What is network security? How does it protect you? How does network security work? What are the business benefits of network security? You may think you know the answers to these basic questions. Still, it's a good idea to ask them of your trusted IT partner. Why? Because small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often lack the IT resources of large companies. That means your network security may not be sufficient to protect your business from today's sophisticated Internet threats.
What Is Network Security?
In answering this question your IT partner should explain that network security refers to any activities designed to protect your network. Specifically, these activities protect the usability, reliability, integrity, and safety of your network and data. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network.
What Is Network Security and How Does It Protect You?
After asking What is network security?, you should ask, What are the threats to my network? Many network security threats today are spread over the Internet. The most common include:
- Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses
- Spyware and adware
- Zero-day attacks, also called zero-hour attacks
- Hacker attacks
- Denial of service attacks
- Data interception and theft
- Identity theft
How Does Network Security Work?
To understand “What is network security?”, it helps to understand that no single solution protects you from a variety of threats. You need multiple layers of security. If one fails, others still stand. Network security is accomplished through hardware and software. The software must be constantly updated and managed to protect you from emerging threats. A network security system usually consists of many components. Ideally, all components work together, which minimizes maintenance and improves security. Network security components often include:
- Anti-virus and anti-spyware
- Firewall, to block unauthorized access to your network
- Intrusion prevention systems (IPS), to identify fast-spreading threats, such as zero-day or zero-hour attacks
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), to provide secure remote access
What are the Business Benefits of Network Security?
With network security in place, your company will experience many business benefits. Your company is protected against business disruption, which helps keep employees productive. Network security helps your company meet mandatory regulatory compliance. Because network security helps protect your customers' data, it reduces the risk of legal action from data theft. Ultimately, network security helps protect a business's reputation, which is one of its most important assets.