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What is Network Security Management?

Network security is the act of safeguarding the security of a computer network and the data contained inside it in the field of information technology. A network is made up of any type of device that is linked together. Network security is critical because it protects sensitive data from cyber attacks and guarantees that the network is usable and trustworthy.

As networks get increasingly complicated and businesses become more dependent on their networks and data to conduct business, security becomes more vital. Security enforcement mechanisms should attempt to develop as networks and attack techniques evolve, with the goal of preventing breaches by limiting network risk.

The network's integrity and safety are governed by security policies. They specify rules for connecting to the network, adding or updating devices or services, and so on. Rules, on the other hand, are only effective if they are observed. Network security management ensures that policies are simple, consistent, and enforced, allowing enterprises to remain compliant and secure. Network security management involves numerous rules and procedures that are utilized by network management to ensure that unauthorized users do not gain access. A variety of policies limit access in the name of security. The procedure secures the network while also protecting and managing network functions.

Tools and solutions for managing network security policies are available. They are used by businesses to automate administrative operations, which improves accuracy and saves time. The solutions can make management processes easier and faster, allowing employees to focus on higher-value initiatives. These technologies also assist IT teams in avoiding network risks caused by misconfigurations. In the event that issues develop, network security policy management systems can make debugging and cleanup much easier.

The OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model represents layers in networks. As data moves between devices, it passes via these layers. For a network to be called secure, all layers in the structure must be protected.

Layers (ISO 7498-1)ISO 7498-2 Security Model
ApplicationAuthentication
PresentationAccess control
SessionNon-repudiation
TransportData integrity
NetworkConfidentiality
Data LinkAssurance / availability
PhysicalNotarization/Signature

Although "Network" is the third layer, network security does not relate just to this layer. When processing information, every unit in a computer network works on multiple layers, and each layer must be secured for the network to be called secure. In other words, in this definition of network security, the term "network" refers to the entire organizational infrastructure, not simply layer 3.

Why Is Network Security Management Important?

The use of the Internet has risen dramatically, as we get closer to complete digitalization of our daily routines. As people use the Internet more, hackers and attackers grow more active, and our networking system becomes more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Essentially, network security is required to execute two tasks: the first is to protect information from unwanted access, and the other is to secure data stored on end-points such as PCs or laptops not just for an individual network but also for shared or public domain networks. The following factors contribute to the requirement for information security:

  • To keep the data safe from unauthorized access.
  • To protect the data from any unnecessary delays in the path taken to deliver it to the intended destination within the specified time frame.
  • To protect the data against unauthorized changes.
  • To prevent a certain network user from sending any mail or message in such a way that it looks to the recipient that it was sent by a third party. (Protection against the identity of the resource message's original sender being hidden.)
  • To protect the hardware, like hard disks, PCs, and laptops, from malware and viruses, which might affect the system by corrupting or erasing all of the data contained on it.
  • To protect the computers from malicious software that, if installed, can harm systems in the same way that hackers do.
  • To protect the system from Trojan horses, worms, and other threats that might entirely damage it.

A network security management service can help enterprises achieve the following targets:

  • Greater Protection: Network security management simplifies the creation and implementation of security policies.
  • Simple to Use: Policy formulation and implementation are orchestrated by network security management systems.
  • Standardization: Solutions offer formats, model guidelines, and setups.
  • Saving Time: Automation allows personnel to focus on other business goals while deployments are faster.
  • Lower Prices: Cloud-based solutions can handle thousands of devices with fewer resources and centralized control.

How Does Network Security Management Work?

Network security management offers total network visibility and creates data for assets (asset categories and groups), firewalls, apps, ports, protocols, VPNs, NAT, security rules, and vendor devices. This data is analyzed and dives deep into the details of particular devices. In the form of policy formulation, the data is transformed into intelligence that decrypts security transactions into manageable, actionable information. Network safety is ensured by distributing updated rules to enforcement points (firewalls).

  • Policy: The rules and procedures for all authorized personnel accessing and using an organization's IT assets and resources are outlined in an IT security policy. It is the most important document in terms of network security. Its purpose is to provide clear guidelines for securing corporate assets. Employees nowadays frequently use a variety of tools and programs to conduct business efficiently. These routines are supported by policy that is driven by the organization's culture and focuses on properly enabling these tools for employees. The policy must also define the enforcement and auditing methods for any regulatory requirements to which a business is subject.
  • Enforcement: Enforcement means analyzing all network traffic flows with the goal of maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all network systems and information. When it comes to implementing protection, network security employs a protection strategy based on the following principles:
    • Confidentiality: Guarding assets from unauthorized entities

    • Integrity: Ensuring that asset alteration is done in a specific and approved way.

    • Availability: Availability means keeping the system in a state where authorized personnel have continuous access to the assets.

      Defense in depth is regarded as a best practice in network security, requiring that the network be secured in layers. To filter out risks attempting to enter the network, these layers employ a variety of security controls, including access control, identification, authentication, vulnerability scanning, encryption, file type filtering, URL filtering, and content filtering. Firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and antivirus components are used to create these layers. Additional services for layering network security to achieve a defense-in-depth strategy were introduced as add-on elements to the traditional approach. Antivirus and intrusion prevention systems, for example, are useful for scanning content and blocking malware attacks. However, companies must be wary of the added complexity and cost that new components may bring to network security, and not rely on these additional elements to perform the firewall's basic function.

  • Auditing: Checking on enforcement measures to see how well they've aligned with the security strategy is part of the audit network security process. Auditing promotes continual development by requiring organizations to evaluate their policy execution on a regular basis. This allows businesses to adapt their policies and enforcement methods in response to changing needs.

How Does Network Security Management Help with Risk Management?

No matter how effective cyber defenses are, there is always a risk. Most businesses don't realize their true risk until they've already been hacked. While risk can not be completely removed, it can be reduced. Risk management is a method of reducing risk by identifying and assessing potential threats, as well as planning a response.

According to the SANS Institute, this is especially important in network security, which is defined as:

"the process of taking physical and software preventative measures to protect the underlying networking infrastructure from unauthorized access, misuse, malfunction, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure."

If your network is the same as that of many businesses, it's a mash-up of cloud systems, wireless systems, and other systems, platforms, and networks. It is accessible to a variety of people, from employees to consumers to third parties such as suppliers and vendors. There are almost certainly a lot of risks to handle, and knowing where that risk is critical is important. Here are three approaches to better network security risk management:

  1. Creating a detailed network diagram: To manage your risk, you must first understand it. So, first and foremost, discover which assets in your network may be attacked by cybercriminals. This indicates you'll have to map your network, which might be tough if it's made up of diverse cloud services. You'll want to know which sections of your network hackers could want to attack, which are the most vulnerable, and which aren't safe at all.

  2. Identifying the risks to the network: You'll need to analyze the dangers that might affect your company once you've discovered the vulnerable places in your network. External risks, such as attacks and breaches, as well as internal risks, such as poorly designed infrastructure or other flaws that might let bad actors in, should be considered. You should anticipate risks to evolve and commit to a plan of monitoring the risk environment as part of recognizing risk. You should also consider the risks you've experienced in the past since this can help you understand your present risks. Earlier attacks can reveal how attackers gained access to your systems in the past, as well as how your team responded at the time and how efficient those actions were.

  3. Planning for an attack: It's time to prepare ahead now that you've identified your risks. What will your team's response be if your network is attacked? How soon will you be able to detect the attack? Having redundant systems, so that compromised sections of the network may be immediately replaced with other systems, or being able to quickly change credentials to shut out attackers, are two approaches to preparing for an attack. Having a strategy in place and making decisions ahead of time is an important component of risk management. According to the Ponemon Institute, planning for an attack is one of the greatest methods to lower the cost of an attack. Given that almost all data and applications are connected to a network, network security is critical in securing networks from all risks. Being hacked on your network may destroy your professional image and put you out of the industry. Businesses may reduce the risk of data theft and sabotage by implementing a solid network security solution. Organizations may use risk management to keep control of their own risks.

How to Manage Network Security?

Network security management is the technique of organizing firewalls and regulations to protect the network and is best done through a centralized solution.

While the number and severity of threats to company networks continue to grow, network security teams are overloaded with the administration and management of security all across the organization. This is especially true for network administrators who are responsible for a large number of complicated security tools and firewalls, each with their own set of policies and procedures, and who are aware that even a single misconfiguration might result in network vulnerabilities.

The technique of controlling firewalls and policies to prevent and monitor network access is known as network security management. However, administering each firewall and security technology independently causes a number of issues:

  • Human error is quite likely to occur, resulting in network vulnerabilities.
  • The act of controlling each firewall in a security deployment is repetitive, time-consuming, and can cause network managers to become exhausted.
  • Security policies on firewalls that haven't been changed in years frequently conflict, exposing the network to attackers.
  • Changing network settings is generally done manually and cannot be automated.

From a single console, a centralized network security management solution may control configuration and security across a small number of firewalls up to thousands of firewalls. Why do you need a centralized network security solution for a security team?

  • Firewalls, users, apps, content, traffic, logs, and threats are all visible from one location. You can observe which applications users utilize throughout the whole network and gain actionable information about network dangers.
  • Configuring, installing, and administering security policies has become much easier.
  • You can set up and deploy security policies to any and all firewalls, which saves you time and effort.
  • For single-pane-of-glass management, you only need to build a single console, not hundreds of firewalls and security mechanisms.
  • A unified system can detect unknown threats in real-time, transforming your network security team into dynamic threat hunters.
  • Changes can be promptly distributed throughout the organization.

What Are Network Security Management Tools?

Network security monitoring is a critical mission that necessitates the use of specialist tools in addition to network performance monitors. Because hackers now have a wide range of attack vectors at their disposal, network security monitoring has become a difficult chore.

Security technologies that just compare packet content to a list of known techniques rapidly become obsolete and must be updated on a regular basis. Smarter network security systems examine normal network activity and then look for anything unusual, which is referred to as an anomaly. In the ever-changing cybersecurity world, these AI-based products are more durable.

Security policies and techniques utilized differ from network to network and evolve over time. The following are some common network security tools and software:

  • Firewall: Firewalls are one of the most widely used security technologies, and they may be deployed at several network layers. This is an important component of the networking system. It serves as a barrier between two networks or devices. It is essentially a set of pre-defined protocols that are used to prohibit illegal access to the network. Hardware and software firewalls are the two [types of firewalls]/docs/network-security-tutorials/what-are-the-types-of-firewalls. The software firewall is deployed in the systems to provide protection against various forms of attacks by filtering, blocking, and removing undesirable things from the network. Only a certain pre-defined user or traffic may access the network and its resources, thanks to the hardware firewall, which functions as a gateway between two networking systems.
  • Antimalware: Antimalware software detects, removes, and/or prevents malware from infecting a computer and, as a result, a network. When a new file is added to the system, this program examines the system and network for malware and virus attacks. If any contaminated data or a virus is discovered, it detects and solves the problem.
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention System: unauthorized access attempts are detected and flagged as potentially harmful by an intrusion detection system(IDS), but it does not eliminate them. Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are frequently used in conjunction with firewalls. This is a mechanism that guards against intruders. It proactively blocks illegal network access attempts.
  • VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a program that encrypts data and sends it through a public, less secure network using tunneling protocols.
  • Cloud-based Security Tools: Cloud providers frequently provide security technologies that allow businesses to delegate part of their security responsibilities to them. The cloud provider is responsible for the overall security of its infrastructure and provides solutions for users to safeguard their instances within that infrastructure.

What Is the Difference Between Firewall Management and Network Security Management?

A subcategory of networking is network security. This includes securing the network infrastructure from the center to the network perimeter's edge. Network Security Management is a collection of rules and regular procedures adopted by the networking system to protect its network from unauthorized access, denial of computer service, delays in operation, and other risks. Network security management can include a wide range of hardware and software security technologies. Firewalls are one of the most widely used security technologies.

The procedure of configuring and monitoring a firewall in order to maintain a secure network is known as firewall management. As a standard, an organization's devices and network may be protected by a variety of firewalls. Setting rules and regulations, recording changes, and monitoring compliance logs are all part of managing these firewalls. It also includes user access to firewall settings being monitored. The setting guarantees that the firewall runs safely and securely.

The methods used for network security, which is defined as the process of taking physical and software preventive measures to protect the basic network infrastructure from unauthorized access, abuse, failure, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure, are to create a detailed network diagram, identify risks to the network, and make a plan for the attack.

Networks and firewalls can be complicated, but even the most basic firewalls must be properly configured and monitored. Firewall policies must be defined and updated on a regular basis to provide a safe network. To avoid rule conflicts or vulnerabilities, rules must be tested and audited. Firewall software will also require continuous maintenance and management, such as software updates and patches, as well as the tracking of policy and rule changes. Checking rules and settings, examining log files and alerts, and constantly monitoring compliance are all part of this.

Briefly, the following implementations may help to possible challenges in firewall management:

  • Auditing of objects. Administrators must combine and decrease duplicate items, as well as assess which unneeded objects should be destroyed and detect objects that are inconsistent. Network security management solutions assist them in achieving a more uniform, cleaner setup that is easier to administer and less prone to assaults.
  • Inconsistencies in the policy. The firewall audit tools help IT find underused or shadow policies and troubleshoot issues.
  • Upgrades and version control. Filters in network security management systems help smooth these transitions by simplifying and automating operations while ensuring high availability.
  • Firewall management should be restricted to network or system administrators and IT security managers. A malicious attack or unauthorized access will be less likely with limited access. This strategy also reduces the risk of conflict or firewall configuration issues. And, firewall rule changes should be thoroughly recorded inside the company so that any potentially harmful changes may be reverted. When rules are documented, the possibility of conflicting rules creating network access concerns is reduced.