Network Security: Everything You Need to Know

There are several types of computer networks, and a computer network can be private or public. Everything ranging from communication to carrying out transactions is made possible with networking. Network security pertains to the practice of securing computer networks against unauthorized access.

The process of securing a network starts with assigning it a name and a password. Continuous testing is performed on computer networks to ensure that they stay safe from malware, unauthorized access, and other potentially dangerous activities.

Network security is maintained by a network administrator with or without a team. The network admin has the highest authority to network access, and thus, manage who can access the computer network and to what extent. Usually, users with access to computer networks are assigned IDs and passwords.

What is Network Security?

Network security is the extensive process of securing computer networks. It includes many practices and processes to detect, monitor, and prevent unauthorized access, misuse, and modification of a computer network and its resources.

In other words, it is a collection of tools, techniques, and technologies for protecting the accessibility, confidentiality, and integrity of computer networks.

Network Security vs Information Security

Information security corresponds to the process of securing the access and distribution of information across different media and platforms. These media and platforms include both digital and offline modes. It is also known as InfoSec.

Unlike information security, network security involves securing only computer networks. However, owing to the nature of the two, there are many areas where they overlap.

For example, protecting the information present over computer networks comes under both information security and network security. In fact, the former is a subset of the latter.

Types of Network Security

To keep up with the expanding landscape of computer networks, network security is divided into many types. These are:

  1. Access Control
  2. Antivirus
  3. Application Security
  4. Behavioral Analytics
  5. Data Loss Prevention
  6. Email Security
  7. Firewalls
  8. Intrusion Prevention Systems
  9. Mobile Device Security
  10. Network Segmentation
  11. SIEM (Security Information and Event Management)
  12. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  13. Web Security
  14. Wireless Security

Network Security Testing Tools

It is a comprehensive area. Thus, no single tool can manage it all. However, there are tools that let you manage a lot of things for securing your networks. DataDog, Graphite, LibreNMS, Observium, and Nmap are some of the most popular network security testing tools.

Usually, a network security testing tool comes with a galore of features. Some of them even come with an integration or plugin system to further extend their capabilities. However, not all testing tools are equal. Thus, choosing the best one depends on your testing requirements.

What to Look for in a Network Security Testing Tool?

  • Customized Scheduling

Scheduling helps to decide the time to collect and not to collect data. Many network security testing tools come with an on/off switch for scheduling, which is ok. However, tools that feature a scheduling agent are preferred. It gives users better control over testing the network.

  • Filtering

Filtering is an important feature that helps to filter and group meaningful data from the collected data. It helps network security professionals to quickly find a particular set of data.

  • GUI

An interactive graphical user interface makes it much more fun and interesting to work with a network testing tool. A good GUI reduces the time required to become familiar with the options of the tool as well as it makes multitasking easy.

Nonetheless, experienced users might want to have command-line options too. Therefore, it is best to go for a network security testing tool that offers the best of both worlds, i.e., an interactive GUI and a fully-functional command-line utility.

  • Reports and Stats

Reporting and statistics further ease out the process of drawing insights from testing. Hence, a good tool for testing network security must have multi-dimensional reporting and statistics features.

Report generation must be fast and available in multiple forms, such as charts, graphs, and tables. Detailed stats make it easy to draw meaning out of the available data.

  • Network Testing Management

The initial network test works as the reference for the successive tests. To know whether there are any changes to the network, the results of subsequent tests are compared with the results of the first network test. An efficient network testing management system makes it easy to manage the results of the test runs.

Why Do We Need Network Security?

With each passing day, more and more networks are seeing the light of day. These are required by everyone, ranging from full-fledged organizations to individuals. The need for network security is also on the rise owing to the omnipresent risk of online threats and frauds.

Malware can stay inactive on a computer network for several days before finally hitting a target. Thus, it is important to be constantly on the lookout to remove and prevent potential threats from entering a network.

Interesting Topics Related to Network Security

It is a broad term that is closely related to many other popular concepts like cybersecurity, virtual networks, information security, and so on. Following are some common questions – and their answers – related to terms associated with network security:

What are Cyberattacks?

A cyberattack is any attempt at breaching computer networks, user access, etc. with the intent of causing damage in the form of data and information theft, infecting systems with a virus, implanting ransomware, and so on.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity or computer security is the process of safeguarding computer systems, programs, and networks from cyberattacks. It is an extensive field that involves a plethora of techniques and tools. Network security is a subset of cybersecurity, which is a subset of information security.

What is Email Security?

Email security corresponds to that part of network security that deals with controlling outbound emails and preventing the incoming of spam and malicious emails. It helps to prevent the loss of confidential data and security issues.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a sophisticated form of cyberattack that aims to steal sensitive user information by imitating a genuine service or website and using it to gain the trust of the users.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that is intended to leverage user security for some kind of ransom, and thus, the name. Bad Rabbit, GoldenEye, Locky, and WannaCry are some of the most infamous ransomware attacks.

What is the TCP/IP Model?

The TCP/IP model is a conceptual design model that represents the structure of communication among many networked devices using the IP suite.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network is a technology that helps to encrypt your connection to a network, and thus, helps you to go anonymous over the network. ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, IPVanish, NordVPN, and Surfshark are some of the most popular VPNs.


Network security is a complex and lengthy process. It is evolving continuously to mitigate the rapidly growing challenges in digital security.

The measures that you need to execute usually depend on the complexity and volume of the network(s) that you need to secure. Thankfully, the availability of a galore of testing tools makes life easier for network admins.

What are your views on network security? What testing tools and techniques do you find best? Let us know in the comments.

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