Network security services protect data stored in or transitioning through a network from cyber-attacks. They also keep systems secure from unauthorized personnel and malicious employee activity.
A multi-layered approach is the best way to protect your business from attack. Defense in depth combines various hardware and software tools to sift out threats: access control, multifactor authentication, VPN, sandboxing, and more.
What is network security services offer in this digital age? One of the most basic services that network security offers is data encryption. Sensitive information is shielded from hackers and other unauthorized parties by being converted into an encoded format known as ciphertext, which cannot be decoded without the decoding key.
Whether data is in transit or at rest, encryption helps prevent breaches in both scenarios. If a corporate device is lost or stolen, the complex drive contents will remain secure with encryption. Encryption also enables organizations to communicate securely with one another without fear that a malicious actor may intercept their communications.
In addition, many industries are required to comply with regulations that require encrypting their sensitive data. To ensure the safety and transparency of healthcare organizations, they adhere to HIPAA guidelines, while financial institutions comply with PCI DSS to safeguard financial information. These regulations are essential measures that promote security and help maintain accountability in the respective industries. Data encryption is critical for helping these businesses meet their compliance requirements.
Encryption solutions must offer essential features like file-level, database, and storage-level encryption. They must also support structured and unstructured data encryption, often distributed across diverse networks, cloud services, and external and removable devices. They must also provide a means of protecting the integrity of encrypted data and ensure that decryption keys are securely stored, managed, and updated. That is why organizations must approach the implementation of encryption solutions as a collaborative effort with crucial data stakeholders to develop and implement a robust strategy to meet their needs. In addition, it is essential to remember that even with powerful encryption technologies, hackers constantly search for ways to bypass these protections. Therefore, it is crucial to continually monitor and update these solutions to stay ahead of the latest threats.
The firewall is a protective barrier that regulates and filters data entering and out of your network. It inspects incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to accept, reject, or block it based on pre-defined security rules. That is what prevents cyber attacks from penetrating your business and stealing your confidential information.
It is the equivalent of a security guard at the building entrance checking people’s identity before allowing them to enter. Firewalls work by examining the data packets that contain information such as the source and destination of the container, its protocol, and the application layers to determine whether it meets the criteria for acceptance or rejection.
The firewall will reject or reply with an error if a specific packet does not meet the criteria. It is done by comparing it to the firewall’s set of rules. If one particular direction is broken, the firewall will either permit the incoming traffic or block it, depending on the type of rules it has.
Firewalls can filter out phishing emails, spam messages, and malicious software. Malware such as Trojans, worms, and spyware is designed to steal personal and financial information. Often, it infiltrates your system by clicking on an attachment or link in an email and then spreads to other computers within the network. Firewalls protect against malware by blocking them from entering your system and preventing them from spreading once inside the network.
A firewall, which can be hardware or software-based, is typically integrated into a computer or router. A well-trained IT team such as Kirbtech can configure a software firewall that personalizes the protection level based on the data going in and out of your network. A newer generation of firewalls, such as NGFWs (Next Generation Firewalls), examine the payload of the data in the packet rather than just the packet’s header, which allows more granular control.
A VPN is a vital cybersecurity tool that helps users create a secure connection to the Internet over less secure networks. It encrypts your data, making it unreadable to anyone trying to intercept it over public networks like the Internet or cellular signals. It also masks your device’s IP address, so the destination site can’t identify you by name or location.
In business, VPNs allow remote workers to access their organization’s network through an encrypted tunnel. They can access internal files, apps, and resources that they would generally be unable to do when working outside the office. In addition, VPNs can bypass geo-restrictions that block access to content in a specific region.
There are several reasons to use a personal VPN. For starters, it protects your privacy online. You don’t want hackers, cybercriminals, or your ISP tracking your online activities. This information can be sold and used for malicious purposes, including price discrimination (i.e., a product you’ve purchased before might increase in price because your ISP has tracked your activity).
A VPN is also an essential tool to help combat identity theft. The encryption that a VPN uses scrambles your data into an unreadable mess of characters that only you can decipher with the key. The VPN’s server also masks your device’s IP address, a significant part of the information that allows someone to track your activity online. This makes it much more difficult for identity thieves to take over your account, open new credit cards or loans, or rent or buy property in your name.
If your organization handles sensitive information, you need access control. Without proper protections, attackers can move laterally within your network until they find the valuable information they want, which could expose your customers to privacy breaches and other risks. Network security services can help keep sensitive data safe by enforcing strict permissions and access restrictions.
Access control focuses on selective restriction of access to a place or a piece of equipment and is used in physical and digital security systems. There are two main types of access control: authentication and authorization. Authentication verifies that a person is who they claim to be, for example, through a password or PIN. The commission determines whether that person should have access to a particular resource or system, including permissions, reporting and monitoring, and adherence to policies.
The most strict form of access control is mandatory access control (MAC), which classifies resources, files, or devices based on information security clearance levels to determine a person’s permissions. It’s often employed in military or government environments because it is more rigorous than other models.
A more flexible approach is role-based access control, which grants permissions based on roles. For example, a bank teller would have different permissions than a branch manager because they have separate parts. It is similar to how your online banking account gives you access to only the data you are authorized to view.
Another form of access control is attribute-based authorization, which assigns security attributes to users and objects to determine what actions they can take. For instance, a company president might have access to specific data files but not others because of their seniority or position. This model also uses rules that the system administrator sets.
Monitoring is the ongoing process of measuring, collecting, and analyzing data to inform management decisions. It’s a vital function that organizations can easily overlook as they rush to implement monitoring systems without conscious design or adequate resourcing. It can lead to a narrow focus on accountability and reporting, neglecting the broader use of monitoring information to manage performance effectively.
Modern networks are becoming more decentralized as companies adopt hybrid cloud environments and embrace the Internet of Things (IoT). The challenge is that security systems must keep threats from breaching the perimeter and protect centralized data, on-site endpoints, and remote devices such as smartphones and tablets. It requires advanced solutions that combine hardware and software to identify suspicious activity, such as network attacks, phishing emails, and malware infections. One such solution is user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), which uses machine learning to flag anomalous activity, such as unusual clicks, downloads, or login attempts.
Ultimately, the role of network security services is to prevent cyberattacks that steal sensitive information, halt operations, and damage reputations. By utilizing data encryption, firewalls, access control, and other technology solutions, network security services can ensure businesses operate as smoothly as possible and protect their valuable customer relationships.
Moreover, regulators and customers increasingly require robust network security protocols, as well as helping organizations meet their business objectives and maintain good customer relationships. With this in mind, it’s clear why all organizations must invest in high-quality network security services. The benefits of a secure network are enormous, especially in today’s digital world. For more information about the role of network security in the modern world, contact a managed security service provider (MSSP) specializing in network security.