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Network Security 101: Your Guide to Securing Your Networks

Network Security 101

Network Security 101: Your Guide to Securing Your Networks

Network security remains a critical concern for businesses of any size. With the average data breach cost reaching an all-time high of roughly £3.50 million in 2023, the potential financial implications of network threats remain astronomical.

The issue of network security has grown as the number of firms using internet-based products and services such as cloud apps, IoT, and AI assistants continues to rise.

Networks connected to the internet remain a key breach point for cyberattacks, so using network security tools and practices is vital. By understanding these principles and investing in good network security practices, you can ensure your organisation’s network stays secure.

This blog will discuss the basics and best practices of network security and how you can start your journey today!

Network Security Basics

Network security is vital to any modern organisation. It keeps your organisation safe from attacks and vulnerabilities that come with being connected to a network, so ensuring that you know everything there is to know about network security will help you ensure that your organisation is safe in the long run.

Components of Network Security

The first step to understanding network security is understanding what it is built upon. This will give you an idea of what tools are available to secure your organisation, as they are the building blocks of your network security strategy.

  • Firewalls: Firewalls are essentially barriers that control network traffic that enters and leaves your organisation’s network. They allow you to block specific traffic that doesn’t meet a set rule or policy.
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS): IDPS will monitor your organisation’s network to detect and respond to malicious activity.
  • Access Control: Access control tools let you restrict and manage access to your network to allow for authentication and other essential security processes and measures.
  • Antivirus: Antivirus and other antimalware tools will ensure your network isn’t infected with malicious software such as a virus, trojan, worm, or anything else that could wreak havoc on your business.
  • Encryption: Encryption turns your information into a cypher, making it inaccessible to anyone without the authentication key to decrypt it. Most modern websites use encryption through HTTPS.

Layers of Network Security

There are also a few layers of network security to consider. Using a layered approach — commonly known as defence-in-depth — will let you deploy multiple layers of security to protect against various attacks.

  • Perimeter Security: This secures your external boundary using firewalls and other prevention systems.
  • Endpoint Security: Endpoint security protects specific devices rather than the network.
  • Wireless Security: This is where you secure your wireless networks using encryption (WPA2/WPA3) and implement high-level authentication.
  • Network Segmentation: Here, you divide your network into zones to control the flow of your network.
  • Monitoring and Logging: Monitoring your network and logging activity will help you keep track of all activity and analyse everything, both to look for anomalies and to learn from in the future.

Network Security Best Practices

There are a few things to remember regarding network security. These good practices will help ensure you can be fully secured and further empower your organisation with adequate network security.

Firewalls

  • Regularly Update Firewall Rules: This will ensure that your firewall rules are up to date and that unnecessary regulations are removed. Also, it will ensure that only essential ports and services are open.
  • Take Advantage of Default-Deny: Default-deny rules block traffic that isn’t marked as allowed by default. This means you automatically deny any new connection, protecting you from unknown networks.
  • Next-Generation Firewalls: Next-generation firewalls are worth investigating, as they offer many advanced features that standard firewalls lack, such as intrusion detection and prevention, application-layer filtering, and deep packet inspection.

Encryption

  • Encrypt Sensitive Data: Encrypting your most sensitive data will ensure that anyone who breaches your organisation cannot access it, it will be encrypted and, therefore, inaccessible to anyone without the key.
  • Use the Industry Standard: Encryption uses algorithms to encrypt your data, therefore, using more complex algorithms will result in a higher level of security.
  • Secure Key Management: Ensuring your keys are stored securely will keep your encryption safe, so it’s vital to secure and manage the keys.

Authentication

  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is vital for any organisation, it makes user accounts far more secure and stops hackers from stealing a single password to gain access.
  • Password Hygiene: Good password hygiene and regular password updates will ensure that any possible data breach won’t result in a stolen password wreaking havoc on your organisation.

Monitoring and Detection

  • Review Security Logs: By reviewing your security logs, you can quickly look for unusual patterns and events, identifying threats before they become a more significant problem.
  • Use Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems: IDPS can easily monitor for threats and prevent them, so not using these systems puts you at a massive disadvantage.
  • Conduct Security Awareness Training: Creating a security-aware culture in your organisation will help ensure everyone is on the same page about your organisation’s security needs and how they can contribute.

How We Can Help

By ensuring that your organisation’s network security posture is strong, you tighten your defences and ensure your network isn’t open to nasty attacks or breaches. These practices are the best ways to ensure your network security strategy is all-encapsulating without any oversights or vulnerabilities.

If you want to get started with protecting your organisation, contact us today. Our experts are here to help you with whatever you need and to help you get started saving your organisation’s network. We’re by your side the whole way.

Get in touch with us now and see how we can help.

Secure your network today