what is network security

The Internet has undoubtedly has become a major part of our lives. Many industries, and companies rely on the Internet for many of their professional activities. And as a result, security threats are also increasing. We can’t afford to take network security lightly. The increasing number of devices in the workplace has also increased security breaches exponentially. So, how can you secure your business network?

As the growth of the internet has increased exponentially, we are constantly being bombarded by multiple types of security threats. All types of security threats apply various forms of malware in which every part of it uses HTTPS protocols, and components, such as links in email or instant messaging, that have access to the Web. Most types of security threats assist cybercriminals by stealing information from infected PCs into botnets. 

These types of internet threats declare an extensive variety of risks like financial damages, personality theft, loss of private information, and using others’ online banking credentials. Cybercriminals put user’s computer systems and professional computers at risk, so these systems must be secure so that attackers cannot penetrate the system and cause harm. By deciding to overlook permanently on cyber-crime, businesses not only put themselves at risk of monetary cost but also reputational damage. With the variety of attacks, network security has become a hot topic in the field of cybersecurity. So, let’s understand what is network security and why is it important!

What is a Network?

A network is connecting two or more devices such as computers, webcams, laptops, printers, etc to share data and files via an Internet connection. The most commonly used connecting device is a router which helps in connecting other devices via cable or wireless connections.

What is Network Security?

  • Network security is the process of taking precautionary measures to protect the devices from unauthorized access, modification, or destruction.

What are the different types of Network Security?

Some of the ways of implementing network security are listed below:

  • Access Control
  • Application Security
  • Firewalls
  • Virtual Private Networks(VPN)
  • Behavioral Analytics
  • Wireless Security
  • Intrusion Prevention System

You’ll also need software/hardware tools to ensure network security, those are:

  • Packet crafters
  • Web scanners
  • Packet sniffers
  • Intrusion detection system 
  • Penetration testing software

How can we ensure network security?

  • Run a network security audit
  • Restrict user access privileges
  • Review your cybersecurity tools
  • Conduct cybersecurity awareness training
  • Patch your software on time

Also Read: How to secure your company website from hackers

Why is security so important?

  • The organization’s ability to function without any interference.
  • Enabling the safe operation on the organization’s IT systems
  • Protecting the data the organization collects and its uses

Common Network Security Vulnerabilities

To secure networks, it’s important to understand the common network vulnerability issues faced by IT professionals today. While some can be fixed easily, others require more detailed solutions.

Common network vulnerabilities are listed below:

  • Improperly installed hardware/software
  • Operating systems that have not been updated
  • Complete lack of physical security
  • Insecure passwords/Weak Passwords
  • Design flaws in a device’s network
  • Outdated or Unpatched Software Applications
  • Check Your Firewall Configuration
  • Mobile Device Vulnerabilities

While a vulnerability does not guarantee that an attacker will target your network, but system or environment makes it easier for them to gain access. 

Types of Network Security Attacks

Over the last several years, cyberattacks have become more frequent. Many cybersecurity experts believe that these attacks will continue to grow more aggressive.

Some of the most common types of network security attacks :

  • Data Theft: Data theft is also called data exfiltration, this occurs when an attacker uses the system without permission to obtain private information from the network. Attackers frequently gain information like login credentials either for stealing data or monetary needs.
  • Insider Threat: As the name itself tells you, insider threats come from employees within an organization who uses their access to penetrate the network and obtain sensitive or private company information.
  • Malware Attacks: A malware attack occurs when a malicious code inserts onto a network device. 
  • Password Attacks: Someone attempting to use a password unethically is considered to be a password attack. The hacker may gain access either by guessing or cracking a password.
  • Social Engineering: These attacks convince others to give up private information, such as an account password, or other security protocols. 

Of course, these are only a few of the many ways to penetrate network systems, hackers will continue to develop creative ways to hack. Always pay attention to any unusual activity and investigate the matter further.

Types of Network Security Solutions

There are many different techniques and strategies to secure your system from network attacks. Some of the common types of network security solutions are:

  • Stateful inspection firewall
  • Network Segmentation
  • Application visibility & control
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Web application firewall
  • VPN
  • Encryption
  • Intrusion prevention system
  • Anti-virus & Anti-spyware
  • Anti-spam: Outbound spam protection
  • Web filtering
  • Bandwidth management
  • Multiple link management
  • On-Appliance reporting

Follow these 10 steps guide, “Network Security Best Practices for Business”.

1. Perform a Network Audit

You can’t improve network security without knowing your weaknesses. Therefore, the first step we recommend is to perform a network audit.

The goal of the audit is to identify and assess:

  • Possible security vulnerabilities
  • Unnecessary applications running in the background
  • Open ports
  • The overall strength of your firewall
  • Anti-virus/anti-malware software
  • The overall health of servers, software, and applications
  • Backups

The output from a network security audit helps your IT administrator to review and make improvements.

2. Disable File Sharing

File sharing might seem like a convenient method, but it is also the most vulnerable point that might put your business’ network security at risk. Therefore, it’s safe to disable file sharing on all employee devices, except on your independent servers.

3. Set Up a Firewall

Install firewalls on your devices and also set up a web application firewall (WAF) as this might be useful if you are an eCommerce business to protect customers’ confidential information. Installing a WAF will help you to secure all your stored data.

4. Invest in a VPN

Pandemic has forced most of the companies to work remotely! Here comes the advantage of using a VPN; for employees who work remotely, VPN is a good investment for your business as it blocks unnecessary activities, data, browsing history, communications, and other personal information from hackers and encrypts your network to ensure online privacy for all your users. 

5. Secure Your Router

Securing your router is essential as a security breach can occur by simply hitting the reset button on your network router. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your router in a more secure place rather than keeping it in an open or common location. 

6. Update the Name of Your Network

Updating your network’s name regularly keeps your router confidential.

7. Use a Private IP Address

To prevent unauthorized users to access your network, assign private IP addresses to specific devices on your network. 

8. Establish a Network Security Maintenance System

Regardless of your company size, on must-have in-house IT team to establish a network security maintenance system that involves processes such as:

  • Performing regular backups
  • Running activity reports
  • Keeping software up to date
  • Setting up a schedule for the network name and password change.

9. Create a Network Security-Centered Culture

Educating and training your staff on the importance of network security is very important as they can understand the implications and risks of lack of network security, and what the team can do to help in protecting the network.

10. Train Employees on Network Security Practices

Even after putting thoughts and time into documenting your network security practices, employees will skim through your documentation. So, it is important to follow up with a network security training session for your employees.

Keep Your Business Safe with Quality Network Security

  • The truth is that the majority of network security breach occurs because many businesses don’t even use the fundamental security, which leaves them susceptible to network attacks. So, business’ network security is more important than ever. Therefore, it is always worth the investment to implement security practices in your business.

Also Read: Biggest Cybersecurity Threats

Network Security Jobs

Cyberattacks are increasing exponentially, companies are paying more attention to implementing security practices with the help of highly qualified cybersecurity professionals to secure their most vulnerable assets. Cybersecurity has different job profiles but, network security analysts and network security engineers are listed as two of the highest-paid cybersecurity jobs. Both positions earn an average between $90,000 and $150,000. 

So, want to learn cybersecurity? Check out the Sandford Advanced Cyber Security Program and upskill today!

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