The Basics of Network Security

      Posted by May Elliott on Aug 27, 2020 9:00:00 AM

      Network security is one of the most important considerations that should be addressed when setting up a business network. Network security refers to the policies, methods, and strategies established by network administrators to protect a network from unauthorized access or attempts at compromise by cyber criminals or other malicious individuals. With businesses increasingly conducting their transactions online, the costs of a network compromise or data breach can be quite significant; in 2019, the average cost of a data breach was $3.92 million. In addition to financial losses, businesses may also face a loss of customer confidence as well as legal consequences in the aftermath of a data breach. Blog Image - The Basics of Network Security-1

      To keep your business network secure and protected from cybercriminals, it is essential that you engage the services of highly skilled security specialists to develop an effective network security strategy. The network security specialist analyzes your network thoroughly for any potential vulnerabilities, determines the nature of threats that your business may be at risk of, and then offers the optimal security solutions that can provide the needed protection. If you are a business owner with little to no knowledge or expertise in network security, you should consider using the security services offered by NewCloud Networks to protect your network.

      COMMON NETWORK SECURITY VULNERABILITIES

      There are several weaknesses or vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals to compromise your network. As earlier stated, one of the tasks of a network security specialist when developing a security strategy is identifying and mitigating these vulnerabilities. Some common vulnerabilities that can weaken your business network include:

      • Weak/insecure passwords: User passwords are the first line of defense for business networks. Only users with the correct credentials and passwords are typically allowed to have access to a network. Cybercriminals constantly look for ways to steal user passwords which then gives them access to the network. Weak passwords that are easily guessed, or that are not kept hidden, are more likely to be compromised, thereby putting the network at risk.
      • Outdated operating systems or firmware: Due to advances in technology as well as evolving network threats, software and hardware vendors provide regular updates to their products. In addition to optimizing and enhancing the performance of their products, these updates also provide security enhancements. As such, it is essential that all hardware and software products within a business network are regularly updated with the latest packages or solutions. Outdated hardware or software within a network can provide an opening for cybercriminals to take advantage of.
      • Poor or lack of physical security: Physical components of a network such as computers, servers, routers, and switches are also an avenue that can be used to compromise a business network. It is important that all hardware within a network are kept physically secured and inaccessible except to authorized personnel. Failing to adequately secure physical network hardware increases the vulnerability of a network.
      • Network design flaws: Networks should be configured such that only the desired data packets enter or leave the network. Improperly configured networks can provide cybercriminals with an opportunity to send malicious data packets into a network, or access and compromise restricted data.

      TYPES OF NETWORKS ATTACKS

      In addition to identifying any weaknesses that may exist within your network, your security specialist of choice also identifies the various means that could be used to compromise your network. These strategies include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • Insider Threats: Insider threats occur when the attacker is an authorized user within the network. Using legitimate credentials, the user infiltrates the networks and steals confidential or proprietary data. In other instances, users may be negligent with their account credentials, thereby enabling them to be stolen by cybercriminals. Since 2018, the number of data breaches due to insider threats has increased by over 18 percent.
      • Malware attacks: With malware attacks, cybercriminals introduce malicious code into a network. Once introduced, the malware replicates and propagates throughout the network, wreaking all sorts of havoc by corrupting the data.
      • Password attacks: This is one of the most popular attack strategies used by cybercriminals to compromise business networks. With this strategy, cybercriminals try to guess user passwords to a network; weak passwords or passwords that are not fully secure often make this a very successful strategy. In some instances, however, cybercriminals may use social engineering methods to ascertain user passwords.
      • Data theft: This occurs when cyber criminals gain access to unauthorized data through a number of means. The data is then stolen and can be used for a variety of malicious purposes.

      TYPES OF NETWORK SECURITY SOLUTIONS

      After the analysis of vulnerabilities and evaluation of possible attack techniques, the final step in crafting a network security strategy is deciding the optimal security solutions that should be used. There are a variety of solutions or techniques that can be used to secure a network. More than one security solution is typically used by network security administrators to safeguard a network. Some of these solutions include:

      • Firewalls: Firewalls are hardware or software solutions within a network infrastructure that regulates traffic in and out of a network. Based on a business' policies, the network administrator configures the firewall to allow only specific types of network traffic. Any traffic that does not meet the firewall configuration is not allowed to pass through.
      • Encryption: Data encryption is the encoding of data such that it is incomprehensible to unauthorized users. Data encryption is usually performed on data in transit from the sender to the recipient. Without a decryption key, any intercepted encrypted data is practically useless to cybercriminals as there is no way to make sense of the data.
      • Antivirus software: All end-user devices within a network should have an antivirus solution installed. This protects the devices from viruses and other bits of malicious that can compromise the end-user devices and potentially, the entire network.
      • Multi-factor authentication: With multi-factor authentication, users provide another piece of information to validate their accounts after entering their passwords. This could be a code sent to a device, biometric identification, or a hardware device such as a fob. Users who are unable to provide the additional information are denied access to the network, even if their passwords are correct
      • Network segmentation: With network segmentation, the network is partitioned into several smaller subnetworks. Users are assigned into specific subnetworks and only network administrators have access to the entire network. Network segmentation allows threats to be confined to specific subnetworks rather than spreading throughout the entire network.

      At NewCloud Networks, we understand the relevance of network security to the integrity of a network. With our cloud-based Security-as-a-Service solution, you can rest assured that your network will always be fully protected. We have skilled specialists on hand ready to work with you and get you started with our cloud security solution. For more information about our service, and to get started, contact us.

      Topics: Cloud Security, Cybersecurity, Cyberattacks, Security, Network Security

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