The concept of networking isn’t new- today, we are quite familiar with its vast array of applications. From a basic home computer for connecting multiple devices to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, most of us use the internet daily and understand the need of these networks.
Our reliance on online platforms is why IT professionals seek to understand how to build safe and secure networks. Wilfrid Laurier University’s online Master of Computer Science program helps professionals learn to manage network vulnerabilities effectively.
In this post, we discuss the importance of building safe networks in modern society and how they can be built.
Why is it Important to Build Safe Networks?
Every individual or entity has reasons for building a safe network. In general, network security is required to create a safe environment for both businesses and customers alike. Network criminals have been around for many years, and cybercrime is still one of the biggest concerns for businesses today.
According to recent reports, cybercrime damage costs are expected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. If this doesn’t shake you, following are some other global statistics that highlight the importance of building a safe network:
- Microsoft and Cisco predict that the number of connected devices could increase to 50 billion by 2020. With the growing volume of data, cybercrime could become a major threat to almost every business in the world.
- The vast majority of cyber attacks target small businesses or SMBs because of the lack of good security measures in place. The outcomes are so drastic that around 60% of them go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.
- 48% of data security breaches are a result of malicious intent. System failure and human error are responsible for the rest.
- Unfortunately, response times to network attacks are long. The average time it takes to identify a criminal or malicious activity was 170 days, according to a global study. Moreover, 68% of funds lost during an attack were declared unrecoverable.
- 59% of employees steal proprietary business data when they leave the job. This kind of security threat is also known as an “insider threat.”
- Unfortunately, network security is not a top priority of many business stakeholders. Although they do take measures to tackle risks, they are not fully aware of the hazards associated with breached network security. Smaller businesses may also lack sufficient resources or talent to create a layered security solution.
How to Build a Safe Network
The importance of secure networks is evident as breached networks can be detrimental to both individuals and businesses alike- but how do you build safe network infrastructure?
Map your network
The first step in building a secure network is knowing what devices or components to include in your business computer landscape. It’s important to map out all the equipment in the infrastructure; otherwise, you won’t be able to trace the root cause of the problem if a failure occurs. By mapping the network, you will also be able to make necessary security improvements quickly wherever required.
Design a fail-safe firewall
When it comes to securing the network, firewalls are the first line of defense. Firewalls act as a filter between your private network and the internet. While on the inbound side, they can be used to prevent access to certain websites or networks, on the outbound side, firewalls can be designed to prevent employees from sending sensitive data through emails or another medium outside the business network. Since there is no limit to the variety of configurations that are possible when designing firewalls, you can always do better than before in improving network security.
Set up a dematerialized zone network
Dematerialized zone or DMZ protects a trusted internal network, such as a private LAN, from an untrusted external network, such as the Internet. It mainly acts as a buffer area that interacts directly with the external networks while logically separating it from the private internal network. By deploying the DMZ between two firewalls, all inbound network packets are screened by a firewall before they reach the organization’s servers hosted in the DMZ. Therefore, if an attacker tries to breach or exploit an organization’s network, it may only result in the compromise of the DMZ network - the core network behind it will remain safe.
Have strong encryption in place
Data encryption is another important aspect of designing network infrastructure and making it reliable. Having strong encryption in place means your organization’s entire sensitive information will be in a secret code that only authorized parties can decrypt. There are several encryption algorithms in the world with RSA, or Rivest-Shamir-Adleman encryption algorithm- RSA is one of the most powerful.
Enable log function
The logging and auditing function helps keep a record of certain network events, especially security events, that are critical to the integrity of the organization. It provides a record of all network connections, which can help identify any hostile activity attempt from within or outside the network. It’s important to review these log files regularly to keep track of all suspicious network activities.
Network security is central to any organization’s success. As such, there is a huge demand for network security professionals as they possess the skills necessary to reinforce network infrastructure and make businesses resistant to breaches.
Laurier’s online Master of Computer Science program offers a robust curriculum that explores the needs of modern IT challenges. The program explores concepts such as designing network infrastructure and improving network security and defense mechanisms to prevent malicious attacks.
Want to know more about how to build a safe network? Check out How can you improve network security and software reliability.