Like other businesses today, your small or medium-sized business (SMB) in Florida faces a myriad of cyberthreats, any of which can lead to massive financial losses as well as the loss of customer trust and brand reputation. Network security is crucial for defending your SMB against cyberthreats and keeping your operations going. In this blog post, we’ll discuss key elements that you should consider when developing your company’s network security framework.
In network security, firewalls are the first line of defense. These security tools, which come in the form of software or hardware, serve as a barrier between your business’s network and the internet. It filters network traffic based on a set of rules predefined by your IT administrator. Firewalls can be configured to allow or block access to your network by assessing incoming data packets for malware or suspicious activity, like logins from unknown IP addresses or devices. Also, firewalls with DNS- (Domain Name System) filtering capabilities can be programmed to block potentially harmful websites.
Intrusion prevention system (IPS)
An IPS actively monitors network traffic for possible threats via signature-based detection or anomaly-based detection.
- A signature-based IPS tool compares the signature of activities within your IT network with those of known threats.
- The anomaly-based approach monitors your network for behavior that may indicate an attack, such as unusually high download rates. An anomaly-based IPS can detect new or emerging threats using AI and machine learning.
Once they detect a threat, both signature- and anomaly-based IPS tools perform a series of actions to prevent the threat from wreaking havoc on your network. These actions include dropping the malicious data packets, blocking the source address, resetting the network connection, and alerting your IT administrators so they can take further action, as necessary.
Network access control (NAC)
A NAC tool gives you the ability to restrict access to your IT network to authorized users and devices that are compliant with your company’s security policies. Having a NAC solution is especially important in the age of remote and hybrid work, where workers may be using insecure computers and mobile devices, which could put your network at risk. With NAC, you can deny access to noncompliant devices or provide them limited access to computing resources to keep them from infecting your network.
Related reading: What does network management entail?
Advanced threat protection (ATP)
An advanced threat protection system leverages different components and techniques to detect and defend against increasingly sophisticated malware strains and hacking-based cyberattacks. Most ATP solutions today use some combination of anti-malware, endpoint protection, email gateways, and network devices, as well as methods such as sandboxing. In sandboxing, a file or software program is run in a “sandbox,” or an isolated environment in a network. If the program attempts to modify files or performs any other suspicious or unusual behavior, the ATP system will terminate it to avert a security incident.
ATP solutions may also feature a centralized dashboard that provides IT admins with real-time visibility into every component of the network, allowing them to detect threats early and respond to these quickly.
Also known as content control software, web filters stop users from accessing certain URLs or websites. They do this by determining the quality or reputation of particular websites by referencing the latest security intelligence databases. Your IT administrators can also create a deny list to block access to websites that don’t meet predefined policies or criteria set by your company. This lowers the chances that your employees will accidentally visit insecure or malware-laced websites, as well as non-work-related websites that could distract them from their tasks.
Security information and event management (SIEM)
SIEM aggregates log data generated by your firewall, IPS, ATP, NAC, web filters, and other components of your network security framework into a comprehensive report. This gives admins oversight of activities within your business’s network and systems. In this way, they can easily spot anomalies that may point to threats and take the necessary steps to fend them off.
Also, by providing admins with data about your security framework, SIEM software enables IT admins to identify and address gaps and vulnerabilities, allowing your team to mitigate issues before they can damage your network.
Aside from keeping threats at bay, a comprehensive network security framework can help you improve the performance and reliability of your SMB’s network, thus ensuring smooth operations. Enjoy these and other benefits when you partner with Cutting Edge Network technologies for your network security and management needs. Get in touch with us today for a free IT consultation.