As technology continues to evolve, businesses are finding new ways to leverage the digital tools that come with innovation, such as cloud-based services and big data analytics. With more efficiency and productivity comes the importance of data and business growth, which in turn increases the risk of data breaches and other cyber security threats.
As more businesses create ever-increasing networks of devices and systems, keeping your business network secure from malicious actors and cybercriminals becomes paramount, to avoid the severe damage both financially and reputational that a data breach can bring.
What is network security?
Networks are devices, operating systems, servers, and wireless networks that are all linked to each other. Network security is therefore the act of protecting this connected network from malicious activity and keeping data within safe from being stolen or destroyed.
Today’s business world is becoming more connected and reliant on networks to maintain operations and increase growth and profit. For this reason, businesses need to be vigilant when it comes to network security issues, particularly as cybercriminals continue to develop new methods to attack.
Getting network security right starts with a strong security architecture. This refers to the design and deployment of security systems that protect the network across any number of technologies and solutions, including security awareness training, encryption, firewalls, and so on. Exactly which components of security technology should be included will depend a great deal on the need and type of architecture that is deployed. It should also be kept in mind that network security is not a one-and-done approach but a continual process that needs ongoing attention and support in order to be effective.
Why is network security important?
A well-designed and deployed network security solution is one of the most important parts of the overall cybersecurity strategy. Network security protects organisations from costly losses due to data breaches and other security incidents while ensuring reliable access and network performance. It also safeguards client data and information from cyber threats.
Data is the backbone of an organisation’s operation and ensures its future success. Threats to the network can lead to ongoing disruption of business, reputational loss, and severe financial consequences which may include legal and compliance fines.
A lack of security can lead to malware and cyber attacks that force operations to stop, disrupting business for a prolonged period of time. Data breaches that involve personal data being accessed by unauthorised users can cost the victim company massive fines and compensation for those affected. There are also network security guidelines in place such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure businesses comply with safeguarding personal data, and a breach of this regulation can result in fines and even imprisonment.
There are several standards and frameworks that establish a strong cyber security foundation if adhered to. Governments, certification associations, and industries have developed sets of rules, procedures, and structures to build, deploy, and maintain information security.
How does network security work?
A network security team develops strategies and policies to safeguard a network and help it comply with security standards and regulations. Network security seeks to prevent unauthorised access into or between sections of a network. Every person on the network must follow these security policies, as every area where data can be accessed by an authorised individual is also susceptible to being hacked.
Network security solutions
It’s critical to utilise multiple security procedures to guarantee strong protection of your network. The following is a list of common network security tools and software:
Anti-virus software: One of the most well-known network security tools, antivirus software scans and inspects computer data for viruses and other forms of malicious code to keep your data secure. If a threat is detected, it is either deleted or neutralised.
Anti-spam systems: Spam emails are prevented from reaching your inbox using anti-spam systems. They use a wide range of methods to identify, block, and eliminate spam emails.
Access control: Network applications and systems are restricted to users or devices that are not authorised by administrators to access.
Firewalls: controls and monitors network access, allowing legitimate traffic to pass through unharmed while blocking malicious activities.
Application security: Modern malware threats target open-source code and containers that organisations use to build software and applications. Application security monitors and protects these applications.
IDS and IPS systems: monitors network traffic for signs of malicious activity and can block certain threats immediately.
SSL encryption: Data theft and eavesdropping can be prevented by encrypting connections between a user’s device and servers
Virtual private networks (VPNs): establishes private connections to remote networks and servers. They are frequently used to access sensitive data remotely.
Cloud security: Cloud providers offer data-protection services to secure data in the cloud.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA): requires two or more factors to verify a user’s identity, usually through one-time security codes.
Security information and event management (SIEM): monitors application and network hardware data for signs of anomalous activity. When an anomaly is detected, the SIEM system notifies the organisation and takes further appropriate actions.
Mobile device security: monitors and controls which mobile devices connect to a network and what they do once connected to ensure network security.
Zero trust network access: limits who can have network access and enforces that all users have only the network access and permissions required to perform their job.
Network security best practices
The best security solutions available can still be compromised without robust network security practices to keep weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can be exploited at bay. These best practices include:
- Protecting data with encryption: data encryption makes information unreadable without a key, and can be implemented when generating and storing data, as well as transferring data and accessing data
- Security awareness training: employees are unfortunately the weakest link in the network security chain and most data breaches occur through lack of awareness. Security awareness training ensures they know what to do if they are targeted by phishing attacks and tricked into revealing sensitive information
- Patch management: keeping software patches updated is vital to ensure your network is secure against exploitation
- Data backup: in the event of a disaster or cyber-attack, your data can be restored and accessed so your business can continue to function.
These best practices can help reduce the impact of network security risks if they are properly implemented. They can also assist with limiting the damage caused by breaches that do occur. However, they are not a substitute for network security systems. Instead, they are complementary procedures that may help minimise risk and harm if network security fails.
Keep your network secure with the experts
The INTELLIWORX network management specialists have the knowledge and solutions necessary to keep your networks safe and your business data secure. Network security protects client information and data, prevents network overloads, preserves network performance, and reduces data losses resulting from data breaches. Keep your network secure and safeguard your business data with INTELLIWORX today.