The Basics of Network Security
Is technology and computer networks grow sophisticated over time, so do the intrusion techniques that scammers try to use in order to infiltrate them. It’s because of this that companies are forced to pay more attention to their methods of network security in order to protect their company’s resources than ever before.
Small companies are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to protecting their computer networks from outsiders simply because they may not have the resources and personnel that larger companies do in order to combat outside threats.
It used to be that the combination of a router attached to your computer and a firewall program running on the machine were enough to protect a network from intrusion but the reality quickly became that these were simply the first steps in protecting a computer network as attacks increased and became more sophisticated.
If you’re serious about protecting your company’s private information from people who have no business viewing it, then you need to do a lot more in the name of network security besides having a router and firewall in place.
Network Access Control (NAC), the method by which access to a network is determined, is what protects computer networks from unauthorized access and is broken up into four core components: Authentication, enforcement, endpoint security, and management.
The individual strength of each of these components does a lot to make sure that important files and other pieces of information on your company’s network are safe from unauthorized access.
To gain a better understanding of how NAC works, let’s take a look at what each of its core aspects do:
- Authentication – This method of control is the first in a series of network security methods. It is most often handled by firewalls and verifies what should and should not have access to the network. This method often works well in indentifying and blocking external threats, but its shortcoming is that it assumes all threats come from the outside.
- Enforcement – This tier of defense sees to that authenticated clients never become a threat to the network once access is allowed.
- Endpoint Security – This component is described as being both individually and centrally managed. Examples of these include personal firewalls and anti-virus programs at the networks individual work stations.
- Network Management – This is the last and most important layer of network security. It ties together all other components, changes to meet client needs and involves constant monitoring of the network.
Each of these different aspects wages a constant battle against people trying to gain access to secure networks. The different methods that they employ in trying to gain access are just as varied as the security measures that stop them.
Let’s take a look at what many scammers and hackers try to do to get into a secure network so that you have a better understanding of just what it is that your network security protects you against.
Some of the biggest threats to computer networks are:
- Viruses – These rogue programs infiltrate a network and spread until they render it useless
- Trojan Horses – These often appear as friendly and welcome downloads, but hide a virus or other type of malware once they are opened.
- Spam – These unsolicited messages are sent and received in bulk and are often associated with fraud.
- Phishing – This method comes in the guise of an official email from a trusted organization. It attempts to get you to reveal passwords and other personal information that can then be used to malicious purposes.
- Packet Sniffers – These programs intercept and decode sensitive data sent over networks in an attempt to recover and use the information that is carried.
In an increasingly connected world, businesses are more vulnerable to virtual attacks than ever before and having the proper network security has become more crucial than ever.
It doesn’t matter if the company you own is large or small, the chance that vulnerability in your computer network will be exploited for malicious purposes is always there, so you want to do everything that you can to protect your company, employees and assets.