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Combining Network Security and Cybersecurity to Protect Your Data

Cybersecurity and network security are often used interchangeably, but each form of data protection has its own unique strategies. Think of both cybersecurity and network security as individual layers of protection that work together to stop threats. Both are necessary for enterprise businesses storing sensitive information, but they have different strategies and approaches when you implement them.

 

Differences between Network Security and Cybersecurity

The outer layer of the two strategies is cybersecurity, and the central strategy is network security. Network security is more specific where infrastructure is built to protect a corporation’s internal environment including servers, workstations, applications, and data. Cybersecurity is more general and encompasses several strategies and methodologies to protect all aspects of the organization’s infrastructure and productivity.

Let’s look at a real-world example. Most organizations house a database containing customer data, intellectual property, and information about every aspect of business processes. Cybersecurity strategies oversee all aspects of data protection to stop threats from accessing the database’s content. Numerous threats aim to steal data, but a few examples include protection from web-based SQL injection, insider threats (e.g., employees and vendors), vulnerabilities in external and internal applications, unauthorized access, audit trails for investigations, monitoring and logging for suspicious activity, and downtime from failed hardware.

Network security is much more specific. It targets the protection of all internal infrastructure including the software and hardware necessary for productivity. Any network security strategies strive to ensure the availability of data and that only authorized users can maintain access. It keeps data secure from unauthorized insiders, but also continues monitoring for any suspicious activity. Network security strategies target only the internal network rather than focusing on the way a business protects data as a whole.

A few more main differences:

  • Data at rest and in transit: Network security protects the flow of data from any outside threats, but cybersecurity ensures that data at rest is protected from inside and outside threats.
  • Malware: Network security protects the internal network from malware, but cybersecurity protects the entire environment including employees from phishing, social engineering, and web-based threats.
  • Strategies: Network security includes software patch management, server maintenance, password management, and data authorization controls. Cybersecurity involves the protection of the entire environment from malware, ransomware, and phishing, policies overseeing proper procedures and reporting, and awareness training.

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Elements of Network Security

Engineering the proper security tools for an enterprise network is no easy task, but it’s one of the most critical components in data protection. Network security focuses on the hardware and software responsible for data flow, authorization, and monitoring. Included in a good network security plan is data loss protection (DLP), which is a set of rules necessary for minimizing the damage from a data breach or compromise.

A few elements included in network security:

  • Antivirus software installation on workstations and servers.
  • Email security and protection from email-based threats.
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS).
  • Design of the network including logical segmentation for departments.
  • Monitoring of data flow as it moves across workstations and servers.
  • Assignment of usernames and passwords to new employees.
  • Encryption for data-at-rest and in-transit.

 

Best Practices for Network Security

Because network security mostly involves infrastructure to protect internal data, infrastructure should follow a few best practices. You might already know a few of them, but complex networks need more sophisticated plans and designs.

A few items that should be included in your network security design:

  • Firewall: Firewalls stop external traffic from reaching the internal network and separate networks into logical segments.
  • Intrusion Detection System (IDS): An IDS detects any anomalies and alerts administrators of suspicious activity.
  • Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): IPS is similar to an IDS, but it actively stops threats from accessing internal data. Some administrators prefer an IDS without an IPS.
  • Network access controls: Security for endpoints and internal servers to ensure that they follow compliance and allow access to data for only authorized systems.
  • Email filters: Cybersecurity mitigation rules applications that detect and block phishing email messages, spam messages, and messages with malicious attachments.
  • Web content filters: Block users from accessing malicious or inappropriate websites in their browser.
  • Anti-DDoS systems: Any threat that could interrupt services should be mitigated using anti-DDoS infrastructure and applications.

 

Elements of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a much broader term and encompasses numerous components built to protect data, infrastructure, users, and the business in general. Network security infrastructure follows cybersecurity rules for best practices, which are designed based on common threats and the methods attackers use to compromise a system. Most network security strategies focus on the corporate internal network, but cybersecurity focuses on all vulnerabilities affecting internal and external systems important for business continuity. Even though they are separate, both cybersecurity and network security have overlapping strategies. You might find a single component (e.g., antivirus installation) listed in both the cybersecurity and network security sections.

A few elements of cybersecurity include:

  • Data loss prevention plans and defenses including backups and failover strategies to support business continuity.
  • Security of online transactions, especially those that transfer and store financial information for consumers.
  • Incident response plans to mitigate, contain, and eradicate threats after a compromise of corporate systems.
  • Installation of intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems.
  • Antivirus and anti-malware protections for servers and workstations.
  • Systems in place to determine vulnerabilities and the source for any data breaches so that the vulnerability can be remediated.
  • Risk assessment and risk management of threats to identify and mitigate anomalies.
  • Mitigation policies and systems in place to contain threats.
  • User education to help protect from phishing and social engineering.

Best Practices for Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity plan you create depends on your business and your unique infrastructure design. Compliance requirements determine some of the cybersecurity strategies you use, but most good strategies follow some basic best practices.

A few best practices for cybersecurity include:

  • Update software: Developers release updates to remediate vulnerabilities and fix bugs, which can be harmful to your business continuity.
  • Update hardware: Don’t forget to apply any firmware patches to your network hardware.
  • Cybersecurity awareness training: Educating employees on common phishing and social engineering threats stop these threats from taking advantage of human error.
  • Implement a VPN policy: Any users connecting from remote locations, especially public Wi-Fi, should be required to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to safeguard data transfers.
  • Password policies: Complex passwords are more difficult to brute force, so users should be required to create passwords with special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, and at least one number.
  • Two-factor authentication (TFA): Use a TFA that requires users to authenticate with a second step in text messages or push notifications.
  • Data at rest: Any data stored at rest should be encrypted to add a layer of security after a data breach.
  • Back up all data: Data on-premises or in the cloud should always be backed up with a retention plan that stores data for at least two weeks so that it can be used in disaster recovery.
  • Penetration test: A whitehat hacker can review code and scan your systems for any open vulnerabilities and make suggestions to help remediate them.

A web content filter like WebTitan stops users from accessing the website linked in a phishing email.

How WebTitan Can Help with Network Security and Cybersecurity

WebTitan is a content-filtering solution that helps stop users from opening malicious websites in their browsers.  Content filters are an added layer of cybersecurity that protects data and stops human errors. Humans are the weakest link on an internal network, and your organization will often be the target of phishing. Within a phishing email, attackers often include a link to their own domain.

Attackers use several methods to trick users into clicking the link. The domain might have a slight misspelling difficult to detect when a user is in a rush, or the link might point to a site that mimics a legitimate business. Users in a rush might miss the telltale signs of a phishing web page and enter their credentials and other sensitive data.

A web content filter like WebTitan stops users from accessing the website linked in a phishing email. Instead of allowing users to open the site and then relying on an antivirus to stop a malicious download, WebTitan displays a message and blocks the page from loading in the web browser. It’s a proactive way to stop malware and ransomware from installing on the local network.

WebTitan is a DNS-based content filtering solution, so it blocks malicious sites at the DNS level when browsers perform a lookup. It runs in the cloud, and managed service providers can take advantage of its easy installation and ability to manage several clients under the same umbrella.

Instead of relying on a reactive approach to content filtering, cybersecurity, and network security, WebTitan provides a way for administrators to proactively stop human error that results in malware on the network or a data breach from credential theft. It can run in the cloud or on-premises to protect your environment from the many threats available in the wild.

Web content filters are a part in cybersecurity best practices, and advantages also affect network security. If you’d like to find out more about WebTitan, start a free trial.

Susan Morrow

Susan Morrow

  • DNS FILTERING
  • WEB SECURITY
  • DATA PROTECTION
  • NETWORK SECURITY

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