Network security is a broad term that covers a multitude of technologies, devices and processes. In general terms, it is a set of rules and configurations designed to guard the integrity, confidentiality and accessibility of computer networks and information using both software and hardware technologies. Every organization, regardless of size, industry or infrastructure, needs a degree of network security solutions in place to guard it from the ever-growing landscape of cyber threats in the wild today.
Today’s network architecture is complicated and is faced with a threat environment that’s continually dynamic and attackers that are continually making an attempt to seek out and exploit vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can exist in a broad variety of areas, including devices, data, applications, users and locations. For this reason, there are several network security management tools and applications in use these days that address individual threats and exploits and also regulatory non-compliance. When just a few minutes of downtime will cause widespread disruption and massive damage to an organization’s bottom line and reputation, it’s essential that these protection measures are in place.
TYPES OF NETWORK SECURITY
- Network Access Control – To ensure that potential attackers cannot infiltrate your network, comprehensive access management policies have to be compelled to be in place for each user and devices. Network access control (NAC) can be set at the most granular level. For example, you could grant administrators full access to the network, however deny access to specific confidential folders or prevent their personal devices from joining the network.
- Antivirus and Antimalware Software – Antivirus and antimalware software protect an organization from a range of malicious software, including viruses, ransomware, worms and trojans. The best software not only scans files upon entry to the network but continuously scans and tracks files.
- Firewall Protection – Firewalls, as their name suggests, act as a barrier between the untrusted external networks and your trusted internal network. Administrators typically configure a set of defined rules that blocks or permits traffic onto the network. For example, Forcepoint’s Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) offers seamless and centrally managed control of network traffic, whether it is physical, virtual or in the cloud.
- Virtual Private Networks – Virtual private networks (VPNs) create a connection to the network from another endpoint or site. For example, users working from home would typically connect to the organization’s network over a VPN. Data between the two points is encrypted and the user would need to authenticate to allow communication between their device and the network. Forcepoint’s Secure Enterprise SD-WAN allows organizations to quickly create VPNs using drag-and-drop and to protect all locations with our Next Generation Firewall solution.
How does network security work?
Network security typically consists of three different controls: physical, technical and administrative. Here 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, cabling cupboards and so on. Controlled access, such as locks, biometric authentication and other devices, is essential in any organization.
- Technical Network Security
Technical security controls protect data that is stored on the network or which is in transit across, into or out of the network. Protection is twofold; it needs to protect data and systems from unauthorized personnel, and it also needs to protect against malicious activities from employees.
- Administrative Network Security – Administrative security controls consist of security policies and processes that control user behavior, including how users are authenticated, their level of access and also how IT staff members implement changes to the infrastructure.