A robust network infrastructure security is a prerequisite for efficient business communication, productive teams, and safe operations. Without proper measures, the networking infrastructure may become an exploitable weakness that leads to data breaches, poor user experience, costly setbacks, and long-lasting brand damage.
What is Network Infrastructure Security (NIS)?
Network Infrastructure Security, or NIS, is a process of protecting your underlying enterprise networking structure by preventing unauthorized access, modification, deletion, and theft of resources and data. These security measures include several techniques such as access control, application security, firewalls, the use of virtual private networks (VPN), wireless security, intrusion prevention systems, and behavioral analytics.
How does NIS work?
Network infrastructure security requires a holistic approach that combines best practices and ongoing processes to ensure the underlying infrastructure always stays safe. What security measures a company deploys depends on:
- Relevant legal obligations.
- Industry-specific regulations.
- The unique network and security requirements.
You can run a network security audit to get a better sense of a network’s weaknesses and needs. For even more detailed analysis, you can rely on vulnerability assessments or organize a penetration test.
Once a company understands its network needs, the organization can perform some (or all) of the best practices explained below. In addition, companies can also rely on some universal standards, such as data encryption, strong passwords, top facility security, and data backups.
Why is Network Infrastructure Security important?
The greatest threat to network infrastructure security is from hackers and malicious applications that attack and attempt to gain control over the routing infrastructure. Network infrastructure components include all the devices needed for network communications, including routers, firewalls, switches, servers, load-balancers, intrusion detection systems (IDS), domain name systems (DNS), and storage systems. Each of these systems presents an entry point to hackers who want to place malicious software on target networks.
- Gateway Risk: Hackers who gain access to a gateway router can monitor, modify, and deny traffic in and out of the network.
- Infiltration Risk: Gaining more control from the internal routing and switching devices, a hacker can monitor, modify, and deny traffic between key hosts inside the network and exploit the trusted relationships between internal hosts to move laterally to other hosts.
Although there is any number of damaging attacks that hackers can inflict on a network, securing and defending the routing infrastructure should be of primary importance in preventing deep system infiltration.
What are the benefits of NIS?
When implemented well, network infrastructure security provides several benefits to your business’s network:
- Cost savings due to the ability to share resources among users without the threat
- Site licenses can be utilized for proprietary software, instead of licensing every machine
- File sharing across the internal network improves productivity and leads to a single source of truth
- Internal email and chat systems stay secure, protected from prying eyes
- User files and data are protected from each other and outside threats, ensuring that company data stays the company’s
- Data backup and protection ensure your intellectual property stays secure
What are the different types of Network Infrastructure Security?
A variety of approaches to network infrastructure security exist, it is best to adhere to multiple approaches to broaden network defense.
- Access Control: The prevention of unauthorized users and devices from accessing the network.
- Application Security: Security measures are placed on hardware and software to lock down potential vulnerabilities.
- Firewalls: Gatekeeping devices that can allow or prevent specific traffic from entering or leaving the network.
- Virtual Private Networks (VPN): VPNs encrypt connections between endpoints creating a secure “tunnel” of communications over the internet.
- Behavioral Analytics: These tools automatically detect network activity that deviates from usual activities.
- Wireless Security: Wireless networks are less secure than hardwired networks, and with the proliferation of new mobile devices and apps, there are ever-increasing vectors for network infiltration.
Attackers are always looking to exploit any vulnerability in your network infrastructure. Successful attacks are a gain for the cybercriminal and a loss for your company. Network Infrastructure Security helps prevent, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks. You can use several methods and technologies to implement NIS effectively.
You must choose the best options based on your network requirements. Configuring the tools correctly is also a must. In addition, you’ll get optimal protection if you follow the best practices in daily network operations.