Network Security Basics – What and How!

Network Security is a term we all have heard of and understand but do we know enough to set up a secure network system for our own business whether big or small.

Network Security refers to steps designed and taken to protect your network against unauthorized access, misuse or destruction. With every day advances in technology and the moves to their convergence, networks are exposed to new vulnerabilities as every connected user can be a potential attacker. Through a combination of hardware, software and best practices, one can minimize these risks. If Network Security seems too complex to you, following steps will help you get started on securing your network.

  • Set Up a Firewall – A firewall is something that helps you shield your network from threats over the internet. It works by locking down unused open ports and filtering the traffic inflow into your network. There are two types of firewalls – software and hardware.  Software firewalls are installed like any other software on your system. Hardware firewalls are usually built on the routers that connect your network to the internet. Ideal configuration is to have both hardware and software firewalls installed for your network.
  • Set up VPN – A VPN allows your remote or mobile users to log on to the network through encrypted tunnels. It effectively provides your remote employees the same kind of security shield as your local users.  
  • Set up Intrusion Protection Systems – IPS technology introduces a higher degree of security in the network by identifying potential threats and responding to them preemptively. It works by examining network traffic flows and takes automated actions on the malicious packets.
  • Set up Content Security – Content security refers to email and web security to protect your network from virus, spam and other constantly changing threats. A lot of business sensitive data is exchanged over emails and web. Hence it is of utmost importance to protect this data. Such systems include Antivirus protection, advanced malware protection, email encryption, data loss prevention etc.
  • Set up Identity Management – This refers to setting up controls over who and what can access the network. It associates rights and restrictions with every identity.
  • Set up Secure Wireless Networks – Todays devices have all gone wireless. Any device within a range can get the signals and access your network. Hence wireless security is an important consideration even for home networks. Using encryption for the Wi-Fi network is the first basic step to secure your network. Securing your router and limited access to your network also help secure wireless networks.  

The points listed above are generic. Your specific business needs will help you prioritize them. Security and usability may not go together. In an attempt to make the network secure, it may become difficult to use, hence it is very important to find the right balance.