The digital world is firmly upon us, and no business is without a computer network of some kind. For sales, accounting, purchasing and inventory – let alone the vital area of human resources – computers are essential, and network security is of paramount importance. Even personal computer users store a great deal of sensitive data online – often without knowing so – and the press is full of tales of hacking and identity theft. Having effective network security software is of the highest priority, as even the biggest companies in the world have become susceptible to attack.
With mobile and cloud computing becoming ever more prevalent so the threat of attack is greater; public networks are particularly open to invasion. For companies, the Denial of Service (DoS) attack is among the most troublesome. Unscrupulous persons set up sophisticated bots that flood the network with massive amounts of data in order to disrupt – or even prevent – the smooth operation of the network. Effective network security services will help prevent this problem, and allow the user to stop the event in real time.
One mistake that security operatives often make is to discount the threat of security breaches from within the company perimeter; this is a surprisingly common problem, and occurs when persons not authorised manage to gain access to information – deliberately or otherwise – that they are not permitted to see. Sensitive information may include contracts, personnel details, pricing and budgets – all of which can be of value to persons interested in harvesting information for malicious reasons.
Spam is another problem that can cause a network to become congested, especially when it is outgoing. A good SMB (server message block) network security system will help prevent spam from contaminating the system, and will monitor usage across the board. The above are just a few of the major threats to network security that are present in all areas of computer network use, and there are many more to consider.
We mentioned cloud computing, and the problems it brings; mobile usage of handsets and tablets is a fast growing phenomenon – and a very welcome one – but it does present a number of new threats to networks. Not least of these is the downloading of illegal content. This applies to both personal users and those in commerce, as it is not unusual for users to utilise company hardware for downloads in their free time. The problem with this is not limited to the fact it is illegal; it can also be problematic for the system as illegal downloads are prone to malware and viruses.
A good network security system will overcome this by preventing access to illegal content thanks to the use of effective blacklists. Such systems can also detect anomalies in traffic, which can be an indication of incoming threats or outgoing spam. Being able to keep an eye on the usage of a system in real time – and all the time – is vital to preventing attack, and to keeping the system up and running at maximum efficiency all the time.
Network security systems need to be considered very carefully in order to be efficient and effective, but should also be a major consideration in network budgeting. By preventing attacks from those with malicious intent you are ensuring the smooth operation of one of the most essential tools in your business.
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