Network security is essential to safeguarding a company’s networks and preventing unauthorized access or activities. The goal is to protect network data and infrastructure from outside threats. In today’s hyper-connected world, security presents a greater challenge as more business applications move to public clouds. This trend requires applications to be virtualized and distributed across many locations, some of which are outside the physical control of IT Security teams. Effective strategies have evolved beyond simple firewalls and high-level network segmentation to make security intrinsic to every aspect of a network, through multiple lines of defense and solutions that are scalable and automated.
Network security is the set of strategies, processes, and technologies designed to protect a company’s network from unauthorized access and harm. Typical threats to network data and infrastructure include hackers, malware, and viruses—all of which may seek to access, modify, or break a network. A key priority of network security is to control access and prevent these threats from entering and propagating throughout a network.
Multiple lines of defense protect a network at its perimeter as well as within. Security begins with access control: policies and controls that manage access to a network by authorized users, but also by devices and data. A firewall, which can be either hardware or software, is another primary line of defense and separates the network from other untrusted networks, such as the Internet; firewalls monitor and control which traffic can enter or leave the network. Network security also uses intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems that analyze network traffic to identify and respond to threats on the network. An important subset of network security is application security—protecting the web applications and software used by a business, since these applications often have vulnerabilities. A range of other strategies and technologies are used to maintain security across data centers, public clouds, and more.
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