Internet technology has revolutionized the way we do things, both professionally and personally. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have found ways to infiltrate our computer networks and wreak havoc on them. Having effective network security programs in place is vitally important to organizations.

Here are some FAQs on network security that give you a better idea of how it all works to protect your data.

What is network security?

Companies and organizations use network security to secure the information they need to protect from unauthorized users and potential hackers. Network security is the plan or strategy these organizations use to monitor unauthorized access, exploitation and modifications of their networking assets. An essential part of network optimization, it is implemented with a combination of hardware and software to protect the network from viruses, malware, ransomware, hackers and denial-of-service attacks.

If a company employs layers of security, such as firewalls, antivirus software and an intrusion prevention system (IPS) to protect their data and network, they see better results. An effective solution also examines data security policies, disaster recovery options, vulnerability scanning and penetration testing (it simulates a real-world security threat).

What are the primary goals of network security?

There are three primary goals of network security, known collectively as the CIA Triad or CIA Trilogy:

  • Confidentiality, which protects data from unauthorized users by controlling access to that data, whether stored or in transit
  • Integrity, or version control, that allows information to be changed only by authorized users, who ensure it is accurate and can’t be altered by hackers or unauthorized users
  • Availability, designed to guarantee that data, network services and network resources are protected and available to those who need to access them, whenever they need to

What is a network security key?

Basically, the network security key unlocks access to the Internet. It’s the password or passphrase that authenticates all your devices to your network’s router so that you can obtain a signal and connect to the Internet. At home, you’ll find it on the back of your router; it may be shown as the Security Key, WEP Key, WPA Key, WPA2 Key, Wireless Key or Passphrase. The name “network security key” is interchangeable with “password” for your network connection.

What are the different types of network security?

As technology grows, network security options expand to meet the needs of organizations. Network security works by combining layers of defense to secure the information. There are five primary types of network security:

  • Network Access Control (NAC)
    This limits the number of users who should have network access.
  • Antivirus and antimalware
    Everyone knows that malware (malicious software) – viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and ransomware – can infect a network and cause a lot of trouble. Effective antimalware and antivirus programs scan for malware on access, and then fix inconsistencies and damage, and remove malware.
  • Application security
    No matter how good the software you buy – or your IT department creates – is, it can be vulnerable to attackers. Application security is the hardware, software and processes your company uses to close holes and protect vulnerabilities.
  • Email security
    The easiest way to breach a network’s security is via the email portal. Attackers can use personal information to devise phishing schemes that trick email recipients into clicking on malicious sites. If you have an email security app, it can block incoming attacks and control outbound messages so they don’t put sensitive data at risk.
  • Wireless security
    A wired network is much more secure than a wireless network. If your network is wireless, you need to enable security products that are specifically designed for these networks.

Some organizations choose to take additional measures to secure the information produced by their data processing. These can include:

  • Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to scan network traffic that blocks and prevents cyberattacks
  • Web security that is implemented to restrict a staff’s access to particularly vulnerable websites and block web-based threats
  • Mobile device security to control which mobile devices may be allowed to access the network, as many cybercriminals now target mobile devices and applications
  • Behavioral analytics that employ tools to detect abnormalities in network activity
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) software that prevents users from uploading, forwarding and printing information in an unsafe manner

Where can I learn more about network security and networking programs?

MTI College offers a fast-paced, hands-on Network Administration and Security associate degree program that prepares you for an entry-level position as a networking professional. Computer networking is critical to large companies and industries, such as health care and banking, that rely on secure, shared databases. Completing your associate degree in Network Administration and Security, and earning CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certification, may open the door to an entry-level job as a:

  • Network administrator
    You would be responsible for setting up and maintaining an organization’s computer network to keep costs down and production up.
  • Security specialist
    In this important role, you would protect a company’s computer network and make sure that only authorized people could gain access to confidential information. You would also have to monitor the network’s infrastructure and firewalls.
  • Information security analyst
    You would look for security breaches and investigate violations, install firewalls and generally help keep a company’s computer network safe from hackers.
  • Systems administrator
    This job entails taking care of the day-to-day operation and upkeep of a company’s computer network.

Get the skills and certification you need from MTI College, and you can be on the road to fighting cybercrime and protecting our IT security.

It is so frustrating when your computer “freezes” or, worse yet, when it shuts down while you’re in the middle of an important project. That’s when a technical support specialist is needed. It’s his or her job to help people who are experiencing technical, hardware or software issues with their computers or other electronic devices. You call your company’s technical support specialist to troubleshoot and, hopefully, resolve your issue.

That’s an overview of the general job of a technical support specialist. However, these are five job responsibilities of a technical support specialist that you may not be aware of.

1. Takes remote control over customers’ computers

Most often, a technical support specialist can walk a customer through steps necessary to remedy the problem, install software on the computer and start a program for the first time via the phone. He or she can also help troubleshoot issues a customer may face while using a software program and recommend tips to remedy the situation. If that doesn’t work – or if the customer just doesn’t understand – the tech support specialist may need to take over the computer remotely and perform the necessary steps to resolve the issue.

2. Trains customers on how to use hardware and software

Some companies assign their technical support specialist with writing operating instructions and training employees on the software or hardware needed to perform their jobs. When the customers learn how to use equipment properly, it protects and preserves both the hardware and software.

3. Maintains and upgrades network systems

A technical support specialist keeps a company’s network systems up to date by upgrading components as needed. He or she also gathers and records data to ensure that the system is working efficiently, studying workload and the network’s capacity. When the tech support specialist conducts a cost analysis, he or she lets the company know what to expect when upgrading or purchasing new hardware or software.

4. Tests software and hardware

Even with new equipment or software, there can be issues or incompatibility with existing programs and hardware. A technical support specialist is often tasked with the duty of testing for compatibility and computer components. This is also a way to confirm program objectives and specifications, make certain they operate in accordance with established standards and improve existing programs. If there is an inconsistency or issue, the tech support specialist can recommend changes or make modifications.

5. Oversees and administers data

The security of client, employee and internal corporate information is of prime importance to any organization. The technical support specialist may be in charge of overseeing the company’s data, maintaining passwords, backing up and securing databases, and restoring files when necessary. It’s important that he or she remains professional to protect the confidentiality of the company’s information. 

The skills needed for the job

It goes without saying that anyone who plans to work as a technical support specialist should have an interest in computers and be technically adept. However, there are additional traits that employers look for when hiring technical support specialists:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to make technical information and instructions user-friendly
  • Strong customer service standards
  • Patience
  • Ability to multitask
  • Analytical ability
  • Above-average problem-solving abilities
  • Software maintenance and testing
  • Knowledge of database performance

How to become a technical support specialist

Computers play important roles in everyday life, and that means that they constantly need upgrading and maintenance. That’s why technical support specialists are in such demand. MTI’s Technical Support Specialist diploma program teaches you the competencies needed to earn a globally recognized CompTIA A+ certification, an essential starting point for an exciting career in IT.

MTI’s program provides you with hands-on education and a foundation in common hardware and software technologies, giving you skills to support the complex IT infrastructures present in most industries.

You’ll learn to:

  • Install, configure, upgrade and restore PCs
  • Identify security breaches
  • Help end users connect their computers so they can work from multiple locations
  • Configure and service mobile devices
  • Evaluate and choose hardware components to customize systems
  • Troubleshoot and solve computer problems
  • Understand the ins and outs of multiple operating systems

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in computer and information technology fields are growing faster than those in any other field. Studying at MTI gives you valuable hands-on experience and a working knowledge of most types of computer hardware and many applications. MTI trains you to service and maintain computer systems and networks for small businesses and large corporations. Once you receive your MTI diploma and earn CompTIA A+ certification, you will be qualified for an entry-level position as a technical support specialist.

Get the skills and certification you need from MTI College, and you can help customers resolve their computer hardware and software issues.

The age of Internet technology has come with advantages, certainly, but it has also brought vulnerabilities and new ways for criminals to profit. As computers get smarter, so do cyber criminals. IT security programs are more important than ever to businesses and individuals to help protect them from information breaches and more.

These are the top IT security trends to watch for in 2018:

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

PC magazine heralds GDPR as the most anticipated and important security factor in 2018. The regulation requires companies that do business in the European Union (EU) to protect the personal data of those they do business with. Those companies that do not comply risk fines of as much as 4 percent of their global revenue. To prepare for the GDPR, which goes into effect May 25, 2018, most companies are performing security assessments and hiring additional security professionals, as well as lawyers.

Ransomware

Ransomware takes corporate “hostages” virtually when cyber hackers infiltrate a company’s industrial or transport automation or control system. They complete control, leaving the owners powerless to regain control. The only resolution is to pay the hackers a “ransom” to restore rightful control to the company. It is likely that in 2018, new targets for cyber hackers will emerge: high-profile or wealthy individuals and home-connected devices. The best course of action for companies is to be proactive – run backups frequently and keep fixing and updating systems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

AI-based attacks are likely to increase. As machines get smarter and detect network vulnerabilities, so do the cyber criminals who use machine learning to dismantle them. Companies will need to up their game with new AI-enabled security tools, but it’s a good bet that criminals will come up with their own set of cyber battle tools. Some of those tools include new-and-improved spam and phishing schemes that automate intelligence gathering for advanced attacks. Automation or AI also may be used to infiltrate data sources by guessing passwords, and ML can let criminals know exactly whom to target in an organization to get past security protocols.

Breaches

Identity theft and POS (point of sale) breaches, including those of store computers and ATMs, are rising concerns. In 2017, there was a rash of data breaches that affected major organizations, including Yahoo!, Dun & Bradstreet, Saks Fifth Avenue, FAFSA, DocuSign, Gmail, Equifax and Verizon, leaving the personal data of millions at risk. The breaches led to interruptions of service and loss of revenue, forcing companies to patch vulnerabilities and implement better IT security programs.

Spoofing

The creation of fake IP (Internet Protocol) addresses by a hacker to impersonate legitimate sources is known as spoofing. It enables intruders to bypass security measures because of the “trusted” relationships between machines. Spoofing is often used in denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, in which applications or systems are held hostage by hackers, preventing legitimate owners from accessing information or services. The most common DoS attack involves overloading a network with so much information that it is unable to handle the barrage of data. The computer can’t process the request, so it becomes a “denial of service.” In related IP spoofing attack, it attempts to modify a DNS (Domain Name Server) to a specific IP address, which is often used to spread viruses and computer worms.

Unfortunately, new vulnerabilities to our technology are coming about every day, and the need for IT security specialists is growing. MTI College offers a fast-paced, hands-on Network Administration and Security associate degree program that prepares you for an entry-level position as a networking professional. Computer networking is critical to large companies and industries, such as health care and banking, that rely on secure, shared databases. Completing your associate degree in Network Administration and Security, and earning CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certification, may open the door to an entry-level job as a:

  • Network administrator
    You would be responsible for setting up and maintaining an organization’s computer network to keep costs down and production up.
  • Security specialist
    In this important role, you would protect a company’s computer network and make sure that only authorized people could gain access to confidential information. You would also have to monitor the network’s infrastructure and firewalls.
  • Information security analyst
    You would look for security breaches and investigate violations, install firewalls and generally help keep a company’s computer network safe from hackers.
  • Systems administrator
    This job entails taking care of the day-to-day operation and upkeep of a company’s computer network.

Get the skills and certification you need from MTI College, and you can be on the road to fighting cyber crime and protecting our IT security.

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