Network Security 101: Understanding Network Security Devices

In this age, virtually every business sends sensitive information over its internal network. But because of the desperation of cyber attackers in stealing private information, it becomes highly necessary to manage your network security and prevent data compromise or breach.

Utilizing the proper network devices and solutions will create a stiff wall against attacks and breaches. Network security devices provide automated functionality that can efficiently frustrate attacks on the network. On the monitoring edge, security systems can create alerts when there is unauthorized access to the network system.

With network segmentation, they can easily identify bad actors making attempted moves across a network. One of the primary network segmentation benefits is that it limits the damage from a cybersecurity attack.

What is Network Security Devices?

Network security devices are virtual or physical hardware appliances deployed alongside specific vendor software for optimal security performance. Depending on your company’s needs, some companies can acquire commodity server hardware and install custom software to create their network security device. Some businesses may find one approach offers more cost-benefit than the other.

Types of Network Security Devices

Network security devices offer different solutions for different businesses. While some may provide secure remote access, others manage network traffic or detect threats on a network. In addition, most security devices utilize multiple functionalities from different devices—especially those channeled toward building smaller businesses.

1. Firewalls

Regarding network security, firewalls serve as one of its most essential aspects. It can come in software or hardware form, and in most situations, businesses prefer to use dedicated, specifically developed hardware for increased traffic and vendor support.

Firewalls leverage a rigid set of rules to monitor and curate network traffic. They can block connections on certain ports, from machines, and specific IP addresses, or network matching requirements. Most firewalls create a security wall between the web and your private internal network.

Firewalls are deployed at the network edge to prevent unauthorized network access. It scans every message either while penetrating or exiting a private network. During the scan, it passes a message, referred to as a network packet, through a security checklist containing a set of rules that determines whether a message is safe or not. Once a message checks the boxes, it is allowed to travel forward. Two main types of firewalls are hardware firewalls and software firewalls.

Software firewalls are programs installed on a computer with configurable options that can help you create your firewall for maximum security. The software scrutinizes all network packets or messages sent over the internet or downloaded.

Hardware firewalls: they are standalone firewalls that are connected via ports to devices. Big companies can deploy higher-end firewall devices having multiple security mechanisms with several ports.

2. Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS)

IPS scans every traffic flow around the network. It uses artificial intelligence, pre-made profiles, signature detection, anomaly detection, and IPS systems to detect various kinds of network intrusions, from denial of service attacks to different malware on endpoint devices.

One of the top advantages of using network-based intrusion protection is that it can communicate with various network hardware, including firewalls, in real time. For instance, it can identify when a device contains malware considering the suspicious and unusual network activity it generates. It can, thereafter, request that the firewall quarantine the infected device to prevent further harm to the network.

3. Network Access Control

Network access control is concerned with keeping away poorly secured and infected devices from the network to maintain sanity. It, therefore, links network authentication with the state of endpoint devices. For instance, as an integrated network access control solution, it could ensure that only devices that have the latest software can authenticate themselves.

4. Web Application Firewalls (WAF)

WAF works like a regular network firewall; it can decide to block or allow traffic leveraging a given set of rules, instructions, or suspicious activity. They usually have security vulnerabilities that can be used to cause a breach on a corporate network or leak data.

It will block URLs with evidence of SQL injection attempts and other potential threats. It may be presented as software installed on a standard reverse proxy server, an extension to a different network security device, or a physical device. WAF has proven to be a good next layer of defense for network systems.

5. Unified Threat Management (UTM)

Unified Threat Management (UTM) is an information security term that describes a single security appliance that delivers various security solutions at a single point on a network. It performs intrusion detection and prevention, anti-spam, antivirus, network firewalling, anti-spyware, content filtering, and data breach prevention.

Smaller businesses, especially businesses that lack major IT resources, can leverage UTMs to save costs and time on their network security. The attractive aspect of this solution is based on its simplicity, as it helps organizations combine their security tasks under one vendor provision instead of different ones.

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