The Basics of Network Security
Keeping your company's IT network running smoothly and at maximum efficiency is directly dependent upon its level of security. Network security vulnerability is one of the biggest and most common threats to any organization. Even a minor glitch in a company's network security can have devastating consequences. Being aware of potential network risks and taking steps to properly mitigate such incidents is critical to a well-rounded success strategy.
Defining Network Security
There are 3 core elements to network security monitoring. This is known as the CIA triad.
CIA Triad: Fundamentals of Network Security
This aspect of network security ensures that data can only be accessed by those with authorized entry. Data should remain guarded and safe from unwanted and potentially malicious users.
Network security should ensure that all data, and any changes or modifications made to the data, are done with total validity and transparency. Data should only be modified by authorized persons and all changes should only be done with prior approval.
Data should be made available to all necessary parties and remain accessible to those parties at all times. Data should be easily and quickly accessible to all persons who need it when they need it.
There is one word that you should always remember and that is "access."
Basics of Accessibility
When thinking about the CIA triad, there is one word that you should keep in mind and that is "access." Accessibility is vital to a successful and secure network. Everyone on your team who needs access to the data should be able to easily access it, but access must also be carefully limited to ensure security. There are 3 elements to access to consider.
3 Elements of Accessibility
- Accounting / Logging
Anyone requiring access to data should have proper identification to do so. This includes having a password or a PIN for entry.
This element ensures that all those seeking access to data have an authorized reason or prior permission to do so.
3. Accounting / Logging
Keeping track of all those who have access to your data ensures accountability if the data becomes compromised. This also helps ensure that the integrity of data remains intact.
Risks to Network Security
Threats to network security are vast but can be broken down into two broad categories. These are active attacks and passive attacks.
1. Active Attacks
Active attacks target network security through disruptive tactics that expose vulnerabilities in the network. This includes a myriad of cyberattack strategies such as spear phishing, viruses, eavesdropping, and software crashing, to name a few.
2. Passive Attacks
Passive attacks are when an intruder intercepts data traveling through the network. This includes wiretapping, encryption, and traffic analysis.
The best way to ensure network security is a combination of education and detection.
Best Practice of Network Security Monitoring
The best way to ensure network security is a combination of education and detection. Identifying weaknesses in a network is most commonly done through a process known as security engineering.
Security engineering is the practice of building a strong and well-rounded network security plan. A security engineer designs a network from its foundations to detect, prevent, and block accessibility by unauthorized users. The ultimate goal is proactive prevention—to ensure that nothing bad happens.
Moving forward, a business can also implement other methods to ensure network security. These include:
- Antivirus software: The installation of software designed to detect incoming threats.
- Network firewall security: Blocking unauthorized entry to a network or data.
- Encryption: Converting information into code only indecipherable by those authorized.
- Application whitelisting: Blocking unwanted apps from running on a computer.
- Password protection: Building strong and unique passwords, and changing them regularly.
- IT security frameworks: Setting up a series of practices and policies within the company aimed at managing security. This includes cybersecurity awareness training.
Other Aspects of Network Security
- Endpoint Security
- Internet Security
- Cloud Security
- Application Security
Aside from building a strong and secure network, the practice of network security monitoring is achieved through managing 4 other key areas:
1. Endpoint Security
Endpoint security protects security from the outside in—and for that reason, it is often the hardest to fully secure. It requires that all endpoint devices, including smartphones and tablets, be secured, and that all employees using these devices are educated on potential risks.
2. Internet Security
Internet security refers to ensuring safe and secure Internet practices. This includes limiting what is shared online, what information is being given out, what links are being clicked on, and which websites are visited. As with endpoint security, Internet security requires vigilance and cooperation from all staff members.
3. Cloud Security
Cloud security ensures that all data transitioned to the cloud remains safe and accessible. Cloud security protects the security of data as well as allowing the information to be easily and quickly exchanged between users.
4. Application Security
Application security aims to track glitches and vulnerabilities in applications running on endpoint devices. It evaluates the authenticity and security of an application before its installation, and aims to ensure that the application runs at its maximum efficiency.
If you require a network security firewall or other network security management and solutions, get in touch with CITI. Our managed IT security services include firewall configuration, network security, and endpoint security, among many others.