All What you Need to Know about Network Security Tools
Network security is one of the important aspects of Cyber Security, organizations and governments must utilize powerful cybersecurity tools and techniques to mitigate modern threats, in this article we’ll be writing about some tools that’ll help to secure different networks.
What are Network Security Tools?
Network security tools are devices and applications that were designed specifically to insure the security of the network they reside in, using techniques such as monitoring, alerting, and validating network connections.
What are the Benefits of Network Security?
- Protect the information shared and transmitted over the network.
- Build a secure, modern, trustworthy workplace.
- Keeping the network safe and secure will increase profits and productivity.
- Gain the trust and confidence of the clients.
- Prevents Illegal and unauthorized access.
Network Security Tools Categories
A Firewall is a network security device (can be software or hardware) that acts as a gate between the network and other networks, It monitors and filters incoming and outgoing traffic and detects various attacks such as vulnerability scanning.
A reverse firewall is a type of firewall that is placed outside of a network or a device and acts as a gate also between the source and destination, its main purpose is to monitor and sanitize the outgoing traffic preventing the leakage of important information.
Intrusion Prevention Systems
An IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) is a type of network security tool that constantly monitors the traffic and can take action when encountering malicious traffic (reporting, dropping, etc).
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
SIEM is a security solution that helps in threat management and threat detection, SIEM tools can capture and collect log data from endpoints and various network security tools and further analyze them and report based on its predefined rules.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Implementing a virtual private network inside organizations is a way to establish a secure connection between network devices as the traffic inside the VPN is encrypted and protected from the internet.
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDRs)
EDRs are a kind of security solution and one of the best technologies in threat detection and response. EDRs monitor endpoints and can detect threats and vulnerabilities, combining real-time monitoring and collection of endpoint data with rules-based automated response capabilities.
Network Monitoring Physical Locations
Off-site network monitoring means taking a place outside of the network boundaries and utilizing it to monitor network activities, and we can refer to that with passive or remote network monitoring, offset network monitoring can be done by using simple techniques such as pinging (issue a ping command) to check if the network hosts are up and available, or by using more advanced techniques such as SNMP traps.
At the Network Boundary
The network boundary is the difference between what a system may logically access on a network and what it can physically connect to.
Monitoring traffic at the network boundary means checking the outgoing and incoming traffic to and from the network.
On the Network
Here we turn our attention to the actual traffic inside the network boundaries, moving between network hosts and network devices, it is important also to check and monitor this traffic.
Endpoints are physical devices that are a part of the network such as servers, client devices, mobile phones, and others.
Monitoring at the endpoint level means utilizing tools on those devices that the network consists of.
Network Security Strategies
- Invest in reliable and modern network security tools.
- Evaluate the potential security risks on any of your network assets.
- Prepare Incident response plans.
- Employ a principle of least privilege (POLP).
- Use Threat Intelligence techniques to gather information about recent attacks and APT groups and perform annual threat hunting.
How to Select the Best Network Security Tool?
- Make sure to select tools that suit your network implementation in terms of network size and the type of devices that construct the network.
- When selecting the network security tools to use, you have to consider the most minor cost with good capabilities.
- Conduct a risk assessment that identifies all known or potential vulnerabilities and security priorities for your infrastructure and data stores, this will help in later determining the suitable network monitoring tools.
- You need to have a patch manager to constantly test for network vulnerabilities using vulnerability scanners like Nessus professional and patch them, here is an article on how to choose your cybersecurity service provider.
- You need to follow the security best practices and always choose the tools recommended by experts.
- Make sure to consider that your network security tools are easy to implement and customize.
Best Network Security Tools in 2023
1- SolarWinds Network Performance Manager
SolarWinds is an American company that develops software that helps businesses and corporations manage their networks, systems, and IT infrastructure.
SolarWinds NPM is a powerful and affordable network monitoring solution that can quickly detect, diagnose, and troubleshoot network performance issues and failures.
Once you download the tool you can get a 30-day free trial and the pricing of this tool starts at $1,638.
- Network Insights for deeper visibility
- Smart maps
- Multi-vendor network monitoring
- Advanced alerting capabilities
- Smarter scalability for large environments
- Easy to implement
- proactive alerting capabilities
- Not the best AWS Instance monitoring
Snort is an open-source and popular IPS (Intrusion prevention system) and one of the best security monitoring tools that use rules to locate and catch malicious traffic patterns and then throw alerts that can be configured to take immediate actions.
There are two distribution sets for snort: The “Community Ruleset” and the “Snort Subscriber Ruleset”.
The Snort Subscriber Ruleset was developed, tested, and approved by Cisco Talos. Snort Subscriber Rule Set subscribers receive rule sets in real time as they are released to Cisco customers. You can download the rules from the Snort.org website and use them in your network.
Community Rulesets are developed by the Snort community and are quality controlled by Cisco Talos. Free for all users.
- Real-time traffic monitor
- Ability to install in any network implementation
- Logging capabilities
- Open source tool
- Analysis of protocols and OS Fingerprint
- High network visibility
- Due to its open-source nature, the code can be reviewed easily
- Due to its open-source nature, the updates might be a little late
- Complex setup and configuration
3- Splunk SIEM
Splunk is a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tool that collects, analyses, and correlates large amounts of network traffic and other data in real-time. Managed from a web browser, Splunk gives security teams the relevant and actionable intelligence they need to effectively respond to threats and maintain a seamless security posture at scale.
Splunk is available in three versions: the free version (or Splunk Light), the paid version (Splunk Enterprise), and Splunk Cloud (or Splunk Enterprise as a Service).
Enterprise Splunk licenses start at $65 per host per month and this cost is billed annually. A large part of Splunk's cost depends on how much data you ingest in a day. TechTarget says you can start at $1,800 per GB.
- Data visualization
- Real-time search
- Reporting and monitoring
- Machine Learning Toolkit
- Data integration and live dashboards
- Variety of supported alert types
- High cost
- Complex architecture
Techniques and Types of Network Security Tools
1- Email Security Tools
Email security tools are concerned with the human factor the most, as Email attacks are all types of phishing, Email Security tools help in the identification of dangerous Emails and can also be used to block attacks and prevent leakage of sensitive data.
2- Anti-(Virus,Malware) Tools
An antimalware tool is a type of network security software designed to identify and prevent the spread of dangerous programs (that take advantage of weak systems or software bugs to spread). They also may help fix malware infections and minimize damage to your network
3- Security Information and Event Management Tools
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM for short) is a solution that helps organizations detect, analyze, and respond to security threats before they impact business operations.
4- Access Control Tools
Access control is integrated into the corporate IT environment. This may be an identity and access management system. These tools provide access control systems, user databases, and administrative tools for access control policy, auditing, and enforcement.
5- Endpoint Security Tools
An endpoint security tool is a software dedicated to tracking, monitoring, and managing the collection of endpoint devices used inside the network.
6- Wireless Security Tools
Wireless networks are not as secure as traditional networks. Therefore, strict wireless security measures are required to prevent attackers from gaining access.
7- Web Security Tools
Web security tools are necessary for any organization that has web-based services, as the attack surface is very broad when it comes to web applications, Web security tools scan websites at periodic intervals to find out if there are any malicious activity or security threats.
How does the CVE Standard make Network Security Devices and Tools more Effective?
CVE stands for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures. CVE is a glossary of terms for classifying vulnerabilities (here is an article about cybersecurity terms you should know). Glossary analyses vulnerabilities and assesses their threat level using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).
CVE is designed to link vulnerability databases with other tools. It also makes it easier to compare security tools and services.
Network security tools and devices use this database to update its rules and detection mechanisms constantly to increase security.
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