Computer network security involves strategies and policies designed to protect data stored or traveling through networks – be it personal or professional information.
Goal of network security measures is to prevent hackers from breaking in and accessing sensitive data. This can be accomplished in various ways such as: sandboxing, encryption and firewalls among others.
What is Network Security?
Network security refers to a collection of technologies, processes and hardware designed to safeguard data and systems against cyber threats. It ensures confidentiality, availability and integrity for data stored. Having this triad in place is crucial in work environments dealing with large volumes of information as it builds client trust, lowers overhead expenses, increases productivity and allows people to operate from anywhere around the globe.
Technical network protection entails safeguarding data that resides on or passes between networks, with firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems and antivirus software used for this purpose. Administrative security protection refers to processes and policies which govern how individuals access networks; for instance how authentication takes place, access levels for specific data sets or even changes made by IT staff are managed within such policies.
Malware comes in many forms, from viruses and worms to Trojans that infiltrate networks to steal data or hold information hostage. For maximum protection, antivirus and antimalware programs should not only scan files upon their entry but also monitor them continuously for abnormalities in order to spot infections as soon as they arise.
How does network security work?
Computer network security aims to safeguard an organization’s hardware, software, data and services against breach, damage, theft and disruption by employing various technologies such as firewalls, antivirus protection software, SIEM and encryption in order to keep out untrusted threats while permitting legitimate traffic through.
Access control is a cornerstone of network security, restricting user and device access to the most sensitive or valuable data within an organization. This prevents data breaches which compromise PII, disrupt business operations and cause financial loss; as well as safeguarding intellectual property such as product ideas, inventions or designs from being stolen by cybercriminals for their own gain or used against a business later on.
Network security requires companies to implement policies that regulate how personnel must handle data when transmitting it externally, especially when transferring to external parties. Doing this helps ensure compliance with industry regulations while decreasing malicious activity or internal tampering risks; in addition, responding quickly to data breaches helps reduce their impacts and penalties significantly.
10 Types of Network Security Protections
There are various strategies available to your business for protecting its network. Some tools, such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), may be hardware while others could be software based. Popular examples of hardware security measures are firewalls, IDS/IPS devices and network segmentation technology – with smaller network sections for easier management – or security information event management systems, commonly referred to as SIEMs.
Multifactor authentication, or MFA, is another popular network security measure. MFA requires users to provide two pieces of evidence verifying their identities before accessing sensitive information or critical networks. In addition, mobile device security tracks and controls how employees use personal devices on your company network.
Network security helps businesses protect themselves against hackers by keeping valuable data or information out of the hands of thieves, helping maintain positive consumer perception and protecting from legal fallout should a breach take place. A robust system also enables compliance with industry or government regulations.
Firewalls are essential cybersecurity tools used by both businesses and home users alike. Acting as a physical barrier between networks and external connections, firewalls monitor incoming data packets to make sure that they’re safe before entering or leaving your system.
Inspection systems also verify outgoing data packets to ensure they haven’t been altered before leaving your network, making them an integral component of protecting against cyberattacks.
Since their invention in the 1980s, firewalls have evolved immensely. From packet-filtering technology to stateful inspection firewalls – which monitor external connections continuously – these tools have advanced significantly, with stateful inspection firewalls now able to distinguish between benign and malicious data packets by using predefined rules that determine if they pose a threat.
Some hardware firewalls can be standalone devices while others can be integrated into your router or provided as part of an MSP service. The latter are often referred to as cloud firewalls because they’re hosted and managed remotely by their provider.
2. Network Segmentation
Network segmentation allows a corporation to reduce its cybersecurity risks by creating zero-trust network barriers, increase performance by segregating traffic flows between systems, and restrict access to critical systems if an attacker gains entry – this practice is known as Policy of Least Privilege, and it forms the backbone of security.
Implementing network segmentation requires careful planning, including an inventory of system components and their sensitivity levels. Logical segmentation utilizes existing network infrastructure concepts such as VLANs or network addressing schemes to divide assets into separate subnets; physical separation involves physically physically segregating certain assets within an address space.
Logically segregating networks allows administrators to effectively monitor each subnet and detect threats more rapidly than if all networks were monitored at once. Furthermore, smaller scope segments make balancing workloads without negatively affecting network performance easier. Segmentation practices must also be implemented to comply with many regulatory frameworks like Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
3. Remote Access VPN
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many organizations considered remote work either inefficient or impossible; after it became necessary for companies’ productivity and safeguarding of data.
With such an overwhelming shift toward remote work, traditional network security appliances that focus solely on protecting physical locations must evolve accordingly. VPN solutions have become indispensable for protecting the network perimeter for remote users.
Remote Access VPNs create an encrypted tunnel between an employee device and company network, shielding data from being intercepted while traveling over the public internet and enabling employees to work securely from home or while traveling for business purposes. This enables employees to securely work from anywhere at any time – be it home, in a hotel room, or when travelling abroad for work purposes.
Remote access VPNs can also help address performance issues associated with working over the public Internet, including issues like jitter, packet loss and latency that impede remote workers’ productivity. NordLayer’s remote access VPN uses a private backbone for optimal availability, resilience and performance – with multi-factor authentication, Zero Trust security features and endpoint compliance scanning completing its offering of network security for remote users.
4. Zero Trust Network Access ZTNA
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) provides secure remote and mobile connectivity to private applications. Using an encrypted tunnel from a user’s device directly to an application, ZTNA authenticates users in various ways such as running software (agent-based authentication) on devices to identity providers; then validates user context and security posture before providing access.
By hiding infrastructure from the internet and applications from DDoS or malware attacks, this method reduces costs while simplifying operations. Additionally, terminal services or VDI installations become unnecessary, saving costs while streamlining processes.
When selecting a ZTNA solution, look for one with granular visibility and reporting capabilities. It should authenticate users using multiple methods, validate device security posture and only permit access to approved apps based on need-to-know requirements; additionally it must be scalable enough to accommodate an expanding remote workforce.
5. Data Loss Prevention DLP
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software has become an increasing network security priority with the rise of work-from-home trends and increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. DLP products track, monitor and control sensitive or critical information so it does not leave the corporate network and fall into hackers’ hands. Most DLP products target actions such as forwarding emails against company policy outside their domain or uploading business files onto consumer cloud storage services such as Dropbox.
DLP software analyzes file content to detect sensitive or vital information, using techniques such as checksum analysis, partial data matching (16-digit credit card numbers or nine-digit Social Security numbers) and regular expression pattern matching. Categorizing contents – for instance by type or compliance regulations – may also assist in recognizing sensitive data.
Advanced DLP solutions go beyond protecting against employee data movements by prompting users with information warnings before moving risky files that violate compliance regulations or require further consideration by IT/security staff, to enhance employee compliance by reminding them about proper data handling policies. This feature frees IT/security personnel up for more pressing incidents while strengthening employee compliance through this self-education feature.
Computer Network Security refers to a set of procedures and technologies used by businesses to safeguard their data, systems and networks against external threats such as theft. This protection can include technical measures as well as physical safeguards.
Technical network protection safeguards data stored or passing through networks or transitions. This type of security can include firewalls, anti-malware software and other measures designed to block any unauthorized entry to these networks.
6. Email Security
Email has long been used as a key attack vector for cybercriminals and hackers, as it’s used by everyone within an organization and contains sensitive data. Email serves as an entryway into corporate networks and allows attackers to gain entry and steal confidential data through malware attacks such as spam and phishing campaigns.
Encrypting email communications provides protection for sensitive information from unintended interception or disclosure, by encoding its content into a coded language that can only be deciphered with the appropriate encryption key. Encryption also prevents man-in-the-middle attacks – where an attacker intercepts or modifies an email to gain access to confidential material or redirect it elsewhere – by creating a coded language which only can be deciphered with its respective encryption key.
Other components of email security that must be implemented for the best protection include URL rewriting, anti-spam filtering, virus scanning and sandboxing of suspicious files. A secure email platform should also regularly evaluate outgoing email to detect suspicious activity such as abnormally large volumes sent outbound which could indicate account compromise or malicious intent.
7. Intrusion Prevention Systems IPS
IPS monitors activity on enterprise devices and networks in order to detect cyber threats and alert security personnel of potential security risks. Similar to IDS, it may either be host- or network-based (HIDS/NIDS), and signature or anomaly based. Frequent updates must occur in order for IPS to identify new vulnerabilities and attacks effectively.
IPS tools are typically deployed inline with and behind firewalls, and use either signature-based detection (which looks for unique attack patterns) or anomaly-based detection (where performance levels and unusual behaviors are monitored and detected). Paired with antimalware software, an IPS can protect against denial of service attacks; viruses; worms; and unauthorised access to data.
Automated Intrusion Protection Systems (IPSs) offer security teams a much-needed respite and enhance performance across other security measures by filtering out malicious traffic before it reaches them. They may even help enterprises meet compliance regulations such as PCI DSS or HIPAA.
As part of your organization’s security policy, isolating potentially malicious software and code from its surrounding environment allows it to be evaluated without risking operating systems and host devices. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have developed ways around sandbox detection systems.
One way they do this is by designing malware to quickly escape its virtual environment via context-aware triggering. For instance, the threat may lie dormant until certain triggers that occur more commonly on endpoint user systems like system restarts and mouse and keyboard interaction occur.
Another way to bypass sandboxes is by exploiting security flaws present in automated sandbox innovation. For example, some sandboxes use easily changeable data for matching file records rather than the unique hash code of every computerized file – making it more challenging for cybersecurity tools to identify and quarantine malicious programs. A sandboxed test environment also gives developers a place to test their code before it moves into production.
9. Cloud Network Security
Establishing a security baseline when moving to the cloud is key. It helps security teams communicate what constitutes safe and secure conditions in their new environment, reduce operational downtime in response to threats, and empower teams to take a preventative approach towards cybersecurity.
Cloud environments evolve quickly. Teams constantly add new SaaS applications, APIs and storage containers that cyberattackers can exploit to gain entry to accounts or steal sensitive information and data before performing a denial-of-service attack against these assets.
To counter these risks, a cloud network security solution must contain multiple layers of defense. MFA ensures account logins by requiring multiple forms of identity verification; threat detection and neutralization systems prevent malware attacks from entering; segmentation provides additional barriers against high-value assets; while unification platforms with integrated legacy tools and cloud native protection offer optimal defenses against these people-centric risks.
10. Hyperscale Network Security
Hyperscale network security infrastructure provides high availability, resilience and security with seamless scalability. These architectures optimize hardware efficiency by networking servers horizontally to quickly expand or contract as necessary to meet capacity needs. A load balancer monitors each server continuously for workload and capacity so new requests are routed directly to an available system.
Hyperscale technologies may not be widely adopted by smaller networks, but many of their innovations – such as software-defined networking, converged infrastructure and microsegmentation – can still provide cost-effective and flexible solutions.
Senroc Technologies IPS systems can aid this transition by offering rapid and automated detection of vulnerabilities and attacks across their global network, helping organizations better protect themselves against cyber threats while freeing resources up for core activities. This is particularly relevant to biotech firms which often need to scale their networks based on international operations with fluctuating volumes of traffic.
However, while one security solution won’t cover every need of an organization’s security needs, adopting an holistic strategy will help safeguard information on your network from hackers and cyberattacks. Migrating to the cloud, expanding into new geographic markets or investing in data analytics are all IT strategies which may necessitate updating current network protection tactics.
Apart from authentication – which uses something the user ‘has’ (e.g. a password) and something they ‘are’ (e.g. fingerprint or retinal scan), data encryption is essential in protecting information on your network from access by unapproved parties. Utilization of SIEM solutions that gather security tools and IT systems across an enterprise to identify anomalies is a central element of modern zero trust systems; governments, standards bodies and many of the world’s largest organizations increasingly adopting this model which effectively denies all access within an arbitrary network without verification checks or controls in place – giving only authorized individuals access to sensitive information on said network segments.