How to prevent security breaches with network security solutions Featured

9:01pm EDT June 30, 2011
How to prevent security breaches with network security solutions

In today’s business environment, companies cannot afford downtime and breaches of security that can compromise client and proprietary information.

A company’s network security can be compromised in a number of ways, from denial of service attacks to viruses, giving outsiders access to company resources. And a network that isn’t properly protected and monitored can inhibit employee productivity, says Darren Wolner, director of corporate product management at Time Warner Cable Business Class.

“Downtime has the potential to put a company out of business,” says Wolner.

Implementing a managed security solution can reduce the risk of network security breaches and the downtime that results from systems being compromised.

Smart Business spoke with Wolner about how companies can put security in place and basic steps that can make a big impact on a business’s IT infrastructure.

What is network security?

Network security includes provisions and policies to prevent and monitor unauthorized access, misuse, modification or denial of the computer network and its resources.

In a secure network environment, only users with assigned passwords can gain access to information on the network. Network security can include private and public networks, and it can give businesses the ability to control how users — their employees — access information on the network. For example, a company might limit access to certain Internet sites or programs. Or perhaps only managers or key employees can gain access to certain areas of the network.

A business can decide who accesses what on the network when security solutions are put in place. In the most general sense, network security begins with a username and password, called one-factor authentication.

To add additional security, companies might put into place two-factor authentication, which can include a security token such as an ATM card or mobile phone. Three-factor authentication involves using additional information, such as a fingerprint or retinal scan.

The level of network security depends entirely on a company’s needs, who should gain access to information and the organization’s vulnerability to security breaches.

Having a protected network prevents disruptions in your business and internal sabatoge.

What are some common breaches of network security that companies experience?

One common type of network security breach is a denial of service attack. This is when a computer or network limits or prevents access to the Internet by flooding it with requests, usually for a website, online resource or e-mail. The result is a system overload.

Also, viruses that infect files can be very damaging. Malware, adware and spyware can compromise network security and, ultimately, when a company does not put systems in place to secure its network, outsiders can gain access to inside resources.

How can a business begin to protect its network?

First, a business should consult with its existing telecommunications provider to determine what solutions are currently being offered. While a company can set up its own firewall, it pays to partner with a firm that specializes in network security and that can ensure that you have the tools to reduce your risk of the system being compromised.

A business must know quite a bit about network security in order to deploy a solution and maintain its integrity. A provider can offer an all-in-one solution that provides protection in a managed way. Once you determine what network security is in place now at your business, get referrals for other network security providers and talk to them about the options. Technology changes rapidly, so businesses should find out what new solutions are available. Ask a specialist to draft a network security plan that will protect the entire business.

What levels of network protection are available?

Managed security solutions offer a wide array of features and options that are scaled to serve businesses of all sizes, from small operations to corporate enterprises. The standard features included in a network security solution are a fully managed firewall device, 24/7/365 system monitoring and management, management reporting, gateway anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, intrusion prevention, content filtering and the ability to access the network remotely from a virtual private network.

Putting this suite of network security tools in place will not only protect the business from security breaches, it will enable it to get more productivity from its network and employees. For instance, if a business can control which websites employees visit through management reporting tools, that eliminates time wasted on surfing the Internet or using personal e-mail and social networks. The company can decide what level of management reporting to put in place, but it’s nice to have this option available to truly optimize the way the network is used for daily workflow and to accomplish business goals.

What are the benefits of having a fully protected network?

Ultimately, having a protected network prevents disruptions in your business and internal sabotage. It protects a business from the outside in, and from the inside out. With a solid managed security solution in place with content filtering and other features, companies can better understand how they utilize bandwidth and avoid threats from viruses and denial of service attacks that can harm the business.

Darren Wolner is director of corporate product management for Time Warner Cable Business Class. Contact a Time Warner Cable Business Class account consultant at (877) 612-7474 to discuss your communication needs.