July 30th, 2019 7:35 am

The importance of network access control

importance of network access control

It’s almost impossible to imagine a business that does NOT have an IT network these days. In fact, I can’t think of a single one. Computer networks, and the amazing software tools they enable, make doing business significantly more efficient than it was when I entered the workforce. The ability to gather, analyze, organize, and disseminate information quickly has much to do with so many new entrepreneurs’ ability to launch a business.

With all of the efficiency can opportunity, though, it’s important to consider the importance of network access control. I know that’s not the most exciting topic when it comes to the vast opportunities available to businesses. But without it, the network and the entire business is at risk.

What are access controls for network security?

Network access control is yet another security tool. In this case, it allows a private organizational network to restrict the availability of network resources to endpoint devices that comply with the organization’s security policy. In English, that means it helps keep malicious outsiders off your network.

A typical network access control scheme has two major components: Restricted Access and Network Boundary Protection.

Restricted Access to the network devices is focused on user authentication and authorization control that is responsible for identifying and authenticating users (see What computer security access controls do I need? for more information on that topic).

Network Boundary Protection is also called perimeter defense. It’s the tools and techniques used to manage, control and protect the information stored, processed, and transmitted within and between network boundaries. Firewalls provide network boundary protection by separating an internal network from the public Internet and can function at different layers of network protocol. IDS/IPS allows you to monitor anomalies in network traffic and detect an attack so you can take preventive action before the damage is done. Network boundary protection also includes tools such as controlled interfaces, intrusion detection, and anti-virus tools.

Why computer network security is important

Unfortunately, for every advance in security there are more hackers, malicious insiders, or even employees who make human mistakes threatening the network. The more exciting new tools and network technologies there are, the more constant monitoring and perimeter security matter. It’s simply too easy for something to happen and have all of the sensitive data your business holds other there in the world. This is especially true for companies that are taking advantage of the cloud. The cloud is a game changer for businesses of every size. But it can also be an all-access badge for bad actors.

Network security deals with thwarting those threats and providing the protection of the usability, reliability, integrity, and safety of a business computer networking infrastructure. Here are some of the things to think about when you’re choosing your computer network security system and procedures.

  • Protect Your Business Assets — Assets in the case of network security is the information stored in the computer networks. Information is as crucial and valuable as any other tangible assets of the company, especially sensitive data (from employee social security numbers to confidential client records). Adopting network security systems reduces the risk to your company by reducing the impact of security breaches, including legal action that can bankrupt small businesses.
  • Comply with regulatory requirements − Network security help businesses comply with government and industry-specific regulations about information security, such as HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), The Sarbanes Oxley Act, Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), just to name a few.
  • Ensure secure collaborative working environments − Most business communicate online in some capacity. Network security boosts client and consumer confidence that their sensitive information is protected.

I believe that nothing had a bigger impact on businesses than computer networking. And as long as you are aware of the security threats and have the systems in place to manage them, computer networks will continue to be a tremendous asset to your business.

If you would like help assessing your current network security and whether it is meeting your real security needs, book a call with our experts.

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