What is Network Infrastructure Security?


Network Infrastructure Security includes the systems and software businesses implement to protect underlying networking infrastructure from unauthorized access, deletion, or modification of data resources. The prevention techniques employed have application security, access control, virtual private networks (VPN), firewalls, behavioral analytics, wireless security, and intrusion prevention systems. Network Infrastructure Security functions holistically, relying on ongoing processes and practices to protect an underlying business IT infrastructure.

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How Does Network Infrastructure Security Work?

Network infrastructure security relies on the holistic combination of best practices and ongoing processes to maintain the safety of the infrastructure. The security measures that you deploy may depend on:

  1. Standing legal obligations surrounding your business.
  2. Regulations surrounding your specific industry
  3. Security and Networking requirements

What are the Different Network Infrastructure Security Types?

There are several approaches to network infrastructure security. Therefore, it is best to use multiple strategies to enhance the defense of a network.

Access Control

This involves preventing unauthorized access to the network by untrusted users and devices.

Application Security

These are the security measures implemented to lock down potential hardware and software vulnerabilities.

Network Firewalls

The gatekeeping software infrastructure managing and preventing suspicious traffic from infiltrating and navigating the network.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

VPNs help encrypt network connections between endpoints to create secure communication channels throughout the internet.

Behavioral Analytics

These are security tools that automatically detect suspicious network activities.

Wireless Security

Wireless networks are not always as secure as hard-wired networks. The increased variety of devices that can connect to wireless networks, such as devices and apps, present even higher chances of infiltration.

Implementation Approaches Recommended by The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Segmentation and Segregation of Networks and Functions

Proper segregation and segmentation of the complete infrastructure layout help minimize network exploitation effectively. It ensures that attacks on the different network parts do not spill over to other components. Critically consider the overall layout of infrastructure!

Implementing hardware like network routers can help create boundaries and efficiently filter traffic. You can further secure the segmented infrastructure by restricting traffic or shutting it down whenever a threat gets detected. Virtually segmenting networks is like using routers for physical network separation but without the hardware.

No Unnecessary Communications

Unfiltered interactions involving peers on a network can allow hackers to exploit the different communication devices. Given enough time, attackers can quickly establish a fatal presence on the network by building effective backdoors or installing malware applications.

Network Device Hardening

When configuring and managing your devices, ignoring possible vulnerabilities leaves entry points that attackers can exploit using malicious cyber attacks. Hackers can build a persistent presence within your network.

Hardening your network devices enhances network infrastructure security and helps eliminate the chances of unauthorized entry. Network administrators must follow the comprehensive industry standards for network encryption and secure access, including protection of routers, strong passwords, backups, restricted physical access, and consistent security testing.

Secure Access to Infrastructure Devices

Businesses implement administrative privileges to ensure that only trusted individuals access specific network resources. Network administrators can approve the authenticity of users by enforcing multi-factor authentication before login, managing administrative credentials, and ensuring privileged access.

Out-of-Band Network Management (OOB)

Out-of-Band Management provides organizations with a reliable and secure mode of accessing IT network infrastructure by using dedicated communications to manage network devices. Network administration of IT assets and connected devices happens remotely. OoB strengthens network security by dividing user traffic and management traffic and ensuring constant access to critical IT assets.

A crucial benefit of out-of-band management is that it ensures availability even when the network is down, devices are off, hibernating, or inaccessible. Users can still reboot and manage devices remotely.

Hardware and Software Integrity

Unverified market products often expose IT infrastructure networks to different modes of attack. Hackers can use illegitimate software and hardware products to pre-load malicious software onto an unsuspecting organization’s network. It’s imperative to perform regular integrity checks on network software and connected devices.

Network Infrastructure Security

Why is Network Infrastructure Security important?

Hackers and malicious software applications that attempt to take over routing infrastructure present the most significant threat to network infrastructure security. Network components comprise all devices, switches, software, intrusion detection systems (IDS), servers, and domain name systems (DNS) that strengthen network communications. Hackers can use these components as entry points when attacking selected networks and installing malicious software.

Although hackers can inflict many damaging attacks on a network, securing the routing infrastructure and ensuring it remains protected should be the primary goal in preventing infiltration.

Infiltration Risk: If a hacker gains access to a network using the internal routing and switching devices, they can exploit the trusted relationship between hosts and monitor, change, and deny traffic inside the network.

Gateway Risk: Suppose hackers gain access to a gateway router. Then, they can monitor and alter traffic behaviors inside and out of the network.

What are the Benefits of Network Infrastructure Security?

Network infrastructure security provides many significant benefits to a business’s network infrastructure. Primarily when security measures get implemented correctly. Some of which include:

  1. Resource Sharing and Cost Saving: Multiple users can use the resources without a threat. Sharing resources ultimately helps reduce operational costs.
  2. Shared Site Licenses: Network infrastructure security helps make site licenses cheaper than it would cost to license each device.
  3. File Sharing and Enhanced Productivity: All users within an organizations’ network can safely share files and collaborate across the internal network.
  4. Secure Internal Communications: Teams can communicate via safe email and chat systems.
  5. Compartmentalization and Secure Files: User data and delicate files remain protected over shared networks, compared to machines used by multiple users.
  6. Consistent Protection of Data: Network infrastructure ensures that data backups to local servers remain secure and straightforward. It also enhances protection over vital intellectual property.

Final Verdict

Take advantage of universal practices like data encryption, strong passwords, and data backups. Once you understand your business’s networking needs, choose which practices suit your operations. Be advised to run a network security audit better to comprehend the needs, strengths, and weaknesses. You can also leverage vulnerability assessments or run network penetration tests to get a more detailed performance analysis.

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