Whether you have a computer network that you use for personal or professional purposes, its security is of the utmost importance. As soon as you set up your network, you will need to have some security in place to protect the information contained within it, whether it is account info, inventory, or interdepartmental communications. Once you understand how network security solutions work and why they matter, it becomes easier to develop or find the right one for your needs. You can take this course to learn everything you need to know about general CCNA security for your system and network.
What Network Security Solutions Protect Against
Your computer network is the basic parts of your computer, such as Internet and wires that allow you to connect with others, either online or via another type of connection. In terms of businesses, the network is what lets you share information with coworkers without having to physically transfer the data via a USB drive or email it.
The problem is that sometimes outside threats will find a way to get into your network when it isn’t secured. They can then get information about your accounts, team members, clients, inventory, or future plans. Some of the most popular threats to your network’s security include identify theft, data theft and interception, hacker attacks, zero-hour attacks, adware, spyware, Trojan horses, and viruses.
No matter how large or small your network is, you will need to have some network security solutions in place. Although even personal computers are at risk, those who need to be the most concerned about network security are those that store crucial information, such as banks, stock traders, and government agencies. Realistically, however, any company that stores clients’ personal information (especially account numbers or other deeply personal information) should take advantage of these solutions.
Building Layers of Security
Each of these threats will create a different type of attack, and therefore whatever network security solution you develop will need to work on multiple levels. Each layer of security within your solution will protect against a different threat. A simple anti-virus program, for example, may protect your network from viruses or Trojan horses, but you will need a more complicated system, including passwords and encryption, to provide security against hackers or data interception.
The key to creating your network security solutions is to understand what type of software or coding is needed to protect against each individual threat. You can then combine all of these features to ensure that your network is completely secure.
The Most Common Solutions
In the realm of security solutions for your network, there are simple options that anyone can easily understand as well as more complicated ones. Some of the simplest include anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. Almost everyone with a personal computer will have these programs installed on their device, and they are fairly straightforward. You will also need a firewall, which will block those without authorization from accessing your network. This is the first step in preventing them from gathering information, as they cannot do so without accessing the network.
While those two solutions can usually be enough for most personal computers with a small network and little sharing of information, businesses need more. Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are designed to detect and then block attacks before they do any damage. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are essential for businesses where team members need remote access. These VPNs ensure that the remote access is secure, greatly limiting the number of threats and making VPNs an important part of network security solutions.
At their most basic level, passwords are one of the simplest measures of protection against hackers and other security threats. The ideal is to create a password that is impossible (or near impossible) to guess. Any company looking to upgrade its network security solutions should begin by making sure that all passwords are hard to guess. They should ideally include a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric symbols. To make passwords better, they should be longer and use random or made-up words instead of easy to guess words, such as the company’s or individual’s name. As the person in charge of security for a company, you should also have the passwords set to expire within a short period of time to increase security.
The Encryption Alternative
It is common for professional computers to include some sort of encryption system or program, and at first glance, this may seem as if it is enough to keep your entire network secure. If you take a moment to consider it, however, you will quickly realize how difficult it can be to keep track of recovery keys or passcodes for dozens of different computers. Therefore, while encryption is a reasonable solution for a personal network, it is less than ideal for business networks where there are multiple devices.
Other Important Security Solutions
Remember that your goal when setting up your network security solutions is to have as many layers of security as possible. In addition to strong passwords and the other solutions mentioned above, businesses will have some other unique security needs.
For example, you should use penetration testing, which is one of the classic ways to check how secure your computer network is. In this process, an expert will try to breach your safeguards with the same techniques and resources that a hacker would use, but without the goal of causing damage. The expert will instead do so in an ethical way to see whether it is possible and which areas of your network need additional security.
Another important step for businesses, especially those who store information on their websites, is managed scanning of the Web applications. This solution will scan your website and various Web applications to check for any security flaws, including weak configuration management and poor coding practices.
At first it may seem complicated to use a layered approach for your network security solutions. In reality, however, the extra time or effort needed to understand setting up your security is well worth the reduced risk of a breach in security. If you are interested in learning more about network security solutions, check out these resources:
- Writing Secure PHP Code – PHP Security Tutorial
- Hacking Academy: Monitoring Transmitted Data
- Whitehat Hacking and Penetration Testing Tutorial Video