What is Network Security?

What is Network Security?

How Does Network Security Work?

A network security system combines multiple layers to address network security across an organization. The first layer enforces network security through a username/password mechanism allowing only authenticated users with customized privileges to access the network. When a user is granted access into the network system, the network policies are enforced by the network’s configured firewall which restricts a user to particular services.

The configuration software, however, cannot detect or prevent viruses and malware which is harmful to the network leading to loss of data. Antivirus software or an intrusion prevention system (IPS) is therefore integrated into the network security as the second layer to prevent viruses and other harmful malware from attacking the network.

Access Control and Application Security

 Access control is a network security method that recognizes each user device enforced on security policy and helps keep out potential network attackers. It employs Network Access Control (NAC) to block noncompliant endpoint devices or limit their access. Application security is also important since any application may contain vulnerabilities that can be used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to the network.

Application security includes the hardware, software and processes that are employed to limit these vulnerabilities. Behavioral analytics are tools used to monitor a network user’s behavior to detect abnormal behavior. These tools automatically discern network activities that deviate from the norm. In turn they identify indicators of a potential network compromise and quickly remediate threats.  

Antivirus Software and Firewalls

Antiviruses and firewalls are the most commonly known network security methods. Malicious software including viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware and spyware are dangerous to network systems as they often lead to loss of data. Antivirus and antimalware software detect malware upon entry and also analyze files afterward to establish anomalies, remove malware and fix the damage. Firewalls can either be hardware, software or both and function as a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted outside network such as the internet using a defined set of policies that can either allow or prevent traffic. 

Intrusion Prevention Systems and VPNs

 Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are employed to block network attacks by actively scanning network traffic. These systems not only block malicious attacks but also continuously track suspicious files and malware that may have gained entry into the network to prevent the spread of outbreaks and reinfection.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allow communication between two systems. Data between these two points is encrypted, and users would need to authenticate themselves to enable communication between their devices and the network. Other network security types include Data loss prevention, email security, mobile device security, web security, security information, event management and wireless security.

Benefits of Network Security

With almost every organization having an online presence, network security have to keep out malicious attacks that could compromise an organization’s data. Only a few minutes of downtime is capable of causing widespread damage to an organization’s operations. There are multiple methods, applications, tools and utilities companies and individuals can use to successfully secure their network systems, to prevent avoidable attacks and unnecessary downtime. Network security consists of several layers designed to implement policies and controls thus allowing only authorized users to gain access to network resources and at the same time block malicious attackers from gaining entry into the network.