Network security is a broad term that covers a multitude of technologies, devices, and processes. In its simplest term, it is a set of rules and configurations designed to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility of computer networks and data using both software and hardware technologies.
"Every organization, regardless of size, industry, or infrastructure, requires a degree of network security solutions in place to protect it from the ever-growing landscape of cyber threats in the wild today."
Information is a crucial asset for every business and individual. The data can be online, in electronic format or in print. Information security refers to the techniques and processes which are aimed to protect sensitive information and data from unauthorized access, misuse, disclosure, destruction, disruption, or medication.
Cybersecurity is a subset of information security. It refers to the techniques and methodologies to protect the integrity of devices, data, network, devices, programs, etc. Cybersecurity stands for the protection of data on the cyber landscape from been damaged or compromised due to unauthorized access. In other words, cybersecurity stand
Cybersecurity is a subset of information security. It refers to the techniques and methodologies to protect the integrity of devices, data, network, devices, programs, etc. Cybersecurity stands for the protection of data on the cyber landscape from been damaged or compromised due to unauthorized access. In other words, cybersecurity stands for protecting data that is in digital format from digital attacks.
Network security is a subset of cybersecurity. It refers to protecting crucial data on the network. It stands for the protection of networks from various cyberattacks.
Network threat stands for any threat or malicious activity that intends to take advantage of network vulnerability to breach, harm, or sabotage the information in the network. The threats can also intend to take unauthorized access over the network and then spread to other systems and networks connected to the compromised network.
In the wake of a variety of existing frequent network attacks and the threat of new destructive future attacks, network security has gained prominence in the scope of computer networking. Here are the different types of network security attacks..
Network security controls deliver integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the network service. The proper combination of network security controls reduces the risk of network being compromised. The network controls enable organizations to implement strategies of network security. The multiple control layers and the network should be used to minimize the risks of falling victim to attacks and ensures defense-in-depth network security.
is the address system of the internet with the core functioning of delivering information packets. These packets are picked from a source device and delivered to a target device. IP forms the basis of the internet and is a primary key to network connections. Another functionality, called TCP, is required to handle packet ordering.
works with IP on sending packets of data to each other. TCP is used for organizing data to ensure secure transmission between the client and the server. TCP/IP exchanges data over the internet by using the client-server model of communication.
Network protocols that are designed to work on wireless networks include wi-fi, Bluetooth, and LTE. These wireless networks support roaming mobile devices and other electronic devices that are not directly connected with a wire.
A routing protocol can identify other routers, manage the route between source and destination. It defines the route path to carry network messages and dynamic routing decisions. Examples of routing protocols are OSPF, BGP, and EIGRP. They are designed specially to meet the specific purpose of the network routers on the internet.
The firewalls on the network do not just protect the network but they also restrict access to the host systems. To ensure a good security system, the host should be equally secured. Here are a few security guidelines on that every host or device connected to the network should follow –
Types of Firewall
Proxy firewall – A proxy firewall filters out flagged messages at the application layer to protect the resources of a private network.
Stateful Inspection Firewall – A firewall blocking incoming traffic based on state, port, and protocol is known as stateful inspection firewall.
Unified Threat Management (UTM) Firewall – A UTM firewall combines the features of a traditional firewall with various other security aspects.
Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) – Next Generation Firewalls are designed to block modern-day cyber threats, such as advanced malware and application-layer attacks.
Threat-Focused NGFW – Apart from the functions of a traditional NGFW, threat-focused NGFW offers advanced threat detection and remediation.
The intrusion detection system detects irregularities to identify hackers prior to any damage to the network or host. A network-based intrusion detection system is installed on the network and a host-based intrusion detection system is installed on the client host. They work either from known attacks or by identifying deviations from normal activity. These deviations effectively detect intrusion in the domain name system (DNS).
It’s hard to travel far online without running into an article or advertisement for a virtual private network (VPN). One of the big advantages of VPNs is the anonymity provided. Normally, when you connect to the internet from your home or office internet service provider (ISP), your device will be assigned a unique internet protocol (IP) address for managing all incoming and outgoing traffic.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a vital element for online security. It develops the trust that no one is able to find your internet access. For example, if you access your bank account to make any payment, VPN assures security. But as we are seeing, VPNs are not totally secure.
VPNs secure your connection, but they are not completely safe. The cyber attackers can infiltrate a VPN server and can initiate a men-in-the-middle attack
In spite of several reasons to monitor network traffic, the justifiable reason could be the information produced by monitoring the network traffic. The information collected from the network traffic is helpful in various IT operations and security use cases. However, it is to be noted that the tools used to monitor network traffic are not the same. They are broadly classified into two types, viz., deep packet inspection tools and Flow-based tools. In fact, a lot of different trends are gaining popularity like cloud, VOIP, etc. pressurizing IT infrastructure resources. The companies can use network monitoring software to monitor network traffic whenever the stress on the network increases.
Network security is a journey and not a destination. It is a process that strengthens self with various strategies and activities. These can be grouped in three phases – protect, detect and respond. Every phase requires strategies that move the process to the next phase. A change in one phase affects the overall process. Therefore, it requires a proactive approach in the prevention phase to enable the other two processes to be successful.
The three phases of network security mark defense-in-depth strategy. Relying on a single defense strategy is extremely dangerous as the defensive tool can be defeated by a determined adversary. The network is not a straight line, it is a territory. In case if the attacker invades a part of it, with a proper network defense strategy, can be expelled.
In order to implement defense in depth strategy, numerous specialized techniques and types of network security are required. There are different ways to secure a network such as –
Access control - Blocking unauthorized users and devices from connecting with the network. The users’ access should be restricted to the extent authorized.
Anti-malware - Anti-malware identifies viruses, worms, and trojans, and prevents them from infecting the network.
Behavioral Analytics - Observing analytics regularly and understanding variation in its behavior prompts malicious acts.
Application Security - Applications are easy vectors for attackers to get access to their network. Vulnerable apps should be locked by employing hardware, software, and security processes.
Data Loss Prevention - Humans are considered the weakest security link. They should be trained on security policies to learn the significance of the process of sharing sensitive data.
Network Segmentation - Software-based segmentation is crucial to enforce security policies easily.
Firewalls - Firewalls act as a barrier between the network trusted zone and everything beyond it. They are a must-have.
Email Security - Phishing allows intruders to gain access to the network. Email security blocks phishing emails and outbound messages carrying sensitive data.
Mobile and Wireless Security - Wireless devices are potential vectors to the networks and therefore require extra scrutiny.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention - These systems scan and verify network traffic and respond to attacks.
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) - SIEM pulls information from various network tools that help in identifying and responding to threats from the data collected.
VPN - A virtual private network authenticates the communication between a device and a secure network. It creates secure passage across the open network.
Network Security and the Cloud
Many businesses are transferring from an internal network to a bigger and secured platform, the Cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a self-contained network, which is either physical or virtual. Physical infrastructure refers to many cloud servers working together, and virtual stands for many clouds’ instances of networking with each other on a single physical server.
The cloud vendors build security control policies on their individual platforms to ensure security. Even then, the challenge is the mismatch of security policies with internal enterprise policies and procedures. This adds workload to your network security team. The network security professionals apply various tools and techniques to reduce the security concern. But there is still a lot of flux and inconvenience in bringing harmony between the two servers – internal and external cloud server. A certified network defender brings the required skills of defending the network from various latest complexities.
With a massive upgrade in technology, a network is no longer restricted to systems or servers. It is beyond that, and also includes various devices that directly or indirectly connected with the network. When your systems are connected to a heap of digital devices that may or may not be secured, then the threats and risks won’t remain restricted to the device but can impact the entire network. If any device connected to the network falls victim to a threat, then in just a matter of time, the attacker spread across many other devices on the network in what is called cross-pollination. A network administrator, typically, is only skilled at the identification of an immediate threat. The organization also needs expertise that should be skilled equally to network administrators as well as have the competence to deal with security problems over the network. The network security officer (NSO) is a title that comes with a broader prospect of dealing with network security and administration.
How to build a world-class Network Defense Team?
Creating a skilled workforce of Network Defenders is a major challenge for an organization. Everyone seeks to have qualified professionals in their team, whereas, finding them with the right skill set is a tricky situation. The best way is to hire certified professionals if their program is aligned with the job role.
There are many network security courses available with different modalities; however, while shortlisting a certification, one should consider the following three important points:
1. Course Content
Course content is most important because the objective of the certification is to upskill yourself to perform your job better. Below are a few topics that are must for any network security training –
The certification should also have some accreditations/ recognitions from a certification or training body like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and NICE Framework.
3. Learning Modality
Based on your feasibility, the certification should be online with an option of self-paced learning with no obligations. Moreover, due to their present job responsibilities and timings, many professionals prefer network security online courses. Live online instructor-led training is also a good option for those who cannot commute to a training center. Attending network security classes in the presence of an instructor and other peers creates an environment of learning. It allows you to network with professionals from different industries, having varied experience and knowledge. Thus, online learning gives you the privilege of attaining higher certifications so that you can continue growing in your career.
“If your IT crew is not into security, you just won’t have security”
Certified Network Defender (CND) focuses on developing the skills of network defense among the Network Administrators. It is a skill-based, lab-intensive network security program based on a job task analysis. The program will give a fundamental understanding of the application of network security controls, perimeter appliances, protocols, VPN, secure IDS, and firewall configuration. The learning is extended to the intricacies of network traffic signature, analysis and vulnerability scanning, and more. All these skills foster resiliency and continuity of operations during attacks.
Why Certified Network Defender?
The Certified Network Defender (C|ND) is a credentialing program offered by EC-Council for network administrators to equip themselves with security skills by protecting, defending, and responding to threats on the network.
Employment Scalability - “Global Network Security Market is estimated to grow at a substantial CAGR of 4.74% during the period 2017-2022” – PRNewswire. With the growth of the market comes the growth of employment opportunities.
Mapped to NICE Framework - CND is directly mapped to the NICE 2.0 Framework’s Protect and Defend specialty area, and this ensures that the program is also conversant with a wide array of job roles.
Accredited by ANSI - CND is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private non-profit certification body that verifies certification programs and regulates them based on international standards.
Comprehensive Learning - CND is the most comprehensive of a network defense course, which encompasses 14 latest network security domains, that any aspiring network defender would want to learn.
Exam Based on Real Challenges - EC-Council maintains a high level of integrity while assessing the candidate’s performance via online examination and, therefore, drafts the questionnaire in the most unpredictable way with real-time situations.
Intensive Lab - EC-Council labs are online and assisted by lab trainers who are present to guide you with proper feedback. Beyond this, you can also use our exclusive iLabs service, which is a virtual platform that will help the candidate gain experience with real-time challenges
A network administrator, typically, is only skilled at the identification of an immediate threat. The organization also needs expertise that should be skilled equally to network administrators as well as have the competence to deal with security problems over the network. The network security defender is a title that comes with a broader prospect of dealing with network security and administration.
The course duration of the C|ND program is 5 days, which will be followed by an intensive exam of 4 hours. Being a network administrator itself qualifies you to appear for the exam, which is online and proctored. The entire rating is accumulated as a “cut score” for each exam form, which is set on a “pre-exam format” to ensure their equal assessment standards. Depending upon the type of exam challenge, the cut score may range from 60% to 85%. If you’re a network administrator or a cybersecurity enthusiast and if this inspires you, then visit our product page to learn more about the program.
C|ND is a network security program that focuses on protect, detect, and respond approach to security. The other networking program teaches you network/ networking fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, automation, and programmability.
This depends on where you are at in your career. If you are a working professional, then certification training is a better option because of its short duration. If you are a student or have time to opt for a dedicated program with a duration of a year or more, then you can consider a degree in cybersecurity specializing in network security.
Since you are looking for online courses for network security, C|ND is a good option for you as it has online self-paced and online live instructor-led training options with live proctored exams.
In a networking program, we learn about network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, automation, and programmability. The next level is to learn how to secure or defend the network from attacks and threats at with protect, detect, and respond approach.
The certification you hold is the best way employer can know your skillset and the alignment with the job role. For example, if you are applying for networking or a network security job, the employer would be keen on knowing if you have network certification, knowledge of network + certification or knowledge of network security + certification.