Network Security: Bringing Management Up To Speed

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We are all fairly aware that the digital revolution requires network security. Unfortunately, the average corporate manager who has to make key financial decisions about how much money to allocate toward network security only has a fuzzy idea about it. SMBs—small and medium-sized businesses—usually do not have the same IT resources as a large company. Managers working in these companies often don’t realize that their network security may be completely inadequate when it comes to protecting their business from unpredictable threats coming from the Internet.

Although a manager may have been informed by the company’s IT team about the incessant war against spyware, malware, viruses, and other malicious bots, a clear explanation about network security would make everyone’s job easier. When management and IT are on the same page, it makes it easier for everyone. Managers know why they are spending money on improving network safety standards and the IT crew gets their basic needs fulfilled without excuses about budget constraints and anticipated lower revenues in the current financial quarter.

What Do Managers Want To Know?

So what do managers want to know about network security but are too afraid to ask?

They want to know basic things about network security:

  • What it is, exactly.
  • How it protects the network.
  • How it works
  • The business benefits of enhanced network security

What Exactly Is Network Security?

Network security is any activity that will protect a network. Specifically, it will ensure the integrity, reliability, and usability of the network and data. Network security targets assorted threats entering the network and spreading through it.

How Does Network Security Protect The Network?

An unprotected or insufficiently protected network is exposed to the following common threats from the Internet:

  • Viruses
  • Trojan horses
  • Worms
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Zero hour attacks
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Identity theft
  • Data interception
  • Date theft

How Does Network Security Work?

Network security is built on combating multiple threats as opposed to providing a single solution to counter and nullify all threats. Consequently, it is built on more than one layer of security. This is not redundancy because if one layer of security is breached, another will provide the necessary protection.

As viruses mutate and evolve, so too must software definitions be updated. A network security system may consist of the following components:

  • Anti-virus (to protect against viruses)
  • Anti-spyware (to protect against spy bots)
  • Firewall (to block unauthorized users)
  • IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems to find threats like zero hour attacks, which move very fast)
  • VPNs (Virtual Private Networks to allow for secure remote access).

The Business Benefits of Enhanced Security

Finally, managers want to know the return on their investment. What benefits accrue from protecting a network against an assortment of threats that swarm in from the Internet?

Here are 7 key benefits:

  1. Business will not be disrupted.
  2. Employees will remain productive.
  3. Mandatory regulatory compliance is ensured.
  4. Personnel’s sensitive personal data is protected (e.g. social security numbers in the HR computer).
  5. Customer’s sensitive personal data is protected (e.g. their shipping address and credit card information kept on file).
  6. Reduced liability if legal action is taken against the company in the event of an incidence of data theft.
  7. The company’s assets are protected, including its most valuable one—the trust of its employees and customers.

Conclusion

Technology has become so complex only people who manage to keep up with its accelerated rate of evolution are those who have made it their profession. What’s more, IT has its own language that is Greek to someone only adept in non-technical areas of business. This knowledge gap between management and IT causes unnecessary conflict. Fortunately, when managers understand what network security is all about, they become supportive and appreciative of all the efforts made by IT to protect the integrity of the company’s network.