Network security has been a hot topic for quite some time now. Whether small or large, every business invests a huge sum of both time and money on it. Almost every company now has a specialized team to deal with this aspect.
But what exactly is network security, and why is it so important. Let's find out.
What Is Network Security?
The word network security is an umbrella term covering several processes, devices, and technologies that help ensure user privacy over a network. In other words, it is the defined set of rules that are meant to prevent internet users from unintentional online activities. It is one of the most important parts of the online world and a must to follow for every organization, regardless of its size. It is also necessary to prevent the issues of activities like Phishing, clickjacking, and brute force attacks that can compromise privacy.
Usually, companies will have specialized software/hardware components to ensure their network security. Many of them are also deploying specialists to test its security and strengthen it. They may also use multiple firewall networks and an innovative authentication system for this part. Utilizing a multi-layer build for the website, and security is also a preferred method. With this method, the company will know about cybercrime activities much before the hacker gets access to the system data.
Why Do We Need Network Security?
The most straightforward reason for this rising need for network security is the increasing dependency on the internet. Almost every activity from banking to a simple bill payment has now moved to digital modes, creating more hotspots to acquire user data to harm them. According to Forbes, these breached exposed over 4.1 billion within the first six months of the year 2019.
They are using this dependence as an opportunity and are developing improved tricks that are unbeatable by the standard practices. The hack can also compromise the IT sector of your company, releasing all your confidential data. It can be a threat to both your employees and your companies' reputation. In many cases, the hacker can also use your private data to threaten you or blackmail you. Not to mention the risk of using your system to spread a virus or trigger illegal activities.
The risk is even greater for companies that use a cloud-based system. They can lose both their business and their client due to these hacks. A lot of companies in recent years have had to face lawsuits after the hackers use their system to get user data and misuse it. So, if you don't want to end up with your data on a public platform or in the hands of a cybercriminal, you have to focus on network security.
Network Security Types
There are multiple ways to get access to a server and acquire secure data from it. The hacker can use conventional methods like Phishing, click-jacking, or go on to brutal methods like manually malware installation. They can even do it through a system connected to your network.
Using a secure network and software like VPN can be a great way to shut them out, but they cannot always protect you. These applications can mask your system, but there are still many ways to find and get inside it. The worst part is that each of these risks even applies to your smartphone and clusters. Even these modern systems need an external application, and advanced protocol to protect them.
Therefore, you have to deploy multiple security measures to ensure full security. The following are the four main types of network security sections that you have to consider.
Network Access Control
Often the network owners don't set a protocol for the access level of their network. They offer full access to anyone connected to their network, which in turn makes them an easy target. Anyone in their network can easily upload a virus or hack into the system without much effort.
Therefore, control the network access level your user has while using your network. Let's understand this with an example. Let's suppose that you are an agency owner with a team of say 40-50 people working on your website. Now, 10 of these people are freshers and don't have to upload anything online. The next 35 are your trusted employees who mainly add data to your agency site. Then there are the four managers who check the website and make changes to its UI as required. Finally, the last user is the site owner (you) who takes care of payments and other functions.
Now, in this network, the freshers don't need network access. Everything they do will go to the experienced employees for a check. The next 35 employees need to add data so they will need network access but to a minimal scale. On the other hand, the managers will need considerably more writes while you will need all the rights. Therefore, when you create the network, you have to define terms and create categories according to this network access requirement.
It will ensure that even if the lower level gets infected or hacked, the upper level will be safe. Therefore, even if a hacker gets through one of your employees, he/she will not get the administrator rights. They may be able to add data or make changes, but you will still be in power and have a chance to shut them.
Installing a firewall to separate trusted devices and non-trusted devices is also an important measure. It will ensure that even the non-compliant devices can access your network without any safety issue. Other than the measures, you can also block malicious sites and tools on your network.
The application that you create for your organization is also a part of your network. It means that if a hacker can use it to get inside your network and compromise our data. The hacking process will become even easier if the application doesn't have an integrated security protocol or has a lot of bugs.
Hence, you must take every possible precaution while developing and deploying your application. You also need to ensure that the app stays up to date and gets regular bug fixing.
Emails are a significant security risk for any network. They are the base of hacking tricks like Phishing, malware infections, scams, and many more. The hackers can also design the email to look authentic so that the user himself provides the credential without suspecting anything.
Therefore, you should never access an email without taking preventive measures. For instance, you can train your network member to differentiate between authentic and malicious emails. It is also ideal to employ a malware software check before opening the email.
Emails are not the only source of infection. It can also happen through an online link, website, or a physical drive. Once infected, the system will not just harm itself but infect all the other systems in the network, and before you know about it, the whole network will lose its security. Malicious codes can also cause harm, like data deletion, system overload, and slow processing.
The simplest remedy for this part is to install antivirus software on your devices. This program will check every device and website as soon as it connects and detects malicious software before your system gets infected.
Network Security Key
The network security key refers to a digital signature or a password that secures your Wi-Fi network. Anyone who wants to access the wireless network will have to enter this key before they can connect with your network. It helps you to ensure that your connection is safe and controlled.
The following are the three types of network keys that you can use for your network.
WEB keys are passcode types of network keys that you can create using 0-9 numeric values and A-F alphabets. It generally has a length of 10,26 or 56 characters and lets you encrypt the sent and received data. However, they are not that secure and last preferable for any secure network.
WAP is the next generation network security key that uses a word or passphrase for securing your network. These keys don't have the restriction like the previous and can work with any type of input. They are also better because the user can set and reset it anytime.
Some of the routers have gone even further than the WPA and use a newer version called WPA2. This network key uses an AES algorithm and offers unmatched security. It is highly recommended for heightened security.
Network Security During COVID-19
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has affected almost all aspects of life, and network security is no different. With this pandemic at its height, more and more people are moving towards digital mode for shopping, jobs, banking, investment, and a lot more. The users are relying on the internet more than they did before.
In such a scenario, even a minor glitch in your network security can compromise millions of users in an instance. It's a huge risk that no company is willing to take. Hence, almost all of them are moving toward better security solutions like AI.
This technology offers a self-developing nature, which helps it learn from past cases and detect error possibilities even before they occur. It can also automate the whole threat detection system and even detect the already present threats in your system. The technology can also help speed up the recovery in case of an outbreak to minimize your downtime.
The General Data Protection Regulation, which is the core of Europe's digital privacy, has also made some amendments to secure users during this critical time. Here's a list of changes it has introduced.
The safety of internet users is the priority of every network owner. They have to ensure that no one can access their network using a back door or a weak point and extract critical data. Companies like Norton, Cisco, and Symantec have spent years preparing and perfecting applications to prevent breaches. They have tons of spyware, malware, antivirus, and firewall systems that you can deploy to protect your network. These companies are also taking steps to integrate AI and ML in the application to predict unauthorized activities.
Their application and the knowledge from this post will come in handy for dealing and preventing data breaches. Use them wisely.