What Is Network Security?

Network security is the practice of protecting your network and its integrity. Network security utilises both hardware and software solutions in order to manage access to the network, identify threats and prevent them from accessing the system. As a result, network security doesn’t focus on managing specific devices, but rather how those devices communicate and interact with each other.


Why Is Network Security Important?

Without effective network security, you essentially have your data there for the taking. Cyber crime is on the rise, and methods of infiltration are getting smarter and sneakier. So with the most basic network security, you effectively deter a huge host of malware, viruses and hacking attempts. Overall, network security is critical to preventing data breaches which can take a huge toll on your business.


Let’s have a look at the different elements involved with network security:


1. Access Control

First of all, restricting and managing network access is an essential part of network security. Identify users and devices and create security policies around them. As a result, you get to enforce who has approved access, and block unidentified users or devices from having unrestricted access to your network.


2. Identity Management

Define and manage user roles and their access privileges to network and sensitive data. This applies to both customers and employee identities. With one digital identity per user, you can easily manage and monitor each individual and their activity.


3. Anti-Malware

Another essential must-have for any network security. Antivirus and anti-malware should be a part of your network security to detect and contain any viruses, worms, trojans or spyware attempting to hit your system. A decent anti-malware program will not just detect incoming malware, but will continually monitor and track files for anomalies.


4.Application Security

Take care to protect all applications and software that you use within your business. This applies to internally-built programs as well as bought ones. All applications are suspect to vulnerabilities that attackers frequently exploit for unauthorised access.


5. Hardware Security

Hardware security is another component that works to complement software security. In contrast to anti-virus applications, hardware security describes physical hardware devices that provide vulnerability protection. Examples include hardware firewalls and hardware security modules. These devices provide an additional element of protection to your network.


6. AI-Based Threat Protection

Many threat detection tools now use artificial intelligence to increase their effectiveness. These AI tools have the power to predict threats in advance, and discover breaches as they occur. They also have the ability to respond to ransomware or malware attacks. These predictive and automated responses certainly have a great impact on network security.


7. Email Security

Email portals represent a significant risk of breaches. Many attackers target emails for phishing attempts, and malware links. They compile personal information in order to present convincing emails that deceive recipients. Email security is crucial for blocking incoming attacks and managing outgoing messages.


8. Firewalls

Firewalls are a critical part of network security for any organisation. They provide a hard barrier between your internal trusted network, and untrustworthy external networks, like the Internet. You define the rules that determine what traffic is allowed and what will be blocked by the firewall.


9. Intrusion Detection & Prevention

Intrusion detection software monitors your network for suspicious or malicious activity. The software flags this activity and sends it to an admin usually. It might also be collected within a security information and event management (SIEM) system. An Intrusion prevention system scans your network traffic and blocks any incoming attacks before they can be executed. They often use AI to anticipate and identify threat patterns.


10. Mobile Device Security

Don’t forget to include mobile devices and apps when considering network security. There are a plethora of mobile device management and mobile application management programs available now. You can even use the built in mobile device management for Office 365. With these you can manage devices and keep them secure.


11. Wireless Security

Wireless network security needs to be more strict and specialised than wired. This is due to the fact that wireless networks are less secure by nature. Take advantage of specialised products that protect wireless networks and ensure you aren’t at risk of attack.


12. Cloud Security

With more services taking place within the cloud, it’s crucial to use cloud security. This is not the same as security solutions delivered by cloud. It refers to protecting the cloud itself in order to safely run applications, process transactions and store data.


13. Virtual Private Networks

VPNs are a pretty well-established network security tool at this point. Your online activity is easily visible to anyone when it’s not protected. Enter the VPN. It works by encrypting your data and routing your connection through a private server. Consequently, your activity and your privacy is protected online.


14. Network Segmentation

It’s easy to see how your network security is difficult to manage when everything is jumbled up together. Network segmentation divvies up your network traffic into different classifications. This makes it much easier to enforce different security policies based on endpoint identity.

These elements all work together to create a system of network security strong enough to block almost any infiltration or attack. Talk to a security specialist today about how you can strengthen your network or conduct a cyber security audit.