In today’s online world, everybody is expected to be able to connect to anyone with just a click of a mouse and a tap on the keyboard. However, with the convenience technology has brought, so has it also brought with it several risks. The internet has created a new breed of outlaws. Most of internet security crimes, however, are not reported. The most amazing stories were not printed. Businesses, large and small, are vulnerable to these attacks. Examples of security issues include identity theft and fraudulent cases.
Nowadays, an organization’s security does not end in the physical security. It has extended to the security of its network. Network security covers designing the network architecture, system hardening and monitoring potentials risks to the network. The most effective way to guard against information theft is to take general precautions. Abnormal downtime and unusual network traffic are some causes of concerns which need to be monitored. Main servers need to be locked down, especially those expensive ones. Backup tapes should also be kept outside.
However, even with these measures, a determined attacker will find a way to gain access to these valuable data. With the popularity of outsourcing businesses, this has posed a new challenge to network administrators in maintaining data integrity and ensuring data privacy. Highly sensitive data such as medical and financial records are being sent to external companies, and into overseas. Before providing such confidential data, the outsourcing company should a rigid test to confirm the security of its network.
The organization needs to ensure that this outsourcing company has enough capabilities to protect the data that will have to be turned over. Common risks to the network include viruses, adwares and other malicious data. These can be addressed by using applications such as cookie killers and spyware blockers. Certificate authorities also ensure that the user accessing the files is indeed the authorized user and not somebody else pretending to be him. Information at the wrong hands can definitely break a company.
These certificate companies ensure that unauthorized access is prevented. Of course, these security measures do not always come free. There maybe freewares available but can only protect the network up to some extent. When deciding which of these need to be implemented, an organization first need to identify the maximum and minimum acceptable risk levels. If an organization can afford high risk levels, then it may go for freewares for network security. However, most organizations need to have the additional features not found in free programs.
They may prefer to pay a nominal fee just to increase the level of security being offered. These also have to be updated frequently. A secure network should be able to keep up with the risks, and these risks are being updated almost every hour. Thus, an organization needs to strictly implement network security measures to both its internal and external networks. Generally, network security includes the following critical elements: prevention, detection and response. These elements combine to come up with an effective secure network for the organization.
According to the studies conducted by CSI and FBI, an organization is equally at risk to internal attackers and external ones. Usually, when people think of computer attacks, they usually attribute these to external attackers, or to those people (or processes, maybe) which do not belong in the environment. They think that these attackers have accessed the system from the outside network and gathered internal information for use outside. However, this is not always the case. In fact, inside attacks are more common as these insiders know the inner workings of the network.
Also, damages in dollar, caused by inside attackers are comparatively higher to those caused by external attackers. Keeping the network secure against external attackers is not enough. Internal security also needs to be addressed. Firewalls are examples on how to keep external threats off the system. However, most of the times these are not enough, as employees within the system also bring threats with them. Constant patching strategies should be implemented to both client and server computers. These ensure that risks which are introduced within the system are also prevented, detected and addressed.