In today’s age of digital transformation, it is becoming
more and more essential to secure every aspect of our online presence and data.
As the complexity of network-connected devices, services and networks
themselves are increasing, vulnerabilities posed by these systems and the growing
presence of sophisticated cyber-attackers is resulting in the securing of
networks becoming ever-more difficult. Let’s take a look at what network
security is and why it is so important for every business.
What is Network Security?
Network security is the process of taking preventative
measures to protect data, network systems and related devices from external and
internal threats such as unauthorised access, misuse, malfunction,
modification, destruction or improper disclosure. Securing a network requires a
complex combination of hardware devices such as firewalls, as well as software
and cloud-based applications. In addition to these technology aspects of
network security, it is also critical to consider the people and
process-related aspects of securing your network, in order to have a.
Types of Security Threats
Many network security threats today are over the Internet,
the most common include:
- Viruses and associated malware, including worms,
trojans, cryptolockers, spyware and phishing attacks,
- Command & Control attacks,
- Zero-day attacks, also called zero-hour attacks,
- Network device Operating System vulnerabilities,
- Password attacks used on network systems and
services such as Brute-Force and dictionary attacks,
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks,
- Data interception and theft,
- Identity theft through a range of methods,
including social engineering.
Many of the above threats can seriously damage a
businesses productivity or brand reputation, or in more severe cases, can even
destroy a business. With the kind of cyber-threats faced by business networks in
more recent times, network security is understandably considered one of the
most important aspects of any modern security strategy.
Why is Network Security Important?
Recent evidence shows that increasingly, targeted attacks
on corporate networks are being aimed at Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMB’s), as
they represent “low-hanging fruit” for cyber-attackers. One of the most
important aspects to consider with protecting your corporate network and data, is to implement a solid
network security solution. Doing so helps
- Reducing the risk of falling victim to data
theft and sabotage, as well as lessening the potential impact in the event of suffering
from a breach.
- Helping to protect workstations and end-user productivity
by preventing malicious programs such as viruses, spyware and malware.
- Ensuring that shared data is kept secure from
both external attack, but also that adequate information security governance
measures are taken to limit access from internal users.
- Managing traffic efficiently – systems exposed
to a high level of traffic are more prone to network security attacks. So, for
an improved user experience without putting a website or system at risk,
reliable network security is important.
- Enhancing network performance – with reduced downtime
and lessened cases of slow-down for
end-users, businesses can enjoy higher network performance, improve
connectivity of their staff both in the office and external, whilst boosting
Common Network Security Measures
There is no single system that will offer complete
protection against every threat to your network, so it is important to remember
to use multiple layers of security. Some common security measures for
- Implementing complexity and routine password
changing policies to protect PC’s, mobile devices, and online accounts, as well
as securing access to business networks, programs and specific applications.
- Developing an Information Security Policy and
associated threat response procedure to indentify the corporate response and overarching
policies towards network security.
- Introducing Multi-Factor or 2-Factor
Authentication services to offer greater security of critical cloud-based
services such as Office 365, Google, or online banking.
- Use of network security services such as Virtual
Private Network (VPN) to offer corporate services to remote or telecommuting
- Identity and Access Management solutions that
provide seamless intregration of online credentials and access to corporate
services, reducing complexity of account management.
- Next-Generation Firewalls that provide network
perimeter anti-malware and anti-virus featurers, Intrusion Detection and Prevention
Services, or similar internal network controls.
- Anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware
software, usually in the form of purchased software suites that block intrusive
or intentionally malicious code from execution.
- Outsourcing management of network systems to a
Managed Services Provider whom assumes responsibility for patching, monitoring
and maintenance of devices.
- Encryption of local and cloud-based storage
systems and services such as email, where corporate data is protected from interception
and theft through the use of cryptographic measures.
The Advantages of Proper Network Security
Apart from reducing the potential occurance and impacts
from data breaches and hacks, there are other advantages gained from improving your
security through enhancing network security. Network security will:
- Save you money in the long run, as it is always
more cost-effective to be proactive than reactive.
- Gain greater insight in to the workings of your
business and methods of restricting access to sensitive data.
- Improve operational efficiency, as a network
that’s safer and more streamlined is one that’s more productive.
- Enhance governance and compliance, as it is
commonplace within most industries to have some form of a regulatory body setting
cybersecurity requirements and guidelines, which may be costly for business
owners if their network is breached.
- Help to minimises catastrophic events relating
to data loss or theft.
A robust and multifaceted network security solution that
leverages multiple lines of defence, with a clearly-defined information
security policy and threat response should be considered the baseline target for
enhancing your security posture.
If you are concerned about your network security, contact Interscale today and find
out how we can protect your investment, both in the initial architecture of
systems, as well as ongoing management of the environment. From network design
to managed security services and vulnerability testing, we can help keep your
business safe and secure.