Cybercrime is forecast to cause $8 trillion in damage worldwide in 2023. It is so extensive that if cybercrime were a country, it would have the world’s third-largest economy. Companies of all sizes are vulnerable and need to protect their data and networks from cybercriminals.
At the top of your list for network security should be a firewall and employing security protocols. But what is a firewall, and what are the security basics that you need to know? We have the answers.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is hardware or software that monitors and filters network traffic. Firewalls check both incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure compliance with your security policies, protecting your network assets against potential threats from internet connections.
There are several different types of firewalls. The most commonly deployed firewalls for network security today are stateful firewalls and next-generation firewalls (NGFWs).
A stateful firewall monitors active network connections, using dynamic packet filtering to determine which packets to allow through the firewall. Traffic is inspected at multiple layers in the network security stack to provide more granular control over how traffic is filtered.
Next Generation Firewalls
NGFWs provide enhanced protection against cybersecurity threats using deep packet inspection.
While providing all of the features of a stateful firewall, NGFWs also include advanced features such as antivirus and malware protection, intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems, Internet Protocol and URL filtering, and application-level protection. NGFWs also monitor traffic against more layers of the network stack.
NGFWs receive automated security updates based on real-world attacks to help protect against emerging threats.
LOGIX Fiber Networks offers an NFGW as part of its secure access service edge (SASE) solution, LOGIX SD-WAN Secure. SD-WAN Secure provides enhanced network security and enables users to dynamically steer priority applications and traffic over an optimal wide area network path.
Network Security Basics for Companies
Firewalls are crucial to protecting your network from threat actors and malicious traffic. However, there are other network security measures that every company should deploy.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) or multifactor authentication provide an additional layer of security to login attempts. A two-step or multistep process requires separate forms of identification to access networks. For example, 2FA might send a one-time passcode to users’ smartphones, email or verification apps.
A 2023 Stanford University and University of Chicago study shows that 13% of full-time employees work fully remotely and another 28% work in a hybrid environment, splitting time between being in the office and remote work. Managing remote connectivity and employing security policies to protect remote workers has become crucial.
LOGIX network security solutions can extend your network security to mobile and remote workers.
Access and Application Controls
Access controls determine where users can go on your network and what they can do. Effective access controls verify user identities to grant privileges, such as viewing data or modifying records.
Application control restricts the types of applications that can run on a system and what actions applications can perform. This type of control is designed to prevent malware or other malicious software from running, or prevent users from executing applications that might cause harm.
Network segmentation divides networks into smaller subnetworks to improve security. This helps prevent lateral movement in the event of a network security breach. Each network segment requires separate authentication before granting access.
Encryption protects data by converting it from a readable form into an encoded format. Users need a decryption key to read data in a usable form. The best solutions will encrypt data in transit when moving between devices and at rest when data is stored.
Best Practices for Network Security
The National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST) focuses on five areas:
- Identify equipment, software, devices, users and roles.
- Protect data, control access, conduct regular backups, and train users.
- Detect any unauthorized access or connections and investigate unusual activities.
- Respond to any unusual activity and have a documented plan in case of attacks.
- Recover by restoring networks and data to normal operations.
Within each of these five areas, there are multiple strategies that businesses should employ, including:
- Network audits to look for security vulnerabilities such as open ports.
- Applying patches and updates to all software.
- Ensuring that firmware is up to date on hardware devices.
- Performing data backups.
It is also important to train employees on security threats. According to the World Economic Forum, as many as 95% of all cybersecurity issues are a result of human error, including using weak passwords, falling victim to phishing attempts, or failing to protect sensitive information.
Human errors also include improper network security configurations, which is why organizations should work with IT and security professionals to help them deploy network security.
Contact LOGIX at 281-688-6283, or request a quote to help secure and simplify your network with a complete network security solution.