There is a large volume of personal, commercial, and government information on networking infrastructures worldwide. Network security is becoming of profound importance because of the rapid increase in computer, mobile applications, and wireless networks. Basically, network security refers to the activities that ensure reliability and safety of a network infrastructure and data. Be aware of the main types of network security, and keep your organisation secure.
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What is network security?
The increase in the computer network system has exposed many networks to numerous kinds of internet threats. For that reason, the need for robust network security became necessary. By definition, network security refers to any activity developed to protect the integrity of the network and to ensure that the information is not modified or corrupted.
These activities combine an end-to-end approach along with a solid grasp of vulnerabilities, potential attackers, the necessary level of security, and elements that make a network vulnerable to attack. After all, network security should be designed to satisfy the needs of the organization’s network, that it is not feasible for the organization to protect anything unless it completely understands what it wants to protect.
Why is network security important?
The majority of common cyber attacks against networks are built to obtain access to information, by spying on the communications as well as data of users, rather than to harm the network itself. In the first place, robust network security helps organisation minimise the risk of falling victim to data theft and sabotage.
Also, it helps protect proprietary information from attack, ultimately preventing negative publicity and protecting corporate reputation. Additionally, network security stabilises the network connection. In an unprotected network, network activity can get heavy which may lead to an unstable computer network. Overall, network security is important as it keeps data secure and deters vulnerable systems from external interference, enabling the network’s users to attain the organisation’s objectives.
What are the different types of network security?
Network security starts with targeting a variety of threats, then stopping them from entering your network. There are a number of different types of network security which we discuss below:
Network access control (NAC)
According to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NAC (also known as network admission control) refers to a feature offered by firewalls that allows access based on a user’s credentials. It brings together a range of network security systems such as identity management, anti-virus software, and intrusion detection systems. In the most basic sense, access control is the process of mediating each request to resources and data maintained by a system and determining if the request must be granted or not.
Related article: NIST Cybersecurity Framework Components Explained
A comprehensively developed access control solution not only protects the network environment from viruses but also functions as a gatekeeper function to control how systems can access the network.
Application security refers to the process of developing and testing security components within software and hardware with the aim of preventing data or code within the application from being stolen. In fact, securing applications is a complex activity that requires a solid understanding of the application’s functionalities.
Most of what is important to your business is delivered through applications including the customer experience, operational efficiency and employee satisfaction. Do you want to deliver new applications much faster and differentiate your business? Then, incorporate security in each phase of your application development process to provide protection in its genuine sense.
Data loss prevention (DLP)
Data loss take place in many forms (intentional or unintentional ways), and may compromise various types of personal or organisational information. DLP refers to the set of processes and controls which an organisation puts in place to ensure that data, be it structured (XML files, databases, etc.), or unstructured (emails, audio, video, and images), remains under authorised use.
DLP protects your organisation’s data by scanning data in motion and in use, identifying sensitive data that demands protection, and taking remedial action including alert, quarantine, block, and encrypt.
Important note for our readers
DLP is one of the many layers of an information protection. What could be an effectual control for one organisation might not be strong for another, as every organisation should rate the importance and value of its information.
Email communications are not sufficiently protected. The majority of global email interactions are susceptible to privacy and security risks. In many of the cases, content transmitted by email can be obstructed by third-parties, posing the risk to the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) of the information exchanged.
Related article: Cyber Security Awareness Month: Tips for Email Security
Do you want to enhance email security and therefore, maintain a solid network security? There are several approaches to consider some of which are: organisation-wide information security procedures, risk assessments, and configuration management. Do not forget that email security must be planned from the initial planning stage (even before installation) to maximise security.
Risks are inherent in all wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi network communication and Bluetooth communication. Although these technologies hold distinct communication architectures, they all share the same wireless medium capability. Did you know that the sensitive information that is not encrypted and that is transmitted between two wireless devices may be disclosed?
Mobile device security
Harsh reality: mobile devices are not less susceptible to security problems! The damage to mobile devices is likely to increase because smartphones are always connected, carrying some personal data which gives attackers an opportunity. But there are several measures, as we outline below, you can take today to solidify your security.
4 major takeaways for our readers
1. Always make sure you can trust the external device you are pairing your device with.
2. Do not disable any of the security features that come with your mobile device, e.g. do not “jailbreak” your device simply because it disables security features of your mobile phone.
3. Only download apps from the device’s app store and do not weaken any of the security settings of your device.
4. Make sure you enable automatic updates option on your mobile device which will protect you from the latest threats.
Mitigation techniques in network security
Strong network security does not only entail software packages or technological solutions, rather it requires a thorough approach to establish strategies that are aligned with business operations and risks. Do you want to make your organisation a more difficult target for intruders? Follow the next 2 mitigation techniques in network security:
Network endpoint security
Endpoint devices are on the radar of intruders. For example, a successfully compromised device gives a foothold for a threat to infect other endpoints within the organisation. Given that, security leaders should not overlook endpoint security, instead they must incorporate it into their wider network security architecture.
Endpoint security solutions allow organisations to rapidly deploy protection across all desktops, laptops and servers. Also, these solutions provide topmost protection against malware, worms, spyware, botnet infections, and other threats without harming the endpoint’s resources.
Did you know?
According to “The Cost of Insecure Endpoints” report (2017) by Ponemon Institute, 53% of organisations reported that malware-infected endpoints have increased in the last 12 months.
Criminals are aware that employees can provide easy attack surfaces to make their exploits effective. If employees do not know how to recognise a threat, how can they avoid it? Empowering your employees to discern security cyber threats can be beneficial to your organisation’s network security.
Related article: Why Choose Cyber Security as a Career?
Undoubtedly, majority of businesses today use firewalls or security software, but it is just not enough. Your employees need to have a comprehensive understanding of how to protect systems and data from misuse. Make sure your strongest assets – employees – receive an ongoing training to remain up-to-date on the latest methods of attack. In that way, they stay informed, you stay out of any headlines.
Ready to level up your network security?
Network security is no joke. We at Swiss Cyber Forum are dedicated to improve the digital safety and security of our society. With that in mind, in this article, we shared with you the important points as regards the different components of network security and mitigation techniques.
Are you interested in learning more about network security and our premium premium training experience for your employees? Explore our 2 ongoing training programs: ICT Security Expert with Swiss Federal Diploma and Cyber Security Specialist. Should you want to get more information, please book a free consultation with our Senior Program Manager.