What is Network Security and How it Protects Small Business and Organizations
Network security is the practice of using computer software and hardware technologies. The purpose is to protect and monitor the data of a computer network.
It combines all types of security applications to create a multi-layered defense against all forms of cyber attacks. Likewise, it prevents unauthorized access to network resources from unauthorized employees and intruders.
This blog post will explain how network security works for businesses and organizations. It will also address the various types of security applications. And the importance of using a multi-layered approach to protecting network data.
How does network security work?
Network Security Concepts
The most basic way to protect network data is through the authentication method. This method is done by assigning the employees of the network with IDs and passwords.
Hence, authentication is a requirement for any employee who wants to access network information within his or her authority.
In general, it is the network administrator who controls the access of network data using the authentication method. Either the network employees are assigned with a unique ID and password. Or they are allowed to create their IDs and passwords.
This type of authentication is one-factor authentication. It only requires a single detail or information to authenticate an ID.
When a user logs into the system, the network security firewall then imposes access guidelines. An example guideline is assigning the types of services that are allowed for that user.
Multi-factor authentication provides a multi-layered approach to accessing data from network computers and a database. A user can only access the system if he presents two or more pieces of details or information.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires two pieces of details or information to validate an ID. One good example is the use of an ATM card and PIN to withdraw cash from an Automated Teller Machine.
Network Security Basics
Stephen Northcutt, a cyber security instructor at SANS, wrote a primer on network security basics for CSOonline. According to him, a security strategy should have a structure consisting of the three phases of network security.
You have to set up your systems correctly to ensure your network has enough protection.
You should identify if there’s a problem with your network traffic or a sudden change in your setup.
You should respond to an issue immediately. Make sure to bring your system back to its safe and normal state as soon as possible.
The best way to protect a computer network is using a multi-layered line of defense against cyber attacks.
A determined attacker can easily defeat a single-layered defense such as a one-factor authentication or a firewall without antivirus protection.
The 3 Layers of Security Controls
An organization needs to consider multiple layers of control in terms of network security.
- Physical Control. Controlled access such as locks and other security systems is crucial in any organization. Physical security controls prevent unauthorized personnel from gaining access to routers, switches, cabling cupboards, etc.
2. Technical Control. Technical security controls protect stored network data and data that is in transit into and out of the network. The type of protection here is two-fold. Data and network systems are protected from unauthorized personnel and malicious activities from employees.
3.Administrative Control. This level of access control includes security policies and processes, which control user behavior and the way users are authenticated. Moreover, it has control over how an organization’s team of IT professionals apply changes to the infrastructure.
What are the types of network security applications?
A firewall can be software, hardware, or both. It uses a set of defined rules to block or allow traffic into a computer system.
An email security software blocks incoming phishing emails that trick victims and redirect them to malicious or fake websites.
3.Antivirus and anti-malware applications
Anti-malware and antivirus applications should not only detect the entry of malware.
They should also:
- track infected files
- remove malware and
- troubleshoot problems to restore the system to its normal state
Network segmentation works by classifying network traffic not by their IP address but based on endpoint identity. Thus, implementing network security policies is almost effortless.
Also, this allows you to give people the level of access that’s right for them. And on the other hand, suspicious devices are restrained and fixed.
5.Network Access Control (NAC)
Since not everyone should have access to your network, you need to know each device and each user. And then impose your security policies.
With NAC, you can block non-compliant endpoint devices. Or you can give them limited access.
6.Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
DLP technologies stop people from unsafe forwarding, uploading, and printing of critical company information.
7.Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
With an IPS, network traffic is monitored for real-time blocking of attacks.
8.Mobile Device Security
More and more mobile devices and apps are being targeted by cyber-criminals every day. Therefore, you need to monitor mobile devices that can access your network.
9.Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN sees the connection between a network and an endpoint through the internet as information or data. VPNs encrypt or scramble that data so that attackers won’t be able to figure what it’s all about.
Network Security for Small Businesses and Large Organizations
Whether you own a small business or a large organization, protection of your network data should be a high priority.
Likewise, you need to manage your network’s traffic, improve your network’s performance, and ensure data sharing between your people is secure.
Contact STG Ohio today for your Managed Network Security needs.