All You Need to Know About Network Security, Firewalls, and VPNs
Are you familiar with network security threats and how to protect your company from them? This article explains the basics of network security, firewalls, and VPNs so that you can make informed decisions about how to keep your networks safe from intrusions.
What Is Network Security?
In the most basic sense, network security protects a computer network from any unauthorized access. This can be done in several ways but most commonly, it is accomplished through firewalls and other security measures.
Network security is important for several reasons:
- First, it helps protect the confidentiality of the information stored on or transmitted over a network.
- Second, it helps ensure data and systems’ integrity by allowing only authorized users to access them.
- Finally, network security can help to prevent denial of service attacks and other types of malicious activity.
There are several different approaches to network security.
- One of the most common is perimeter defense. This approach involves placing firewalls and other security devices at the edge of a network to protect it from external threats.
- Host-based security involves securing individual computers or servers as part of a network. This can be done by using software that controls access to specific files or applications or by physically isolating computers from one another.
- Application-level security protects individual applications from unauthorized users’ access or use. This can be done by using encryption, authentication, and authorization technologies.
No matter what approach is taken, the goal of network security is always the same: to protect data and systems from unauthorized access and ensure network resources’ availability.
What Are the Common Types of Network Security?
There are four common types of network security: firewalls, network segmentation, remote access VPNs, and email security.
- Firewalls are devices that control traffic between networks. They can be hardware- or software-based and are often used to protect an organization’s perimeter from external threats. Firewalls can also be used to segment networks, allowing administrators to control traffic between different parts of the network.
- Network segmentation is the process of dividing a network into smaller segments. This can be done to increase security, improve performance, or isolate different parts of the network. Segmentation can be accomplished using hardware- or software-based solutions.
- Remote access VPNs allow users to connect to a private network remotely. This can be useful for employees accessing the network from outside the office. VPNs use encryption to secure the connection between the user and the private network.
- Email security is a type of security that aims to protect email messages from being intercepted or accessed by unauthorized users. Email security can be achieved through various means, including encryption, authentication, and malware protection.
What Is a Firewall?
A firewall is a network security system that filters and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall can either be software-based or hardware-based.
Firewalls are used to protect networks from unauthorized access and can be used to control traffic between different networks. Firewalls can also be used to segment a network into different security zones.
What Are the Types of Firewalls?
Three main types of firewalls are deployed in today’s enterprise networks: packet-filtering, circuit-level gateway, and application-level gateway (also known as proxy firewalls).
- A packet filtering firewall is the most basic type of firewall. It inspects each incoming and outgoing IP packet and compares it against a set of filters or rules. If the packet meets the criteria specified in a filter, it is allowed through the firewall. If the packet does not meet the criteria, it is blocked. Packet filtering can be used to control access to specific services, such as HTTP or FTP. It can also block specific types of traffic, such as email attachments or file transfers.
- A circuit-level gateway firewall establishes a connection (or “circuit”) between two network nodes and then monitors the traffic passing through that connection. It is dropped if a packet does not meet the established circuit’s security criteria. Circuit-level gateway firewalls are often used in conjunction with packet-filtering firewalls to provide an added layer of security.
- An application-level gateway firewall, also known as a proxy firewall, inspects each incoming and outgoing packet at the application layer of the OSI model. This allows the firewall to understand the specific application protocol (such as HTTP, FTP, or SMTP) and block specific traffic types based on that protocol. Application-level gateway firewalls can provide a higher level of security than packet filtering or circuit-level gateway firewalls, but they can also be more complex to configure and manage (Zahorski, A., 2022).
What Is a VPN?
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a service that allows you to connect to the internet via a secure, private server. This means that your data is encrypted and secure from prying eyes.
A VPN can be used for various purposes, such as accessing geo-blocked content or websites, protecting your online activity from government surveillance or hackers, or simply increasing your online privacy.
Benefits of a VPN
VPNs encrypt your traffic and route it through their servers, making it anonymous and difficult to track. This has several benefits:
- Security: By encrypting your traffic and routing it through a VPN server, you can be sure that your data is safe from prying eyes. A VPN will also hide your IP address, making it difficult for websites to track you.
- Privacy: A VPN will allow you to browse the internet anonymously, without your internet service provider (ISP) or government being able to see what you’re doing. This is particularly useful if you’re concerned about online privacy.
- Freedom: A VPN will allow you to access websites and content that may be blocked in your country. This is useful for bypassing censorship and accessing geo-blocked content like Netflix US.
- Improved performance: You can improve your internet connection speed by routing traffic through a VPN server. This is because your traffic will not have to travel through your ISP’s network, which can often be congested.
Why Choose EC-Council University
Your business is only as secure as your network. In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is more important than ever before. As a cybersecurity professional, you need to have a strong understanding of network controls, firewalls, and other technical aspects of security.
An in-depth knowledge of these topics can be gained through a degree or certification program. EC-Council University’s Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security program includes a dedicated section on network security. This course provides hands-on training you need to build your skills and secure your business.
This course will give you the knowledge and skills you need to secure your business. It comes with industry specializations and certifications like C|ND, C|EH, and C|PENT; students can also earn specialized skills and certifications.
Start your Network Security Career today!
Zahorski, A. (2022, June 29). What Are the 5 Main Types of Firewalls? MUO. https://www.makeuseof.com/types-of-firewalls/
About the Author
Ryan Clancy is a writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he’s passionate about engineering and tech. He also loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level everyone can understand. Ryan lives in New York City and writes about everything engineering and tech.