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Growing Dilemma over Enterprise Network Security

Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Gmail, etc. Can you guess what allows you to connect to these social networking sites, messaging app and email clients? The Internet. You all would think “What is The Internet?” Good question!

In simple terms, the Internet is a global connection of networks, both big and small. A network can be small with a few computers connected versus servers at large data centers connecting the whole world through desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.

The Internet allows a multinational company with centers all over the world to connect with each other. It sounds like a win-win situation, but reality is little different because the same Internet also poses a threat to the same organization, Wait! Threat? Yes, a threat from hackers, which makes company’s private data, emails vulnerable. The main reason today is that the companies will not hesitate in spending a fortune on Network Security.

This vulnerability is not only limited to organizations, but with an increasing number of people getting attached to networks, the security threats that can cause massive harm are also increasing. Network security is an important part of a network system, which needs to be sustained because information is being transferred between computers etc., and is quite vulnerable to attack. Over the past five years, people that watch network security have observed a massive increase of hackers, and criminals creating malicious menaces that have been elevated into networks across the world.

What’s the problem with security?

Google stunned the security community in January 2010 when it became the first U.S. company to announce publicly, that it had been hacked. Hackers who breached the Google’s network obtained access to the company’s system for tracking surveillance requests from law enforcement, according to a report.

Premera Blue Cross, a health insurer based in Washington State said, up to 11 million customers could have been affected by a cyber attack in 2014. Hackers gained access to its computers on May 5, and the breach was not discovered until Jan 29, said Primera. The breach could have exposed members, names, dates of birth, social security numbers, mailing and email addresses, phone numbers and bank account information.

Network Security

Network Security is an organization’s tactics, and provisions of taking physical and software protection measures, to defend the underlying networking infrastructure from illegal access, misuse, malfunction, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure. Actions for ensuring the security of its organization’s assets, and of all network traffic. Effective network security aims at the variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network.

One can ask a question that ‘what are the threats to a network and how network security protects you and your organization from these threats?’

Some common security threats active on the Internet are: Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, Spyware and adware, Hacker attacks, Zero-day attacks, also called zero-hour attacks, Denial of service attacks, Data interception, and theft, Identity theft.

Importance of Network Security

The annual threat report of Mandiant’s reveals critical insights, statistics, and case studies illustrating, ‘how the tools and tactics of advanced persistent threat (APT) agents have evolved over the last year’? The report, compiled from hundreds of Mandiant occurrence response investigations in more than 30 industry sectors, also involves approaches that organizations can take to improve the way they detect, respond to, and restrain advanced attacks.

Principal findings include: Attackers had access to victims’ environments for 205 days before they were discovered. 69% of the victims learn from a third party that they are compromised. Attribution is becoming harder as the lines blur between the tactics used by cyber criminals, and nation-state actors. Since the last year, threat agents have used sneaky new tactics to move laterally and maintain a presence in victim environments.

Network Security Components

At a very fundamental level, network security is accomplished through hardware and software. The software must be continually updated, and managed to protect you from emerging threats. Principal constituents include Antivirus and Antispyware, Firewall, to impede illegal access to a network, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), to recognize fast-spreading threats, such as zero-day or zero-hour attacks, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), to provide secure remote access.

Process Associated with Network Security

A network security system usually consists of multiple elements. Ideally, all components work together, which minimizes maintenance and improves security. To view network security in its entirety, let’s understand its other components: Policy, Enforcement, and Auditing.

The policy is an essential part of network security for any organization. The criteria for whether an end system is allowed to access the network are specified by a set of rules. The objective of IT security policy is to outline the rules for ensuring the safety of organizational assets. It focuses on the safe enablement of these tools to its employees.

Enforcement is the application of some network access control mechanism to control access to a network. Using a Policy Enforcement to make a decision regarding which parts of the network system, if any, that the device should be authorized to access.

Auditing is an exercise, which requires scrutinizing the enforced measures to determine how well they have aligned with the security policy. Auditing invigorates incessant improvement by requiring organizations to reflect on the implementation of their policy on a consistent basis. It gives organizations the opportunity to adjust their policies and enforcement strategy in areas of evolving needs.

Businesses now spend a higher percentage of their IT budget on security than ever before. According to a survey, large organizations spend an average of 11% of their IT budget on security, while small businesses spend nearly 15%. But, if you consider the proportion of the overall IT budget that companies allocate to security, will find a red herring. That’s because the intention of spending money on IT security, aside from ticking regulatory compliance boxes, is to decrease the risk of a security breach to an agreeable level. The amount of spending required to achieve this is not connected to overall IT spending in any way.

Thereby, with network security in place, a company will encounter many business benefits. An organization protected against business disruption helps to keep employees productive. Because network security helps protect customers’ data, it defeats the risk of legal action from data theft. Ultimately, enterprise network security contributes to protecting a business’s reputation, which is one of its most valuable assets.