Key elements of effective network security
Businesses benefit tremendously from connecting office computers and other devices to form a network. It allows you to easily share files and equipment like printers, communicate with others, view other people’s work, and collaborate on projects.
But these networks also leave your computers and devices vulnerable to damage and your data vulnerable to theft.
Your office network is in danger
Cybercriminals run some of the most common threats to networks such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, phishing, Trojan horses, viruses, worms, spyware, and other malware.
Many of these threats are designed to spy on the communications and information of users, so they can steal them and conduct identity theft or sell it on the dark web. But some even go so far as to damage computers or manipulate systems to gain physical access to the office. This puts company properties and employees at risk.
But cybercriminals are not the only ones you have to worry about. Former employees and some careless users can also bring down any computer network and compromise sensitive data within seconds. That’s why companies need to invest in network security.
What is network security?
Network security is any action that a company takes to protect the integrity of the network’s private data, its users, and their devices. It aims to keep the network running and safe for all legitimate users and to protect the company’s reputation.
It is comprised of software, hardware, and procedures that provide access to the network, detect abnormal network behavior, and neutralize internal and external threats to prevent them from spreading throughout the network.
Make sure you have the basics covered
Companies commonly use a combination of network security tools to create multiple layers of defense. To get you started, here are four must-have elements for your network.
- Network access control (NAC)
NAC allows you to manage who and which devices can and cannot access the network. This way, only compliant, authenticated, and trusted endpoint devices can get in the system, while noncompliant devices will be blocked or given only limited access.
With NAC, you can also monitor and control the activity of devices once they are on the network.
- Firewall security
A firewall monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic, creating a barrier between your trusted internal network and untrusted outside networks such as the internet. It uses a set of defined rules based on IP address and port numbers to allow or block traffic.
It is the bare minimum of network security and is required by most compliance regulations.
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS)
IPS examines, identifies, and prevents unusual network traffic from exploiting vulnerabilities. It sits between your firewall and the rest of the network. It doesn’t just follow static rules like a firewall, but it actively analyzes, learns, and creates rules. If your firewall is like your building’s gate, the IPS is the security guard behind that gate.
- Security information and event management (SIEM)
SIEM software gathers relevant data from multiple sources in the network, identifies deviations from the norm, and takes appropriate action. It sends out reports on security-related events like failed logins and sends out alerts if its analysis indicates a potential security issue. It can also instruct other security controls to stop an activity’s progress.
Basic network security is no longer enough
Though these four key elements can set up a strong defense against malicious threats or human error, the constantly evolving technology landscape also opens up new security holes and new opportunities for accidental security leaks. This requires you to regularly update your network security tools and implement necessary safety strategies right away. For example, with the growing ubiquity of mobile phones in the workplace, it’s advisable to also implement mobile device security. Without regular updates and upgrades to your network security, you may only be protected from yesterday’s threats.
It’s hard to keep up with the latest security threats. That’s why it’s best to partner with the IT experts of Red Key Solutions. We’ll make sure your network’s defenses are always strong so your business is constantly protected. Contact us now to get started.