centers. This change makes network security management even more complicated as now it must encompass these diverse environments.

Effective security measures involve creating an architecture that can manage, monitor and secure data no matter its storage location or user location. This forms the cornerstone of next-generation network security solutions which offer visibility and protection across the enterprise architecture – physical firewalls provide consistent protection to devices regardless of their position within it while simultaneously enabling them to operate smoothly and seamlessly.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.