Network security meaning is simply securing an organisation's computer network and data by enforcing security measures. Businesses or organisations use the security model regardless of their size for various security reasons. The primary focus of network security is to safeguard the accessibility, confidentiality and integrity of computer systems and networks using hardware and software technologies.
The security approach has three fundamental aims:
- To prevent unauthorised access to the network.
- To monitor and detect any breaches in the network and further stop them.
- To ensure the user has secured access to the network or resources they need.
The security model protects the company data and system from security breaches. It also safeguards business integrity by protecting its network infrastructure and minimising operational impact due to breaches. InstaSafe's network security solutions ensure complete security of your organisation's network and data.
How does network security work?
The working of network security involves using different software and hardware tools. The main aim of a network security solution is to monitor the network and deny access to unauthorised users in between or parts of the network. The working of network security revolves around two processes: authentication and authorisation.
The authentication process ensures that the user accessing the network or resources is legit or genuine. It inspects and cross-checks the user's identity using various parameters. This prevents unauthorised access or intrusions.
The authorisation process decides the kind of access and level of access that should be provided to the authenticated user. The access has been granted depending on the user's role in the network. Users will only have access to the resources or network necessary for a job to be done.
Benefits of Network Security
In this digitalisation era, top-notch security solutions are necessary since they protect the organisational interests and operations. Network security offers a multitude of benefits, such as:
- Data protection - Organisations can protect their customers' information from security breaches by enforcing network security.
- Financial security - With network security in place, organisations don't worry about losses due to security breaches.
- Brand reputation - Protecting the company's data and sensitive information enhances the organisation's brand reputation.
- Functionality - Network security offers high network functionality for businesses or organisations.
- Compliance -Maintaining privacy and data security compliance guidelines such as GDPR and HIPAA are maintained by security networks.
- Intellectual property protection - Employing security measures protects the company's intellectual property, such as patents, business strategies, etc.
- Centrally Controlled - Unlike other desktop software, these solutions are controlled by network administrators. This makes it less prone to attacks.
Importance of Network Security
Data is a very crucial thing in today's world. If the attackers get hold of any company data or sensitive information can lead to various problems. With the company's data on the attacker's hand can enhance the issue of identity threat, asset threat and bad reputation. Considering this, Network security is crucial for organisations since it restricts the cyber attacker from corrupting the company's sensitive information and resources. Some of the reasons that verify the importance of network security are listed below:
- Regulatory issues - To run smoothly, businesses or organisations must comply with government rules and regulations. These compliances, such as GDPR and HIPAA, ensure the security of organisation data and resources. Violating these regulations can lead to severe punishment, such as hefty fines, jail time, etc. Thanks to network security solutions, businesses don't have to worry about these regulations.
- Operational risks - Without proper network security solutions, there is always a risk of affecting organisation operations. Most organisations solely depend on software and devices for day-to-day operation. With that being affected by the virus, the organisation's entire operations are affected. But with modern network security solutions, the risks of viruses, cyber-attacks, etc., are zero.
- Intellectual property risks -If the intellectual property of a business gets affected or stolen, it comes bearing hefty financial risks. The loss of intellectual property of a business can affect the organisation's reputation. But with a proper network security solution, there is no risk of compromising intellectual property.
- Personally identifiable information risks - Businesses that deal with PLL, such as social security numbers, passwords, etc., need to keep the details of the customers safe. If there is any security breach, it can affect the business's reputation and also lead to legal action. Settling such cases is extremely important and requires a lot of money. The network security solution will be a step ahead of any breaches and save money.
Types of network security
Network security solutions work at two levels: inside the network and at the perimeter.
At the perimeter, the organisation's security solution at force blocks the entry of any cyber threats and potential risks. However, attackers being crafty, bypassing these security protocols is an easy job. Hence, organisations must enforce security measures around resources such as devices and data inside the network. This way, attackers don't have a free pass if they get inside the network.
With multiple security approaches, such as defence in depth or layered security, organisations have plenty of security controls. Various types of network security models available today are listed below:
- Mobile device security - With mobile applications being an accessible option for business, it has become easy targets for cybercriminals and attackers. The modern security options are equipped with features that control and monitor devices.
- Firewall - Businesses must continuously inspect their network's outgoing and incoming traffic to prevent unrecognised access. A firewall is another security option which acts as a barrier between a trusted inside network and an illicit outside network. Modern network security options like next-generation firewalls offer enhanced protection.
- Network segmentation - A big organisation with a heavy or extensive network employs network segmentation to manage the traffic flow. The process of network segmentation involves breaking down large networks into small networks. It offers enhanced visibility and control over the network.
- Application security - Cyber Attackers and criminals are often looking for vulnerable applications. Open source code is an easy target for modern attackers. That's why application security is essential for business to run smoothly. It allows continuous monitoring of the application.
- Intrusion prevention systems - IPS or Intrusion prevention system is employed by organisations to scan traffic in the network continuously and mitigate the attack. It prevents intrusion of unauthorised devices from accessing the network.
- Software-defined perimeter - SDP or software-defined perimeter is a method employed to protect a network from unauthorised users and attackers. It enforces virtual boundaries around the network to limit the access of the resources.
- Data loss prevention - Organisations use data loss prevention (DLP) systems to ensure confidential data is not transferred outside their network. The purpose of this tool is to monitor all the data inside the network, either in motion or rest and prevent any data breaches.
- Intrusion detection system - It is an application that detects network intrusions and identifies them as potential hazards. It is typically used with a firewall.
- Cloud security - With the advent of cloud applications and servers, providers offer cloud security tools to enhance security measures. The tools encompass the security of overall cloud infrastructure.
- Access control - This security measure is employed with the thought that only some users should access the network. The tool limits the access of users and devices to networks and applications to keep out potential threats.
- Behavioural analytics - The tool is in motion to observe the behaviour of the network and infrastructure. In case of any abnormal activity within the network, it alerts the organisation.
- Antivirus and anti-malware - Any virus and malware in the network can infect the whole infrastructure. With antivirus or anti-malware software, the threats will be detected on arrival while scanning. Further, it continuously monitors the data and resources to detect potential threats.
- Multi-Factor authentication - Multi-factor authentication or MFA is a popular network security attribute that uses two or more attempts to verify a user's identity.
- Sandboxing - Another popular security approach businesses use is sandboxing, which is to scan or open files in isolated or remote environments to observe their behaviour before granting access to the network.
- Security information and event management - The SIEM or security information and event management keeps track of data from network hardware and software for any malicious activity. The security tool will automatically alert the organisation for any anomaly detection.
- Web security - A web security solution is employed in organisations to prevent unauthorised web use in the network and block malicious websites while protecting business integrity. It also protects the website or web gateway.
- Workload security - In hybrid and cloud environments, balancing workload enhances the risk of potential attacks. With workload security measures, it protects the data in the load balancers.
- Zero-trust network access- It is a prominent network security solution that only grants access to the network or resources they need to do their job, blocking out all other access requests.
- Virtual private network - It encrypts the connection from the endpoint to the network. It is generally used for remote access by tunnelling protocols to secure information.
- Wireless security -Wireless networks are prone to risk and threats, requiring stringent protection and monitoring—Wireless security practices such as SSIDs, service set identifiers, etc., enhance wireless networks' security.
Network security layers
Network security's core principle is to protect the stored data and prevent cyber attacks. When addressing network security, there are many layers to consider, as attacks and breaches can happen through any layer. Network security policies and measures are designed to protect each area. These layers ensure the enforcement of rules and regulations before accessing the data.
These network security layers are classified into:
- Physical Network Security - The primary or foundation level of network security protects the network and its data from unauthorised personnel access using physical security controls. It can include a router or other peripheral device used for connection.
- Technical Network Security - The technical network security layer focuses on protecting the data stored on the network or data that has been transiting in and out of the network. It has two functions: to protect from unauthorised users and other protection from malicious activities.
- Administrative Network Security -Another network security layer focuses on user behaviour. It simply observes how the authorisation has taken place in the network. It also enforces security measures to mitigate any attacks and how to make infrastructure strong.
Network Security Best Practices
Cybercrime is an increasing danger to organisations of all sizes and industries. Organisations must be proactive and alert to safeguard themselves from cyberattacks. This is where network security comes into play.
Network security is critical for protecting companies' data and resources in order to retain their integrity and privacy in an interconnected environment. Implementing best practices in network security helps organisations defend against various cyber threats and ensures a robust and secure network environment. Here are some of the network security best practices.
- Conduct network audit - The primary network security practice is to conduct an in-depth network audit to identify any flaws in the network infrastructure. Organisations can analyse open ports, security risks, underused apps, and other network issues by conducting network audits. Furthermore, it enables backup and detects malicious traffic.
- Deploy network security devices - Organisations should have a firewall or web-based firewall to ensure data security and avoid web-based harm. Firewalls serve as a line of defence between an approved internal network and possibly hazardous external networks or the internet. Other security devices, such as DLP, SIEM, and IDP, can also improve network security.
- Turning off file sharing feature - If not appropriately set and protected, file sharing services can be exploited. Limiting file sharing to recognised, trustworthy servers with rigorous security measures helps prevent unauthorised access and data breaches. Network security works on the least privilege principle, granting minimum access and privilege.
- Update antivirus software - Cyber threats evolve rapidly, and attackers constantly develop new techniques to exploit vulnerabilities. Without regular updates, antivirus software becomes less capable of detecting and mitigating these emerging threats. With antivirus up to date, rest assured that the updated security patches and bug fixes will protect the device.
- Secure routers - Just by pressing the router's reset button, security attacks can occur in the network as it restores the device to its default settings, deleting any customised security configurations. Thus, having a router connection in a secured or protected place is essential, ideally within a locked cabinet or server room. Further, surveillance equipment or cameras should be installed in the network or server room.
- Use private IPs - One of the best network security practices is to assign private IP addresses to prevent access to unauthorised devices and users in the network. Private IP address ranges, like RFC 1918, are not routable on the public internet. By using these addresses internally, organisations can create a barrier that prevents external entities from directly accessing their internal network resources.
- Establish network maintenance system - Proper network security maintenance is essential to mitigate threats and suspicious activities. One key aspect of this maintenance is staying vigilant about software updates. Keeping all systems, applications, and security software up to date is crucial because updates often include patches for known vulnerabilities, making it much harder for cybercriminals to exploit weaknesses.
- Network segmentation - Another widespread network security practice is to segment the more extensive network into smaller ones. This reduces the risk of network intrusion. And if something happens, it lowers the intensity of the attack. Only one segment would be the target instead of the whole network. Furthermore, network monitoring would be simple.
- Build security-focused culture- Lastly, all the network security measures would be helpful if you have a security-centred culture in order. You can create a security-centred culture by training and educating staff about network security. If the staff or employees were educated about potential attacks, they would be first in line to defend the network.
In today's hyper-connected world, the growing number of cyber attackers demands more than just basic security practices. Data breaches and attacks can jeopardise a business's reputation and pose substantial financial risks. They can degrade trust, integrity, and performance. That is why investing in advanced network security solutions that strengthen the entire network architecture is critical.
InstaSafe is a reliable partner for comprehensive network security. Our cutting-edge network security solution package has been rigorously built to safeguard your organisation. We believe that network security complexity should never be at the expense of performance. That's why we designed a solution that strikes the optimal balance.
Our approach isn't just about security but empowering businesses to thrive and scale securely. With a unified strategy that spans on-premises, cloud, private, and public environments, InstaSafe ensures the organisation's network is shielded from the evolving threat landscape. Its user-friendly interface and streamlined processes make navigating the intricate world of cybersecurity easy without breaking a sweat.
Don't leave your organisation's security to chance. Reach out to our dedicated customer representatives today to schedule a demo. Learn how InstaSafe can elevate your network security, safeguard your client data, and provide the peace of mind your business deserves. With InstaSafe, you can embrace the future with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the four components of network security?
Network Access Control (NAC), firewall, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and IPS are essential components of network security. Besides this, web security, email security, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), etc., are also needed for top-notch security.
What are examples of network security systems or devices?
Network security devices are further classified into different types, which are active devices, preventive devices, passive devices, and Unified Threat Management (UTM).
What are the three primary pillars of any network security model?
Cybersecurity uses a three-pillar approach, which are people, process, data and information.
- The first pillar focuses on educating people and raising awareness.
- The second pillar focuses on employing policies and procedures.
- The third pillar is based on the CIA triad, which stands for confidentiality, integrity and availability.