Networking forms the backbone of business operations today, supporting everything from basic communication to complex data management tasks. This has been the case for many years since businesses started becoming more digital, but recently, we have especially seen the need for robust networks.
As of August 2023, 37% of employed people regularly worked from home, an increase from the 20-30% range between 1989 and 2008. As such, networks are more than connected systems; they are essential tools driving key business functions such as cloud computing, remote work, online transactions, and data storage and analysis.
However, this heavy reliance on networks has emphasised the need for network security. If left unprotected, your network can become a vulnerability that threat actors exploit to cause disruption and steal customer data or your intellectual property.
Breaking down network security
Network security protects business networks and their data from cyber threats. It combines hardware and software solutions, such as routers, firewalls, antivirus programs and encryption tools, which defend against malware and secure data. Additionally, it might include policies that govern network usage. These elements work together to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility of networked systems and data.
Network security protects sensitive information and ensures business continuity. It guards against data breaches, which can lead to financial loss, legal issues, and reputational damage. It is integral to maintaining operational resilience and ensuring uninterrupted service and functionality to users and customers, even amidst security challenges.
Network security is necessary regardless of business size, whether you are a smaller business using local networks or a large enterprise operating on expansive cloud environments.
What threat types does network security protect against?
Network security protects businesses from a few key threats:
- Trojans and ransomware: Trojans masquerade as legitimate software to infiltrate systems, leading to data theft, operational disruptions, or creating backdoors for further malicious activities. Ransomware, a specific type of Trojan, encrypts a victim’s data, and then a threat actor demands payment for its release.
- Worms: These self-replicating malware spread across networks by exploiting vulnerabilities, consuming bandwidth, and overloading servers. They operate independently by causing harm without relying on host software.
- Spyware: This type of malware covertly gathers sensitive information from a system without the user’s knowledge, leading to privacy breaches and potential identity theft.
- Adware: While less harmful than other forms, adware automatically delivers unwanted advertisements that entice viewers to click on them. It can be intrusive and may lead to more severe malware infections.
Network security addresses these threats using various tactics. Anti-virus and anti-malware software detect and remove malicious programs like worms, Trojans, spyware, and adware. Firewalls prevent unauthorised access, and intrusion detection and prevention systems monitor for suspicious activity.
Continuous monitoring and threat intelligence also support network security. This involves regularly updating security protocols, patching vulnerabilities, and staying informed about emerging cyber threats.
What are the benefits of adopting network security?
While keeping malware out of your systems is a good reason to adopt network security, there are a few more convincing reasons:
Preventing data leaks and breaches of customer information
You cannot overlook network security when customer data breaches can turn into incidents that damage your company’s reputation and integrity. Network security prevents customer data leaks and breaches. Controls like encryption and access restrictions protect sensitive data from unauthorised access and can prevent threat actors from deploying malware to steal data.
Protecting operations from the consequences of a breach
Network security protects your business from operational disruptions caused by a breach. Your business relies heavily on your network to maintain operations; any security issues can impact performance. A well-implemented network security strategy can prevent operational downtime and loss of productivity.
Protecting your company’s intellectual property
Network security is not just about protecting customer data but also your company’s intellectual property (IP). For example, network security prevents spyware from infiltrating your systems, which threat actors might use to uncover confidential information. Effective security measures prevent unauthorised access to IP and creative content.
Avoiding the costs of a data breach
Cyber attacks cost medium businesses $97,200 and large businesses $71,600 in Australia last financial year, an increase of 14% from the previous year. Network security can reduce the financial impact of data breaches by preventing them from occurring and reducing the costs associated with recovering from an attack. Costs related to legal fees, fines, and remediation efforts can be substantial, not to mention the potential loss of business and damage to the brand. Investing in network security is a proactive step in mitigating these financial risks.
Network security is essential for modern businesses regardless of your company’s size. It supports modern enterprises by protecting against threats such as worms, Trojans, ransomware, adware and spyware. When you prevent these attacks from impacting your network, you prevent data leaks of customer data and IP, protect your operations and minimise the costs associated with a cyber attack.
Wyntec can secure your network using Cato Networks
We have partnered with Cato Networks to deliver improved network security and performance with SASE and SD-WAN. Together, we aim to elevate network security for mid to enterprise-level clients, particularly in key sectors like Financial Services, Mining and Construction, and Retail. You can find more information on our Cato Network Security page.