Tommy Roberts

What Is Secure Network Architecture?

Cybersecurity, Data Protection, Network Planning, System Design

What Is Secure Network Architecture?

Secure Network Architecture is a framework that enables organizations to protect sensitive data from online threats by combining technological mechanisms with environmental controls and supporting defense-in-depth principles, which require multiple security measures to complement each other and work in unison.

Security by design involves identifying and mitigating potential vulnerabilities before they turn into attacks, rather than after. Its three main pillars include segmentation, firewalls, and authentication.

Layers of the OSI model

The OSI model consists of seven layers that represent network communication. Each layer communicates with those above and below it to form an efficient data flow. Furthermore, this framework offers security measures designed to protect an entire network.

Layer 1 of any network is its physical layer, which enables direct exchange of raw data between devices. This layer includes all electrical, mechanical and physical aspects of its operation as well as security measures to ensure hardware is configured appropriately and secured from unauthorised access.

Layer 2 manages the logical addressing and routing of data packets across multiple networks. Common vulnerabilities at this level include IP spoofing and denial-of-service attacks; to address them effectively, security methods include using proper encryption standards as well as routing filters.

The session layer establishes, maintains, and terminates sessions between end-user applications. It encrypts and compresses data; additionally it ensures smooth data transfer without wasting computing resources; it may also add checkpoints so as to track how far a file has been transmitted.

Security by design

Security by design (SBD) is a network architecture approach that seeks to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities during development. Employing this strategy, companies can protect themselves against cyber threats while cutting operational costs.

Segmentation is an essential element of security by design. This involves breaking up networks into physical or logical zones with similar security requirements so each device can focus solely on meeting its own security requirements, thus reducing attack surface while controlling access to critical information across an organization.

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Another key component of security by design is the principle of least privilege, in which users are only given permissions necessary for them to complete their job duties successfully and minimize damage caused by compromised accounts.

Your network must be secure to protect your business against breaches or malware attacks, so make sure it runs vulnerability tests regularly to detect any weaknesses. Implement network security solutions like firewalls, IDS/IPS, VPN and encryption as a layer of defense to stop intrusion attempts from breaking in – additionally consider cloud backup solutions like EVault to store all your data should there be any breaches in the future.

Firewalls

Firewalls are essential elements of a secure network architecture, protecting data by restricting unauthorized access and stopping malicious code from entering it. Unfortunately, though, firewalls can still be vulnerable to attack from hackers; an example occurred recently when one United States power grid operations provider was compromised using an exploit that exploited an unpatched firewall firmware vulnerability and launched a reboot exploit that exploited this weakness to breach it and gain entry.

Circuit-level gateway firewalls operate at the session layer of OSI model and filter traffic based on TCP handshake between hosts. Their main limitation lies in not filtering content of data packets; therefore they must be combined with another firewall that serves this function for optimal operation.

Cloud-native firewalls are virtual firewalls designed specifically for cloud environments. They offer security inspection and protection to VMs and containers within the cloud and are often integrated with orchestration platforms like Kubernetes to automate policy enforcement. Also referred to as zero trust network access (ZTA), these systems assume all entry points are malicious before only permitting access to resources that have deemed necessary.

Authentication

Authentication is one of the cornerstones of network security, verifying user identities to prevent them from accessing sensitive systems and data, while mitigating identity theft; for instance if someone steals Administrator Jane Doe’s credentials by impersonating her at login time. An authentication system would reject his login attempt since he is not the original user.

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Another way to protect against attacks is limiting data flow. Network segmentation provides this functionality by creating physical or logical zones with similar security requirements on a network that enable organizations to focus their security measures on certain parts of their infrastructure, which reduces impact when breaches occur in these specific parts.

Reducing network attack surfaces with zero trust architecture models is another effective strategy, such as replacing perimeter-based security models with user and device authentication, microsegmentation and multifactor authentication. While this requires additional visibility that traditional security controls cannot offer, zero trust architecture models form an integral component in secure network architecture; often combined with proxy-based architecture which connects users directly to applications thereby decreasing latency while eliminating VPN requirements.

Monitoring

Security monitoring is a cornerstone of cybersecurity architecture. It helps detect early warnings of threats so they can be eliminated before any lasting damage is done, and also ensures all aspects of a system are covered through a defense-in-depth approach.

Network monitoring tools detect potential threats by analyzing network traffic and device data. Pinging network components at designated intervals provides documentation of normal behavior which is then compared against an established baseline to detect anomalies and suspicious activities.

Firewalls, antivirus programs and intrusion detection systems are great starting points when it comes to cybersecurity for industrial control systems (ICSs). But in order to fully address potential threats against an ICS’ critical assets, an elaborate cybersecurity architecture with focus is absolutely necessary.

An expert security architect must possess knowledge of both security protocols and software, how they interact, testing procedures for these systems, encryption/data shuffling solutions to safeguard their organization from cybercrime attacks, as well as how best to test these systems for performance issues.

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