Organizations today are more technologically advanced than ever. Over wireless networks, the majority of data and communication exchanges occur. Your data is vulnerable to theft by malicious third parties in the absence of any barriers or security measures.
Table of Contents
- What is Network Security?
- What Makes Network Security Important?
- What is a Network Security attack?
- Advantages of Network Security
- Top 5 Tools and Techniques for Network Security
- Network Security Challenges
- Which Threats Are Prevented by Network Security?
- Types of Network Security
- Network Security: How Does It Work?
- How to Boost Your Business’s Network Security
- Network Security Jobs and Certifications
What is Network Security?
Regardless of size, sector, or architecture, network security is crucial to any organization. It implies security that networks need to prevent hazards and unauthorized access. The implementation of preventive measures that shield the data of their organization from potential attacks, no matter how big or small, is the responsibility of network administrators and cybersecurity professionals.
For various threats, different actions need to be done. If network security is something you’re interested in as a career, you should be aware of the various dangers, the precautions you may take, and the potential career paths.
What Makes Network Security Important?
Network security is important as it prevents hackers from accessing sensitive facts and valuable records. If hackers are able to access this information, they may steal assets, steal identities, or destroy the company’s reputation.
The following 4 points highlight the importance of protecting networks and data:
- Operational hazards. A company that lacks proper network security runs the danger of having its activities interrupted. Networks used by companies and individuals depend on hardware and software that cannot function properly when attacked by means of malware, viruses, or other online threats. The majority of inner and external verbal communication in companies is also supported by networks.
- The cost of getting personally identifiable information (PII) compromised. Both individuals and companies might experience losses as a result of data breaches. Companies that deal with PII, including passwords and Social Security numbers, are expected to keep information safe. The victims of exposure may have to pay fines, make reparations, and pay to repair damaged equipment. Leaks and breaches of sensitive information can also hurt a company’s reputation and lead to potential lawsuits. As reported by the Ponemon Institute and IBM in their “Cost of a Data Breach 2022 Report,” the average cost of a data breach is expected to increase from $4.24 million in 2021 to $4.35 million in 202
- Risk of financial loss from stolen intellectual assets. In addition to this, having a company’s intellectual property stolen is a costly affair for the company. Loss of company and competitive advantages can result from the loss of a company’s inventions, ideas, and products.
- Regulatory problems. Data security laws that address network security problems are mandated by many governments for companies to follow. For instance, medical organizations doing business in the United States must adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards, and businesses doing business in the European Union must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when dealing with the personal information of EU citizens. If you break any of these guidelines, you might face a fine, a ban, or possibly jail time.
Many businesses place a high priority on implementing and exchanging methods for how to respond to contemporary threats because network security is so important. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Center for Internet Security, and Mitre ATT&CK offer free, open-source security frameworks and knowledge bases to help companies and other organizations assess their network security measures and share information about cyber threats.
What is a Network Security attack?
A network attack is any deliberate attempt to undermine network security using any technique, procedure, or tool. The technique of preventing network attacks on a particular network infrastructure is known as network security. However, the techniques and methods employed by the attacker further identify whether the attack is an active cyberattack, a passive type attack, or any combination of the two.
When an attacker attempts to alter data at the target site or while it is being transported there, that is considered an active attack. Frequently, these are clearly visible, extremely violent attacks. One example of an active attack is hacking and altering emails. The goals of these attacks include preventing users from accessing systems, erasing files, or breaking into secure sites.
Most of the time, a passive attack poses a hidden danger. Without being seen, the hacker continuously checks systems for weaknesses. Getting into a network and gradually stealing information is the aim here. The use of various techniques and procedures by network security specialists secures network architecture. Before attacks may access your network, this assists in detecting them.
Advantages of Network Security
- Functionality: Network security ensures that the networks that organizations and individual users rely on continue to operate at a high level.
- Security and privacy: The CIA triad—consisting of confidentiality, integrity, and availability—is a requirement for many companies that handle user data. Network security guards against breaches of security that could reveal PII and other sensitive data, harm a company’s brand and cause financial losses.
- Protection of intellectual property: The capacity of many businesses to compete depends on their intellectual property. Organizations can keep their competitive edge by securing access to intellectual property connected to their goods, services, and business plans.
- Compliance: Many nations have laws requiring compliance with data security and privacy rules like HIPAA and GDPR. In order to follow these regulations, secure networks are essential.
Top 5 Tools and Techniques for Network Security
What use of network security if there is no way to prevent unauthorized changes? Network security measures are essential for protecting your organization’s infrastructure from the variety of risks it faces on a daily basis. Some of the most widely used network security tools nowadays are as follows:
- Metasploit: Metasploit provides network-strengthening security scans and safety evaluations.
- Nessus is a tool that a business can use to find and correct bugs, vulnerabilities, and problems in software, operating systems, and computers.
- Argus: Argus provides in-depth traffic and network analysis.
- Wireshark: Wireshark examines sent data between users and devices to look for potential risks.
- Aircrack: When it comes to Wi-Fi security, then Aircrack is the tool.
Network Security Challenges
The following are some of the challenges that network security faces:
- Advanced network attack techniques: The rapid evolution of cyberattacks is the greatest threat to network security. As technology evolves, so too must the actors who pose a threat and the means by which they act. For instance, cryptojacking and other forms of malware are now possible because of developments in technology like blockchain. Thus, it is important that defense tactics for network security evolve to meet the challenges posed by modern attackers.
- User compliance: Every network user is accountable for security, as was previously stated. It can be challenging for organizations to make sure that everyone is following the best practices for network security while also adapting those techniques to deal with the most recent threats.
- Mobile and remote accessibility: Bring your own device (BYOD) rules are being adopted by more businesses, which implies that enterprises must now protect a more advanced and dispersed network of devices. More people are doing remote work. Because users are more likely to be connecting to business networks via a personal or public network, wireless security is now even more crucial.
- Partners from different organizations: Access to a company’s network is frequently granted to cloud providers, managed security service providers, and security product suppliers, creating additional opportunities for vulnerabilities.
Which Threats Are Prevented by Network Security?
Network security attempts to stop security lapses that can result in data loss, sabotage, or unauthorized use of the data on your network. The system is built to protect data security and provide dependable access to the data for all network users.
Network security solutions assist companies in offering their clients information, services, and products in a secure and dependable manner. Your network may be vulnerable to a number of threats, each of which focuses on a different aspect of your system.
1. DDoS Attacks
In a Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack, unexpected traffic in the form of unauthorized requests is poured onto a server, network, or service in order to prevent it from receiving legitimate traffic. The server’s resources are used up trying to handle the flood of requests, and eventually, it can no longer handle real traffic. Through the use of infected computer systems, this assault prevents regular traffic to a network from reaching its target.
2. Trojan Virus
A Trojan virus is a malicious program that is disguised to look useful, but when utilized, it allows hackers access to a computer’s system. The Trojan virus has the ability to find and activate other malicious software on a network, steal information, and erase files.
The term “malware” refers to a broad spectrum of malicious software, such as Trojan horses, worms, spyware, adware, and others, that computer systems and networks may come into contact with. Each sort of malware aims to harm your network through a variety of methods, such as accessing private information or stealing financial information.
4. Computer Worms
Malware known as computer worms can function independently of a host program to sluggish network operations. The processing power and network bandwidth consumed by these worms reduce the effectiveness of your network.
The information on your computer network is spied upon by spyware. Without getting the user’s permission, it collects data on a particular user, person, or organization and might share that data with a third party.
Search inquiries made with adware are forwarded to commercial websites in order to collect data about you as a consumer. It will gather data for marketing reasons and then tailor advertising according to the details discovered from your search and purchasing history.
A botnet is a network of infected computers that may be controlled remotely or centrally and can include millions of bots. This robot network is used to launch widespread attacks on many different devices, simultaneously implementing upgrades and changes without the users’ knowledge or consent.
Types of Network Security:
A firewall is a device that controls and manages network traffic according to established protocols. It creates a wall between your trusted internal network and the internet, to put it simply. Both hardware-based and software-based firewalls are possible. Hardware-based firewalls can also serve additional purposes, such as serving as the network’s DHCP server.
Software-based firewalls are used by the majority of home computers to protect them from online threats. Both many routers that transfer data between networks and many firewalls with the ability to act as routers are possible.
Additionally, a firewall offers network access from a distance while maintaining secure authentication protocols.
2. Application Security
This comprises tools, programs, and procedures that help find and fix application vulnerabilities. Applications for easier data exchange and communication across networks are available on several platforms. To protect the data transferred by applications, app developers adopt a number of security measures. However, it is difficult to guarantee there won’t be any security breaches because this security information is widely accessible after the program is released.
In order for your data to be exchanged and stored safely after this program has been integrated into your network, it is essential to guarantee complete security.
3. Access Control
Make sure you have the power and tools to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering your network in order to deter attackers. This involves both internal and external participants. Take into account that one of your employees is leaving the company. Ensure that their remote network connection is limited and promptly terminated. You run the danger of being attacked by hackers and other undesirable parties if you leave their single node unsecured and unattended.
Even individuals who are given permission to access your network must adhere to certain guidelines. They must employ secure tools, settings, or networks in order to connect to your primary network.
4. Virtual Private Networks
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, encrypt connections made from one endpoint to a network, which is nearly always the internet. In this manner, a secure virtual data tunnel is used to route all data traffic. As you browse the internet, a VPN masks your IP address while maintaining a public location.
Administrators can verify communication between a device and a secure network by utilizing a VPN. Your cached data and any other secure information are no longer at risk of being distributed among data points. With a VPN, your data is always completely secure and private.
5. Behavioural Analytics
Organizations typically favor specialists for their network security requirements. A specialist in network security is aware of typical network behavior. This is important because it gives management the ability to identify any anomalies or trends in odd user activity. Experts in network security utilize behavioral analytics to identify network intrusions.
The structure and expected behavior are frequently established by the network security professional. The next step is to automatically spot any actions that depart from this established behavior using behavioral analytics techniques. Hackers can imitate one or two behaviors, but not the complete set of implemented events.
6. Wireless Security
Mobile devices are being used by online consumers more and more. This is why thieves and cybercriminals focus on mobile platforms and devices. In addition, wireless networks are less secure than wired networks because they are more recent. As a result, managers of network security must constantly monitor which devices can access the network. Access to nodes that have been physically removed from your organization and data points that are no longer accurate must also be controlled.
One technique to guarantee security is to only let network access through company-issued mobile devices. Another choice is to require that all devices acting as network nodes adhere to security standards.
7. Intrusion Prevention System
These devices, also referred to as intrusion detection and prevention systems, keep track of unauthorized activity on your network and log it. If your behavioral analysis software notices any unusual conduct, the system logs the finding and intervenes to put a stop to the behavior.
By comparing the signatures of network activity with previously used attack methods in their databases, intrusion prevention systems scan network traffic to detect and stop attacks.
Network Security: How Does It Work?
The fundamental idea behind network security is to shield large amounts of data that have been stored and networks in layers that assure compliance with rules and laws that must be acknowledged before engaging in any activity on the data.
They are as follows:
- Physical Network Security: This is the most fundamental level of network security, and it entails safeguarding data and the network by preventing unauthorized individuals from gaining access to it or using it for malicious purposes. Among them are routers and extraneous devices that can be connected by cable. By using tools like biometric systems, the same result can be obtained.
- Technical network security: It is primarily concerned with safeguarding data that is either stored on the network or that is transferred through the network. This kind fulfills two functions. Both are shielded from hostile activity and unauthorized users, respectively.
- Administrative network security: This layer of network security protects against user activity by monitoring things like permissions provided and the authorization process. This guarantees the level of sophistication the network may need to withstand any attacks. This level also suggests changes that must be made to the infrastructure.
How to Boost Your Business’s Network Security
Here are seven methods for maintaining strict network security guidelines. These network security guidelines each increase the protection of your digital assets:
- All your endpoints should have endpoint security enabled. A hacker could access your network through any device that is connected to it. The first thing you should do to improve the safety of your organization is check that all of your endpoint protection is up to date and operating as it should, regardless of whether it is built into the device itself or is a component of a secure SD-WAN solution.
- Update all software regularly. Verify again that the software your endpoints are running is the most recent version after making sure they are secure. This applies to both the programs and the firmware that power each endpoint.
- Change the username and password on your router. Never use the default network names or passwords provided by your routers. Using default authentication information is like giving hackers a free pass.
- Implement a network firewall. A firewall guards against numerous types of attacks, including malware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and unauthorized attempts to enter networks.
- Make sure you train every employee. Giving your staff the skills, they require to identify and stop cyberattacks empowers them to act as proactive auxiliary “members” of your security team.
- Software you don’t use should be removed. Every piece of software, particularly those that link to the internet, provides a hacker with a chance to infiltrate your system, similar to how endpoints do. Your attack surface is reduced when you get rid of outdated or unneeded apps.
- Make regular backups. Data encryption and periodic backups are recommended. You can use the most current backup to ensure business continuity in the case of a ransomware attack, theft, or loss as a result of a disaster.
Network Security Jobs and Certifications
Cybercriminals are becoming more adept as technology advances. Cyber attack prevention techniques require ongoing monitoring and updating. Network security employment will expand by 31%, faster than most other disciplines across industries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The following are jobs connected to network security:
- One of the highest-paid positions in network security is that of chief information security officer (CISO). CISOs are accountable for developing and implementing thorough information security programs.
- Pen testers, also known as penetration testers, are employed to access a company network and find weaknesses. This procedure can either be automated or manually completed by staff members or independent pen testing service providers.
- Security engineers check all aspects of the network for flaws.
- IT security architects are responsible for the planning, analysis, design, and testing of a company’s network.
- Security analysts execute audits, in addition to analyzing and planning the security strategy.
Some certifications for network security careers include:
- CEH – EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISM – ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager
- CISA – ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor
- CCSP – (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional and
- CISSP – (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Online training can help you become ready for your new career goals if you decide to switch to network security. Before you begin hunting for opportunities, you must obtain a certification if you are new to the field. Enroll in our training program to obtain the necessary skills, however, if you already have work experience and want to enhance your abilities and learn about current security measures and trends. Go ahead and start your journey of finding a new career today.