Network Security, Defined and Explained

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admin August 16, 2022
Updated 2022/08/17 at 6:37 AM
Network Security, Defined and Explained

Network security refers to the technologies, processes, and policies used to defend any network, network traffic, and network-accessible assets from cyberattacks, unauthorized access, and data loss. Every organization, from small businesses to the largest organizations and service providers, in every industry requires network security to protect critical assets and infrastructure from a rapidly growing attack surface.

Network security must protect at the various network boundaries and also within the network, with a layered approach. Vulnerabilities exist everywhere, from devices and data paths to applications and users. Because organizations encounter so many potential threats, there are also hundreds of network security management tools that aim to address individual threats or leverage or help with other mission-critical infrastructure needs, such as ongoing compliance. Organizations should prioritize network security solutions that cover a multitude of threats, using a platform approach that prioritizes integration and automation.

What is network security?

Learn about the use cases for the industry’s broadest network security coverage that reduces business complexity with better visibility and performance:

The importance of network security

Today’s threat environment is ever changing, from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to ransomware, the frequency, volume, and sophistication of cyberattacks show no signs of slowing down. All organizations require network security as even a minor disruption to the network infrastructure (such as a minute of downtime or delayed service performance) can damage an organization’s reputation, bottom line, or even long-term viability. . Catastrophic cyberattacks, which often start out as seemingly harmless intrusions that are undetected by inadequate network security tools, can force organizations to pay huge penalties and even close their doors for good.

Types of network security solutions, devices and tools

A very critical component of network security is the Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW). But to truly protect the network, other techniques are required, and effective network security requires a holistic approach that integrates the firewall with other important capabilities. Basically, to protect an organization’s entire attack surface, a layered approach with security solutions for all areas of the network must work together with an integrated, collaborative security factory.

Traditional firewalls have been around for decades and are a standard security product used by most organizations. But as the threat landscape has evolved, so has firewall technology. A Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) goes beyond the protocol/port inspection and blocking techniques of a traditional firewall to add application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and intelligence from sources outside the firewall.

Both traditional and NGFW firewalls employ packet filtering (both static and dynamic) to ensure that connections between the network 192.168.l.254, the Internet, and the firewall itself are secure and both can convert network and port addresses for allocation of the firewall. IP. However, NGFWs can filter packets based on applications, using signature-based or whitelisting intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to distinguish between applications that are benign (e.g. safe) and applications that are potentially malicious. . There are many more differences, but one important advantage between traditional firewalls and NGFWs is the ability to block malware from entering a network, an important advantage over cyberattackers that older-generation firewalls can’t offer.

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Branch office and wide area network (WAN) protection

The vast majority of organizations today have offices or individual workers around the world, and remote work, or telecommuting, is a trend that has recently been accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. But network security can’t be an afterthought in these distributed locations, sometimes described as branch offices. Branch office network security means keeping Internet traffic between branch offices, organizational resources such as headquarters or the data center, and remote employees secure. There is a lot of data in transit between these distributed locations, all the time.

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)

An intrusion prevention system (IPS) identifies suspicious activities and detects or prevents them from attacking computer networks. IPS security technologies monitor these activities, capture information about them, and report them to network administrators. IPSs will initiate preventative steps such as configuring other network security tools to prevent potential attacks and adjusting corporate security policies to block employees or guests on the network from engaging in harmful behavior. IPS tools are a critical component of comprehensive network security and are increasingly being integrated into network firewalls rather than their traditional locations as a stand-alone product in the network security infrastructure.

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Secure Web Gateway

Just as its name suggests, a secure web gateway is a checkpoint that prevents unauthorized traffic from entering the organization’s network. A secure web gateway sits between all data going into and out of the network and provides a barrier against malicious traffic accessing key resources on the network. More sophisticated secure web gateways can also prevent sensitive information from exfiltrating from the organization’s network. Secure web gateways have become more critical to overall network security, especially as cyberattackers become more creative and sophisticated with their use of fake websites and other now-standard-style tools.

SSL Inspection

SSL inspection is a critical component of network security infrastructure. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, inspection intercepts and decrypts all traffic passing through an HTTPS website, and identifies malicious content. Organizations often use SSL certificates on their websites to create secure connections. However, SSL also has its downside: SSL encryption is now frequently used by attackers to hide malware. Thus, network security solutions must include SSL inspection as an essential capability.

Application optimization

SD-WAN offers faster connectivity, cost savings, and performance for SaaS applications as well as digital voice and video services. But SD-WAN has its own shortcomings, especially when it comes to security. Accurate detection and intelligence business policies employed with SD-WAN are important for another network security need: application optimization. Application optimization uses various techniques to increase the overall functionality of the network, and to do so securely. Some of the relevant techniques are bandwidth capacity monitoring, application coding, and network latency addressing.

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