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The Basics of Network Security: Protecting Your Business and Customers

Team AOP
Posted by Team AOP on Jun 20, 2023 11:00:00 AM

How does your company handle remote network data security?

If you’re not sure, or if it’s been a while since your network security solutions were updated, chances are it’s time to rethink your strategy.

In the past, many individuals and businesses have relied on a single security solution to protect their technology. Firewalls, antivirus software, and other forms of protection are standard. However, with scammers and cybercriminals getting ever more sophisticated, adopting a comprehensive and multi-layered network security approach is essential.

Understanding the basics of network security is an essential first step in choosing the right approach to protecting your business. 

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What is Network Security?

At its simplest, network security is a methodology used to protect your network or technology from threats or harm. This includes any measure you use, from network security software and technology-based solutions to policies that limit access to critical files or data.

With technology so integral for most businesses to operate, network security plays a vital role in everything from safeguarding sensitive customer and employee data to maintaining operational continuity.

Most IT professionals recommend a multi-layered approach to network security that includes hardware, software, and responsible technology policies and procedures. These layers of defense should work together to support and strengthen each other, lowering a business’s risk of a breach or hacking incident if one layer is compromised.

By implementing robust network security measures, businesses can mitigate risks, maintain regulatory compliance, and build trust with their customers by demonstrating their serious and ongoing commitment to data protection. 

4 Types of Network Security Solutions

There are lots of options for network security solutions that your business can include in its technology stack. Ideally, you should have a variety of network security services and solutions all working together.

Here are some of the most basic types of network security protections you should know. 

Network Firewalls

Once installed and configured, firewalls act as a barrier between your internal and external networks, monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing traffic. Your firewall does this using rules that you set up and can adjust to suit your needs.

A firewall can be implemented as either hardware or software. In any format, it should protect against unauthorized access to your network. 

Access Control Tools

Access control solutions ensure only authorized individuals can access specific resources or areas within your network. There are lots of ways to implement access control, including:

  • Passwords
  • Biometrics
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Role-based access control to limit privileges based on user qualifications

Intrusion Prevention Systems

Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) actively monitor your network traffic, looking for malicious patterns and electronic signatures associated with known bad actors. They work in real-time to detect and prevent these cybercriminals from accessing your system and provide a more responsive layer of defense beyond a standard firewall.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is designed to respond to files and programs on your system that may be malicious, like viruses and malware. By identifying them quickly, they can eliminate these threats before they compromise your system. 

Implementing Network Security Best Practices

There are lots of ways to implement the best possible network security. A multi-layered approach ensures that if a vulnerability is uncovered in one layer, the rest can work together to provide protection.

Some common vulnerabilities include:

  • Improperly installed hardware
  • Software that’s configured with overly lax permissions
  • Skipped or missed updates
  • Insecure passwords

These vulnerabilities can affect any business. Learning and adopting the latest network security best practices is critical. Here are some measures we suggest that our partner businesses adopt to keep their network and technology protected. 

Train employees on cyber safety protocols

Educating your employees about cybersecurity is essential to protecting your network security. After all, you can’t expect them to understand the latest best practices if they haven’t been trained.

Start by organizing regular training sessions to help raise awareness about common cyber threats. This will help them become more familiar with the warning signs of incidents like phishing attacks, social engineering, and malware. This will also help them recognize when they may be facing a suspicious email or download.

In these training sessions, you should also emphasize the importance of strong passwords and encourage the use of password managers

By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, employees become an integral part of your front-line network defense rather than a liability. 

Regularly audit networks and systems for potential vulnerabilities

Regular audits are crucial to helping your IT team identify and address potential vulnerabilities in your network and technology systems.

These comprehensive security assessments should include vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. This can help your team uncover even the most minute weakness that bad actors can exploit. It will also reveal areas that need to be patched or updated, so you can ensure all your software and devices are running the latest available versions.

By proactively assessing your network, you can stay one step ahead of potential threats and implement the necessary measures to protect your business.

Utilize authentication solutions such as two-factor authentication when possible

Implementing authentication solutions like two-factor authentication (2FA) adds a beneficial extra layer of security to your network. 2FA requires users to authenticate their identity using two methods (such as a password and a mobile device code) instead of just one. This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access to your system.

2FA is essential to protect sensitive applications and should be used as much as possible to enhance the overall security of your system. 

Lower Your Network Data Security Risks with AOP

Designing, setting up, and maintaining a multi-layered network security solution can be a huge endeavor. If one area stops working, it puts pressure on the other layers, eventually creating a situation where the whole stack crumbles.

Ensuring your business’s ongoing network security is easier with an expert on your side. At AOP, our team can easily augment your in-house IT team or take this task off their plate entirely. 

With our help, it’s easy to ensure you maintain your multi-layered security since we’ll take care of all the necessary patches, updates, and troubleshooting. 

If you’re ready to improve your network security, call us today. We can schedule a consultation to help us learn more about your needs.


Topics: IT Services, Cybersecurity, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Managed Information Technology

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