Understanding the Different Types of Network Security Services

Understanding the Different Types of Network Security Services

If data is the lifeblood of your organization, network security is its heart. But today’s vampiric cyber threats are out to steal that blood through any means possible.

To protect against these attackers, your business needs to understand the different types of network security services. These include protection, detection, and response.


Firewalls welcome only those data packets (the units of information you send over digital networks) it has been configured to accept. They filter incoming traffic and block malicious activity to prevent cyberattacks from infiltrating your network.

Packet filtering firewalls analyze the content of each data packet and decide whether to allow it to enter your network based on pre-established security rules. These rules consider several aspects the packet data indicates, such as its source and destination, allowing you to limit access to specific servers or applications.

Stateful inspection firewalls examine the state of each network connection to determine if it’s legitimate and if any malware or viruses are hiding within its payload. They are a more sophisticated solution than packet filtering and offer more levels of network protection. However, they require extensive resources such as CPU and RAM to operate and manage.

DDoS Prevention

DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks are devastating for businesses. They clog up network connections and prevent devices from responding, making your website unusable.

DDoS prevention solutions use techniques like blackhole routing to identify malicious traffic and divert it from your servers, preventing your business from becoming overwhelmed and inaccessible. In addition, they can protect against ICMP or ping attacks that spoof your network’s IP address and force servers to allocate resources to respond to false requests, resulting in them slowing down or even failing altogether.

The solution is to work with a DDoS mitigation provider that offers a variety of protection options. Some providers have on-site equipment that can filter incoming traffic. In contrast, others offer the option of going full cloud and relying on their infrastructure upstream to detect and mitigate attacks.

Behavioral Analytics

Behavioral analytics is big data processing that transforms raw data into actionable insights. It is used in a variety of industries, including cybersecurity. This technology can identify the unique behavioral patterns of hackers and help prevent them from gaining access to your company’s network.

Unlike other network security services (NSS) that examine the hardware and software that make up your computer network, behavior analytics looks at user behaviors. It uses algorithms and machine learning to detect abnormal behaviors that could indicate a cyberattack. It can also detect malware that has already infected a device or server.

Behavioral analytics is particularly effective against advanced persistent threats (APTs). APTs are often designed to avoid triggering standard rules, making them difficult to detect with traditional methods. However, UEBA can identify these tactics and alert security teams to them. It can even prevent them from spreading.

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)

A network intrusion prevention system (IPS) is designed to detect and take action against malicious activity. Unlike IDS solutions, which merely detect and notify IT or security teams, IPS takes the lead on threat containment by taking automated actions, like shutting down traffic to and from specific devices, resetting connections, and more.

Typically placed inline and behind firewalls, IPS solutions scan incoming data that has made it into the organization’s perimeter using one of the multiple detection techniques. These include signature-based detection, which compares incoming data to attack signatures of known threats; anomaly-based detection, which looks for unusual network behavior; and policy-based detection, which searches for activities that violate enterprise security policies set by administrators.

Many IPS solutions can also look for encrypted sessions and evasion techniques, such as spoofing SSL certificates or using TCP/IP fragmentation to conceal packets. IPS is a vital part of an enterprise’s defenses, and the latest versions of this solution integrate into unified threat management (UTM) and next-generation firewall solutions for even greater protection against advanced malware and DDoS attacks.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

IDS are hardware or software solutions that monitor for threats within your network. They work to identify and act on unusual patterns, alerting you when a threat is detected.

They use a baseline model to determine what’s “normal” for your network regarding bandwidth consumed, protocols used, and ports that communicate with each other. They then compare current traffic against this model, highlighting any deviations. These detection methods can include signature-based, which looks for pre-determined attack patterns, or anomaly-based, which uses machine learning to identify new and unknown malware attacks.

Depending on the type of IDS solution you choose, it may be passive and only alert you to an issue, or it can take proactive action by blocking access to malicious IP addresses, for example. This is an IPS, an effective way to reduce the mean time to detect (MTTD) malicious activity.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Security information and event management solutions (SIEM) provide a centralized view of network activity to reduce cybersecurity blind spots. They collect and aggregate security data from multiple sources, such as firewalls, antivirus consoles, wireless networks, and more, to alert IT staff when something is out of the ordinary.

These tools are designed to detect advanced threats and provide a detailed forensic analysis when a breach occurs. They also help improve the efficiency of IT staff by eliminating false positives and reducing the number of security alerts that are ignored.

SIEM tools can be purchased as traditional software or as a service. When buying, it’s essential to consider the total cost of ownership and future growth to ensure a good return on investment. This includes the initial purchase, annual support, and hardware or software to collect the data. SIEM technology has evolved to incorporate artificial intelligence, making threat detection and response smarter.