Network Security

What is network security?

Network security is a process of using hardware, software, and as-a-service (aaS) solutions to protect edge-to-cloud network infrastructure against cyberattacks, data loss, and misuse.

  • Why do businesses need network security?
  • How does network security work?
  • What are the components of network security?
  • What are the benefits of network security?
  • HPE and network security
Why do businesses need network security?

Why do businesses need network security?

Businesses need network security to protect their most important asset—their data. Without effective network security in place, businesses are at increased risk of attacks and hacks.

According to Statista, 328.77 million terabytes of data points are created each day and internet users spend six hours and forty minutes online daily, all facilitated by the network. Protecting network data and connection are of immense importance—a security beach can result in losses over billions of dollars. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, reveals, “The global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was USD $4.45 million, a 15% increase over 3 years.”

Network security helps minimize the threat of cybersecurity attacks by proactively monitoring and enforcing edge-to-cloud security policies and enhancing network performance by streamlining digital traffic.

How does network security work?

How does network security work?

Different hardware and software solutions are deployed on user devices, servers, data centers, and in the cloud to secure the network. These solutions enable security teams to provide proper network authorization and block potential threats by implementing and enforcing security policies. Ideally, these products are configured in-line with broader business security policies and work with each other to achieve strong network security. 

What are the components of network security?

What are the components of network security?

Network security includes physical, virtual, agent-based, and agentless solutions such as:

  • Device profiling and visibility: Agent-based and agentless solutions providing visibility into type and behavior of edge devices connecting to the network. These visibility insights act as the first step in securing the network and help security teams in device discovery, device profiling, and custom fingerprinting.
  • Authentication: Agent-based and agentless solutions providing role-based authentication for edge devices trying to connect to the network. A NAC (network access control) solution authenticates user or device identity against a wide variety of identity sources, to support robust network security.
  • Role-based access security or authorization: Enforcing least privilege access to the edge devices and providing authorization to access only relevant part of the network by segmenting traffic based on identity or role and associated access permissions.
  • Conditional monitoring: Continuous monitoring requires solutions that provide real-time threat telemetry by constantly monitoring edge devices. Different products work individually and together to track edge-device behaviour and flag any potentially malicious activity to network access control (NAC) systems for further action. Continuous monitoring solutions include:
    • Unified threat management/IDS/IPS: Intrusion detection provides threat intelligence on malicious activities including command and control, ransomware, phishing, malware, spyware, trojans, and exploit kits. Intrusion prevention detects malicious activities and performs actions like blocking the traffic to protect against malicious activity.
    • Web content classification, IP reputation and geolocation filtering: Content filtering blocks specific websites that are potentially harmful. Web content filtering helps identify websites that propagate malware, spam, spyware and phishing attacks, as well as websites with sensitive content such as adult or gambling content. IP Reputation services provide a real-time feed of known malicious IP addresses in 10 categories so IT security administrators can easily identify threats by type. Geolocation filtering services associate source/destination IP addresses with location. It allows organizations to apply policies to permit or drop inbound or outbound communications with countries of concern.
    • SIEM or interoperable products: SIEMs help security teams detect, analyze, and respond to security threats.
    • Secure SD-WAN: SD-WAN solutions are used to efficiently connect users and applications. A secure SD-WAN solution has built-in security capabilities and works with other elements within the security ecosystem to enforce strong network and application security from edge-to-cloud. 
  • Enforcement and Response: When malicious activity is suspected of or observed participating in an attack, the NAC (network access control) solution can take either guided or automated attack response to preserve network security. Security teams also deploy different types of firewalls for robust network security enforcement.
    • Firewall: A network firewall is hardware or software that restricts and permits the flow of traffic between networks. Network firewalls help prevent cyberattacks by enforcing policies that block unauthorized traffic from accessing a secure network.
    • Next gen firewall: Next generation firewalls add advanced capabilities like application-level packet inspection and intrusion prevention to traditional packet-filtering network firewall capabilities. 

In today’s world workers access corporate networks from home, cafés, airports, etc. They also consume a lot of SaaS apps that are not hosted in corporate data centers or private clouds. Besides securing the network, security teams need a robust Security Service Edge (SSE) solution to reduce potential attack surface and improve application security for SaaS and web services.

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What are the benefits of network security?

What are the benefits of network security?

The key benefit of strong network security is deterring cyberattacks. Any business without sufficient network security is seen as an easy target by cyber attackers. Some other critical benefits to network security include:

  • Minimizing network disruptions: Businesses lose an average of $1.30 million due to network disruption, according to the Cost of a Data Breach 2023 Report by Ponemon Institute. A strong network security solution minimizes this loss by continuously detecting and neutralizing malware, denial of service, and other cyberattacks.
  • Minimizing data breaches: Strong network security protects sensitive and business-critical data from hackers by authenticating all the devices connecting to a network, authorizing proper access based on role and identity, continuously monitoring the devices, and enforcing automated action when malicious activities are detected.
  • Enhancing network performance: Robust network security optimizes network performance by segmenting traffic flow through the network, enabling proper bandwidth allocation between critical and common applications, and among employees and guests.
  • Building trust: Ensuring that devices connecting to the network have updated posture checks and meet business security policies can support compliance with data privacy and cyber security regulations. Furthermore, the customers of a business with strong network security may feel more comfortable sharing their confidential information since strong network security can protect against many kinds of cyberattacks that can result in data loss and compromises.
HPE and network security

HPE and network security

HPE Aruba Networking security-first, AI-powered networking offers improved security, performance, and control. Now organizations have a common foundation for networking and security operations to achieve shared universal visibility, global policy management, end-to-end enforcement, and AI-powered automation—connecting and protecting all users, devices, apps, and data across the entire infrastructure.

HPE Aruba Networking Central NetConductor provides an end-to-end, cloud-native network automation and orchestration solution that automatically configures LAN, WLAN, and WAN infrastructure across branch, campus, and data center to deliver optimal network performance while defining and enforcing granular security policies that are the foundation of Zero Trust and SASE architectures. Central NetConductor comprises: Client Insights to deliver AI-powered device visibility and profiling; Cloud Auth to deliver cloud-based authentication; Policy Manager and CX Switches and Gateways for cloud-based NAC and in-line policies distribution, monitoring and enforcement.

HPE Aruba Networking also offers enterprise grade network access control with ClearPass. ClearPass Policy Manager (CPPM) offers profiling for device visibility, support a wide range of authentication and authorization protocols, integrates with Policy Enforcement Firewall for dynamic segmentation, is compatible with a large ecosystem of 3rd-party vendors for conditional monitoring, and provides real-time security enforcement and response based on enterprise security protocols.

The HPE Aruba Networking EdgeConnect SD-Branch solution is equipped with IPS, IDS, Web content classification, IP reputation and geolocation filtering functionalities.

HPE complements its strong network security solutions with HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen10 servers and HPE Pensando SmartNIC, that allows organizations to experience hardware-based networking and security acceleration. Incorporating hardware telemetry, firewalling, encryption, and micro-segmentation, this offering simplifies data encryption through API.

HPE Aruba Networking SSE

Enable seamless and secure access for every user, device, and application from anywhere with SSE.

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