What is Network Security? Defined, Explained, and Explored

What is Network Security?

Network security includes all steps taken to protect the integrity of a computer network and the data it contains. It is important because it keeps sensitive data safe from cyber attacks and ensures network usability and reliability. Successful network security strategies use multiple security solutions to protect users and organizations from malware and cyberattacks, such as distributed denial of service.

A network consists of interconnected devices, such as computers, servers, and wireless networks. Many of these devices are vulnerable to potential attackers. It involves using a variety of hardware and software tools on a network or as Software as a Service. Security becomes more important as networks become more complex and companies rely more on their networks and data to conduct business. Security methods must evolve as threat actors create new attack methods on these increasingly complex networks.

Regardless of the specific approach or corporate security strategy, security is generally identified as everyone’s responsibility because every user on a network is a potential security vulnerability on that network.

How does Network Security Work?

There are many levels to consider when addressing network security in an organization. Attacks can occur at any layer of the network security layering model, so network security hardware, software, and policies must be designed to address each area.

It is generally consists of three different controls: physical, technical, and administrative. Below is a brief description of the different types of network security and how each control works.

Physical Network Security

  • Physical security controls are designed to prevent unauthorized personnel from gaining physical access to network components such as routers, wiring closets, etc. Controlled access, such as locks, biometric authentication, and other devices, is a must in any organization.

Technical Network Security

  • Technical security controls protect data stored on the network or transmitted over, to, or from the network. Double protection. You need to protect data and systems from unauthorized personnel, and you also need to protect against malicious employee activities.

Administrative Network Security

  • Administrative security controls consist of security policies and processes that control user behavior, including how users are authenticated, what level of access they have, and how IT personnel implement changes to the infrastructure.

Types of Network Security

We have talked about the different types of its controls. Now let’s take a look at some of the different ways you can protect your network.

Network Access Control

To ensure that potential attackers cannot infiltrate your network, you need to implement comprehensive access control policies for both users and devices. Network Access Control (NAC) can be configured at the most granular level. For example, you can give administrators full network access, but deny access to certain sensitive folders or prevent your personal devices from joining the network.

Antivirus and Malware Software

Antivirus and antimalware software protects the organization from a variety of malware, including viruses, ransomware, worms, and Trojan horses. The best software not only scans files as they enter the network, but also constantly scans and tracks files.

Firewall Protection

Firewalls, as the name suggests, act as a barrier between untrusted external networks and your trusted internal network. Administrators usually set up a set of specific rules that block or allow network traffic. For example, Forcepoint’s Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) provides continuous, centralized control of network traffic, whether it’s physical, virtual, or in the cloud.

Also Read, Internet Protocol

Virtual Private Networks

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) establish a network connection from an endpoint or other location. For example, users who work from home usually connect to the enterprise network through a VPN. The data between the two points is encrypted and the user will need to authenticate themselves to allow communication between their device and the network. Forcepoint Secure Enterprise SD-WAN enables organizations to quickly create VPNs using drag-and-drop and protect all sites with a next-generation firewall solution.

Network Security for Businesses and Consumers

It should be a high priority for any organization that works with networked data and systems. In addition to protecting assets and data integrity from external vulnerabilities, network security can also manage network traffic more efficiently, improve network performance, and ensure secure data exchange between employees and data sources.

There are many tools, applications, and utilities available that can help you protect your networks from attacks and unnecessary downtime. Forcepoint offers a range of network security solutions that centralize and simplify often complex operations and ensure robust network security throughout your business.

Why is Network Security Important?

It is crucial as it prevents cyber criminals from gaining access to valuable data and sensitive information. When hackers get hold of such data, they can cause a variety of problems, including identity theft, asset theft, and reputational damage. Here are four of the top reasons why it’s important to protect networks and the data on them:

Operational risk

Any organization without proper network security risks disruption to its operations. Businesses and personal networks rely on hardware and software that cannot function effectively when compromised by viruses, malware, and cyberattacks. Businesses also rely on networks for most internal and external communications.

Financial risk from compromised personal information (PII)

Data breaches can be costly for both individuals and businesses. Organizations that handle personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers and passwords, must keep it secure. Exposure can cost victims money in fines, restitution, and repair of compromised devices. Data breaches and disclosures can also damage a company’s reputation and expose it to lawsuits. IBM’s report on the cost of a data breach in 2022, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, reported that the average cost of a data breach rose to $4.35 million in 2022 from $4.24 million in 2021.

Financial risks of intellectual property at risk

Organizations’ intellectual property rights can also be stolen, which is costly. Loss of company ideas, inventions and products can result in loss of business and competitive advantages. Organizational affairs. Many governments require companies to comply with data security regulations that cover aspects of network security. For example, medical organizations in the United States must comply with HIPAA regulations, and organizations in the European Union that handle citizens’ data must follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Violations of these rules can result in fines, bans, and possible jail time.

It is so important that many organizations are focusing on establishing and sharing strategies on how to adapt to modern threats. Miter ATT&CK, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Center for Internet Security provide free, non-proprietary security frameworks and knowledge bases for sharing information about cyber threats and helping companies and other organizations evaluate their security approaches to their network.

How does network security work?

Network security is enforced using a combination of hardware and software tools. The primary goal of network security is to prevent unauthorized access to or between parts of a network.

A security administrator or team defines strategies and policies that keep an organization’s network secure and help it comply with security standards and regulations. Everyone on the network must comply with these security policies. Every point on the network where an authorized user can access data is also a point where data can be compromised, either by a malicious actor or through negligence or user error.

What are the Main Tools for Network Security?

The layered approach to network security applies controls at many points within the network to provide comprehensive access control and threat control.

Firewall: A firewall creates a barrier between trusted and untrusted areas of the network. Therefore, a firewall performs access control and aggregate fragmentation based on IP subnets. The same firewall can also perform more granular fragmentation, known as micro-fragmentation.

Load balancer: A load balancer distributes the load based on metrics. By implementing specific mitigation techniques, load balancing can bypass traditional load balancing to provide the ability to absorb specific attacks, such as a volumetric DDoS attack.

IDS/IPS: Classic IDS/IPS is implemented behind a firewall and provides protocol analysis and signature matching on different parts of the data packet. Protocol analysis is the examination of compliance with the established specifications of a protocol. Signature matching prevents attacks known as SQL injection.

Sandbox: Sandbox is similar to IDS/IPS, except that it is not based on signatures. Sandbox can simulate the end system environment and determine if a malware object is attempting, for example, to perform port checks.

NTA/NDR: NTA/NDR directly observes traffic (or traffic logs such as NetFlow) and uses machine learning algorithms and statistical techniques to assess anomalies and determine if a threat exists. First, the NTA/NDR attempts to establish a baseline. With a baseline established, identify anomalies such as traffic spikes or patchy connectivity.

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