It is the use of both hardware and software technologies to ensure appropriate users have secure, seamless access to your enterprise network. On the other side of the same coin, a healthy, large-scale network security system is capable of preventing unauthorized entities (malware, viruses) and users (hackers) from entering and spreading throughout your enterprise’s network system. All of this protection is designed to protect the identities and data of customers, employees, investors, and the communities of people tied to your organization.
While this blog post is meant to give an overview of network security, you should note that people have written entire books describing the complexity of assessing and protecting all elements of networks.
A satisfactory security system involves a comprehensive process that protects against the physical, technical and administrative threats to your network. The following breakdown should give you a good idea of all the components associated with a network, and the people and devices that are connected to it. These systems work differently depending on the variables associated with your specific network and the type of network your enterprise is working with.
As an example, network security would look different for a company who stores all of their enterprise data on an external, cloud-based server than it would for a company who stores all of their data internally, on privately owned servers and complex wired networks that might be running through your drop ceilings.
Let’s consider the following aspects of network security in order to give you an idea of just how comprehensive and competent your secure network provider needs to be.
Employees, security personnel and executives with administrative access to security tools should create appropriate policies and protocols for the authentication and segmentation of user access. Effective administrative network security should also include complete, real-time visibility over the entry-points to their network as well as a comprehensive historical log.
Physical network security means protecting the physical components and devices within your organization’s spaces that are important to your digital or cyber networks. This is bordering on information security (see below) but will still be important to your network security plan. This might include modems, routers, IT related data storage components, wiring, and physical servers. Commonly used defenses include biometric locks, key-codes, pins, passwords, and applications that give employees and others access to your physical network devices.
Technical network security is the protection of stored data and the transferring of data into and out of your network. This typically involves authentication processes, advanced engineering, and architecture design that can protect against both external and internal (employees) threats.
As security threats grow more sophisticated, oftentimes the security system involved to handle the threats also becomes more sophisticated. But it is important to keep in mind that sophistication does not mean a network system needs to be overly complicated or additional IT staff be added to the payroll. An appropriate architecture and efficient deployment process can give you complete control and security while remaining user friendly, and easy to interpret. With that in mind, let’s look at the benefits associated with having an actionable strategy in place.
If you’ve ever heard, “prevention is the best medicine,” then you’ll understand that a benefit of a great network security service is that it can prevent attacks from occurring at all. For example, the Blacksands virtual Receiver uses a patented Separation of Powers Architecture to pre-identify and pre-authenticate users. Should a threat scan the Blacksands’ Receiver (the beginning of an assault), it actually appears invisible, like having a blackhole for an entrance. This stops the attack before it can start.
With less stress and peace of mind about the security of your network, you and your staff can remain productive with the work that you intended to do. In addition, by reducing risk, preventing attacks, and adding visibility to your whole network of connections, you’ll be saving time and money in multiple ways. You can avoid the cost of rebuilding or re-accessing your own services, avoid data breach lawsuits, and have a better understanding of the behaviors within your network.
In today’s world, customers demand an easy-to-use, intuitive, painless experience. This means that you’re going to need to exchange and protect data, authenticate users, and provide web-based services. By providing convenient shopping, banking, form completion, remote access, and other services to users and securing their data, the coming generations will view your enterprise more positively.
We’ll close out by noting that you might hear people use the terms network security, information security and cybersecurity interchangeably. While related, they possess important differences.
Information security implies the broadest definition of processes and strategies used to protect information. Unlike cybersecurity and network security, information security may also include the protection of non-cyber related infrastructure or knowledge types such as physical print sources. Information security is the protection of all data or information.
In contrast, cybersecurity refers to the security processes and strategies associated with protecting web-based digital data and systems. Its primary objective is to prevent and manage against digital or cyber-related attacks from outside threats.
According to the SANS Institute, “Network Security is the process of taking physical and software preventative measures to protect the underlying networking infrastructure from unauthorized access, misuse, malfunction, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure, thereby creating a secure platform for computers, users and programs to perform their permitted critical functions within a secure environment.”
To summarize, information security is the protection of all types of information within a given information system. Cybersecurity is mostly concerned with web-based or internet-based attacks from external threats. And Network security is concerned with protecting the internal network-based infrastructure and associated data exchanges involving that network. While these terms may overlap, we feel it’s important to understand the differences between them.
If your enterprise is tired of assembling multiple tools and software to protect against threats and manage access for the scale of your services network, it’s time to try Blacksands’ Secure Connection as a Service. Our all-in-one connectivity solution gives you complete control with complete network visibility in real-time. Never guess who is connected, or when they connected again.