Network security, defined and explained
Network security refers to the technologies, processes, and policies used to defend any network, network traffic, and network-accessible assets from cyberattacks, unauthorised access, and data loss. Every organisation, from small businesses to the largest enterprises and service providers, in every industry, requires network security to protect critical assets and infrastructure from a rapidly expanding attack surface.
Network security must protect at the many edges of the network and also inside the network, with a layered approach. Vulnerabilities exist everywhere, from devices and data paths to applications and users. Because organisations encounter so many potential threats, there are also hundreds of network security management tools intended to address individual threats or exploits or assist with other mission-critical infrastructure needs, such as continuous compliance. Organisations should prioritise network security solutions that cover the multitude of threats, using a platform approach that prioritises integration and automation.
Fortinet security-driven networking
Fortinet’s security-driven networking strategy tightly integrates an organisation’s network infrastructure and security architecture, enabling the network to scale and change without compromising security operations. This next-generation approach is essential for effectively defending today’s highly dynamic environments – not only by providing consistent enforcement across today’s highly flexible perimeters but by also weaving security deep into the network itself.
Network security for businesses
Enterprise network security
Enterprise network security, especially for large and distributed enterprises, requires an integrated, automated, cloud-ready approach and network security solution that prioritises the protection of the corporate network and its assets and data, and preserving connectivity and an excellent user experience for employees and customers. Enterprise network cybersecurity doesn’t only mean keeping the bad guys at bay, either; legacy systems, patch management, alert fatigue, and a shortage of skilled cyber and network security workers all factor in to selecting the right solutions. At a minimum, an enterprise network security strategy incorporates both hardware and software tools; is inclusive of on-premises, hybrid, and cloud access models; maximises protection against the widest variety of online threats; governs what enters and exits the corporate network, and manages who has access to what on the network.
Small business network security
Attackers frequently target small businesses using techniques such as ransomware, fully aware that small business network security is often woefully inadequate. It’s important for all small businesses to select the right tools that will help safeguard data and company assets, including secure Wi-Fi, virtual private networks (VPNs), multi-factor authentication, and branch office firewalls. Cloud-based, centralised management also simplifies ongoing operations with useful rules and policies so small businesses can quickly employ new technology while keeping the business safe.
Finding a network security system
“How can we do this even faster?” is a question that’s been around since the dawn of digital innovation, and pertains to network security then, now, and in the future. Speed is the driving force behind digital transformation and how it transforms business, enabling efficiency, access, application development, productivity, revenue, and return on investment (ROI). That’s why high performance is a critical attribute of network security tools—especially in the era of hyperscale and hyperconnected environments, where traditional network security systems will no longer be able to keep pace, no longer be able to deliver secure connectivity and no longer be able to satisfy user experience demands. Security performance is the gold standard for organisations operating at the cutting edge of digital innovation; even a millisecond slowdown can have enormous negative consequences at this scale.
Sophisticated, targeted attacks represent a big challenge to securing networks. The right network security solutions will be able to pull in up-to-date threat intelligence to safeguard against exploits, vulnerabilities, zero-days, and both known and previously unknown attacks.
Visibility is one of the single biggest challenges in network security; you can’t control and manage what you can’t see. And as digital infrastructure becomes more distributed and organisations embrace combinations of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure, there is much more potential for network security blind spots. Choose a solution that can promise the best possible visibility and control of the network environment.
Network complexity isn’t just a challenge to manage, it’s also a security risk. Complex networks have more entryways and more opportunities to be affected—the entire attack surface expands thanks to distributed infrastructure and macro-trends such as bring your own device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT) that create many millions of more connections to business networks every year. Businesses should insist on centralised network management, using a single-pane-of-glass management console, even for highly distributed environments with many different tools employed. Simplicity—in infrastructure, in tools, in management—makes for a safer, more secure network overall.
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