Network Security 101

Network security does not simply mean protecting the systems from outsiders who might gain access to the network. It includes keeping critical data safe and secure from people who intend to commit crimes on the network. An external attack may take the form of computer virus, destructive system crash, unauthorized network access, or even the misuse of authorized accounts by an unauthorized party.

The network can be anything from a home computer network to a large corporate computer network. Both internal and external attacks can be applied to any network environment.

Network security is important in both new and existing environments. While new networks are designed with the expectation that they will be used for a short period of time, the need for more permanent security is evident when using and maintaining a network.

New network security issues also arise when the network administrator, designers, or system administrators begin to get more sophisticated. Users of computers become more savvy and the types of unauthorized access and activities become more common. New ways of gaining unauthorized access occur and new methods are created to hide malicious activity.

There are many types of security measures that can be implemented in order to protect a network from an external attack. Some of these measures are more general, while others are specific to a certain type of network. The most important step, a network administrator must take is to implement and utilize effective, cost-effective network security measures.

One of the primary concerns with network security is the loss of vital information through unauthorized actions. Without adequate security measures, a network can lose critical data. Critical data includes but is not limited to: passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, personal information, credit reports, or other financial information.

Network security can prevent an outside party from gaining access to critical data. For example, if a hacker manages to infiltrate the network and gain access to the information, then that intruder has already gained control of that part of the network. In the case of information being stolen from a server, network security can be used to help guard against the theft of data.

Critical data includes network security policies and procedures. It can include system administration rules and user permissions, among other things. It also includes computer protocols and security policies.

If a network administrator decides to implement a network firewall, it can affect the security of the network. A firewall acts as a filtering mechanism that prevents a person from getting onto the network unless the system administrator specifically allows it. This prevents anyone from being able to bypass the firewall or use the network in a manner that is prohibited.

The protection of a network also comes in the form of using encryption protocols to encrypt network traffic. As technology advances, the use of encryption becomes more common and more accepted. This protects network security.

Network security can come in the form of network firewalls, devices such as anti-virus software and antivirus applications, and systems administrators. These security devices are only effective when used in conjunction with security policies and protocols.

It is critical that network administrators take all measures possible to protect their network from intrusion and compromise. The more experienced network administrators have all of the best techniques at their disposal.