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Understanding Common Network Security Types

Understanding the Most Common Network Security Types: A Guide for Businesses Building a robust network security strategy is critical for businesses today. This comprehensive guide […]

Understanding the Most Common Network Security Types: A Guide for Businesses

Building a robust network security strategy is critical for businesses today. This comprehensive guide examines the 8 most prevalent network security types to help you safeguard your systems.

Understanding Common Network Security Types

Understanding Common Network Security Types

With cyber threats continuously evolving, utilizing various network security protocols is a must for organizations to protect their data and assets. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime damages could cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Staying on top of the latest security best practices is key for building resilience.

This guide covers the most common network security types that businesses should implement as part of a layered defense. While no single solution can fully protect against all threats, combining multiple security protocols provides overlapping safeguards that greatly reduce your attack surface. Think of your network security strategy like a slice of Swiss cheese - each layer has flaws but together they form a solid barrier.

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Encryption: Securing Data in Transit and at Rest

Encryption encodes data into unreadable ciphertext, preventing unauthorized access. It protects sensitive information both when stored “at rest” on devices and servers, and when transmitted “in transit” across networks.

Common encryption types include:

  • AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) - a symmetric encryption algorithm that uses keys of 128, 192, or 256 bits. AES is fast, secure, and widely adopted.
  • RSA - an asymmetric public key algorithm, often used to establish secure connections and exchange session keys. Vulnerable if keys are short.
  • Triple DES - applies DES cipher three times per block. Very slow but highly secure when used properly.

Per the Ponemon Institute, 45% of companies have suffered an encryption-related data breach, demonstrating the importance of proper encryption implementation. Flaws like using deprecated protocols, weak keys, and poor key management compromise encryption's effectiveness.

Best Practices for Encryption

  • Use strong, modern encryption protocols like AES-256 for maximum security. Legacy standards like DES and RC4 are insecure.
  • Encrypt data both in transit and at rest. Data should remain encrypted through its entire lifecycle.
  • Frequently rotate encryption keys to limit the damage if compromised.
  • Carefully manage keys and access control policies through a central platform. Avoid hardcoding keys.
  • Implement robust endpoint encryption for devices and removable media.
  • Train staff on secure encryption practices to avoid human errors.
  • Regularly audit encryption's implementation for gaps and misconfigurations.

Firewalls: Allowing and Blocking Network Traffic

Firewalls control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predefined rules. They act as a barrier between your trusted internal network and untrusted external entities.

Well-configured firewalls block malicious access attempts, data exfiltration, DDoS attacks, and more. Main types of firewalls include:

  • Packet filtering firewalls - inspect packets against ACLs (access control lists) to permit or deny traffic. Fast and simple to configure but can be bypassed.
  • Stateful inspection firewalls - monitor connections and only allow return traffic associated with outbound requests. Provides better protection than packet filtering.
  • Proxy firewalls (aka application firewalls) - act as an intermediary for connections. Offers deep inspection but can impact performance.
  • Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) - integrate advanced functions like intrusion prevention, application control, and VPN capabilities.

Key Benefits of Firewalls

  • Restrict external access to private networks, isolating them from the public internet.
  • Prevent intrusions and data breaches by blocking known malicious IP addresses, ports, protocols, etc.
  • Filter out various types of dangerous traffic via deep packet inspection.
  • Facilitate regulatory compliance by enforcing security policies on network traffic.
  • Provide robust monitoring and reporting on network activity.
  • Deliver high availability through features like failover and load balancing.

Proper firewall configuration is imperative - incorrectly applied rules can disrupt business operations. Keep policies updated to accommodate new applications and devices added to your network.

Antivirus Software: Catching and Removing Malware

Antivirus software detects, quarantines, and eliminates viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other malicious code. It leverages signature-based detection, heuristic analysis, whitelisting, machine learning, and other techniques to identify threats.

Per AV-TEST, over 350,000 new malware samples emerge daily. Hence regular antivirus scans and signature database updates are crucial. However, modern adversaries use tactics like fileless malware, obfuscation, and social engineering to bypass traditional antivirus defenses.

Tips for Success with Antivirus

  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus signatures and engines. Cloud-based systems simplify this process.
  • Schedule regular full system scans along with continuous real-time monitoring.
  • Combine antivirus with EDR (endpoint detection and response), sandboxing, and other tools for layered protection.
  • Provide ongoing user education on malware risks. Train staff to identify social engineering schemes.
  • Test detection capabilities against the latest threats through services like VirusTotal.
  • Ensure antivirus is evenly deployed across networks, servers, endpoints, email, web, etc.
  • Respond swiftly to containment alerts and scan results. Quarantine or remove detected malware.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Monitoring for Anomalies

IDS solutions analyze network activity and system logs to spot unauthorized access attempts, policy violations, and other anomalous behavior. They issue alerts when potentially harmful activity is discovered.

IDS can be:

  • Network-based, monitoring traffic across network segments and devices.
  • Host-based, focusing on events within a single server or endpoint.

Main IDS types include:

  • Signature-based detection - identify known attack patterns.
  • Anomaly-based detection - analyze baseline behavior to flag outliers.
  • Protocol analysis - check for protocol misuse or abuse.

Why IDS Matters

  • Enable early detection of attacks and breaches by malicious actors already within your infrastructure.
  • Gain visibility into network traffic patterns and system activity to accelerate response.
  • Strengthen overall security posture when used alongside firewalls, antivirus, encryption, etc.
  • Meet compliance requirements for threat monitoring and reporting.

However, IDS systems generate many alerts - including false positives - that SOC teams must triage and investigate. Fine-tuning rules and thresholds is important to avoid alert fatigue.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN): Encrypting Remote Access

VPNs allow remote workers to securely access company networks and resources over the public internet. They establish encrypted tunnels to protect data in transit between remote devices and corporate servers.

Per Statista, 26% of internet users worldwide leverage VPNs for enhanced security. VPNs also enable communication between multi-site organizations via site-to-site connections.

Key VPN Benefits

  • Encrypt sensitive data in transit over untrusted networks to prevent eavesdropping.
  • Prevent man-in-the-middle attacks by adversaries on public Wi-Fi.
  • Bypass geographic restrictions and censorship.
  • Reduce the attack surface for remote users compared to full network access.
  • Facilitate access to internal resources for telecommuters and traveling staff.
  • Extend on-premises networks to the cloud in a secure manner.

However, VPNs also concentrate risk - if compromised, the attacker has access to the internal network. Proper configuration is vital, and two-factor authentication should be required for VPN login.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Adding an Extra Authentication Layer

MFA requires users to provide two or more credentials to log into systems, such as:

  • Passwords
  • One-time codes via SMS, authenticator apps, hardware tokens, etc.
  • Biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition

It significantly reduces account takeover and fraudulent access risks. With just standalone passwords or security questions, attackers can easily impersonate legitimate users.

Why Add MFA

  • Prevents brute force and credential stuffing attacks by requiring an additional factor.
  • Reduces impact of password leaks/theft since credentials alone are insufficient.
  • Helps comply with data security regulations and industry standards.
  • Blocks unauthorized account access and lateral movement if credentials are compromised.
  • Discourages sharing of login credentials between employees.

Usability and user adoption challenges should be considered when rolling out MFA. Striking the right balance between security and convenience is key.

Web Security: Hardening Your Online Presence

Web security encompasses measures like:

  • SSL/TLS certificates to enable HTTPS encryption.
  • Secure coding practices like input validation and sanitization.
  • DDoS and WAF (web application firewall) protections.

These solutions protect websites and web apps from exploits, data theft, downtime, reputational damage, and compliance violations.

Critical Web Security Tips

  • Install an SSL certificate to enable HTTPS across all site pages and traffic. Redirect HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Perform vulnerability scans, penetration testing, and code audits to find flaws.
  • Implement strong access controls and regularly review permissions.
  • Monitor traffic patterns to detect anomalies indicative of an attack.
  • Establish an incident response plan for web security events like defacements and data breaches.
  • Enforce password complexity rules and limit login attempts to prevent credential stuffing.
  • Isolate public-facing systems from other parts of your network via DMZs and firewalls.

Email Security: Blocking Malware and Phishing

Email security aims to filter malicious emails like phishing attempts and malware-rigged attachments before they reach end users' inboxes. Key tactics include:

  • Spam filters to analyze content, URLs, attachments, etc. and block high-risk messages.
  • DKIM and DMARC email authentication to validate legitimate messages.
  • Sandboxing and detonation chambers to safely test suspicious content.
  • Encryption to protect messages containing sensitive data.
  • User security awareness training to recognize phishing lures.

With 91% of cyberattacks initiated via email, locking down your inboxes is non-negotiable.

Core Email Security Best Practices

  • Enable DMARC and SPF for domain authentication to block spoofing and impersonation.
  • Check reported phishing emails against blacklists on services like PhishTank.
  • Warn users to be extremely wary of unsolicited attachments and links.
  • Use greylisting to temporarily reject suspicious messages and thwart spamming.
  • Deploy an email security gateway offering robust threat detection and response capabilities.
  • Back up email regularly in case recovery is needed after an attack.
  • Limit third-party email forwarding to prevent data exfiltration.


In summary, a layered network security strategy incorporating the above protocols is vital to surviving today's threat landscape. No single tool can catch every attack - defense in depth is key. Prioritize solutions that provide visibility, stop threats at multiple stages, and facilitate rapid response and recovery when incidents occur.

LK Technologies has two decades of experience designing and implementing robust security solutions for Cincinnati organizations. Contact LK Tech for a complimentary consultation, and let's craft a customized defense tailored to your unique infrastructure and risk profile. With vigilant security monitoring and response, you can ensure your data, devices, and systems remain safeguarded.


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