What ITSM Pros Need to Know About Network Security

ITSM and Network Security

Networking is a critical part of IT operations and thus plays a central role in IT service management (ITSM). Corporate networks are under constant threat of attack, and the attacks are increasingly more frequent and sophisticated. According to the IBM Cost of Data Breaches study, the average data breach costs organizations $4.35 million. Understanding these network security threats and the required security infrastructure to defend against them is becoming a core part of ITSM.

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What Is Network Security?

Network security is a set of technologies and practices that protect the availability and integrity of a company’s infrastructure, preventing potential threats from entering or spreading within a network.

A network security architecture consists of tools that protect the network itself and the applications running within it. An effective network security strategy uses multiple scalable, automated defenses. Each layer of protection applies a set of network security policies determined by network administrators and security teams.

What Are the Challenges of Network Security?

One of the major challenges of network security is the speed at which cyber attacks evolve. New vulnerabilities and threat vectors are discovered daily, and new defenses are required to protect networks from sophisticated attacks.

Another issue is that security is both the responsibility of the organization and its individual users. Developing policies that keep everyone accountable, and can also keep up with the latest threats, is challenging.

Specifically, the now common Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach means a more distributed and complex network of devices accessing a corporate network exists. Remote work is also more common, making wireless network security even more important because users are more likely to use public networks when accessing corporate networks and sensitive data stored within them.

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Yet another concern is cloud security. Cloud service providers, providers of managed security services, and security products share responsibility for security with cloud customers. Identifying what a company needs to do to secure its cloud presence is important. Identifying which third parties have access to cloud systems is critical to avoid third-party risk.

Network Security Technologies and Solutions ITSM Professionals Should Know About

Network Firewall

A network firewall is a mature network security product with many features that prevent direct access to servers hosting an organization’s applications and data. Network firewalls can be used both for cloud and on-premises networks. In the cloud, managed firewall products can be deployed in an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or software as a service (SaaS) model.

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) detects and blocks attacks by identifying attack patterns and exploits for unpatched vulnerabilities. IPS is typically deployed as an inline appliance or software application that intercepts incoming network traffic. IPS functionality is often included in other network security products, but standalone products also exist. IPS is increasingly used in cloud-native environments to compensate for the slow adoption of cloud-native security controls.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is an endpoint security solution that continuously monitors end-user devices to detect and respond to cyber threats like ransomware and malware.

EDR security solutions log activity and events on endpoints and workloads, giving network security teams the visibility they need to uncover hidden events. An EDR solution must provide continuous, comprehensive real-time visibility into what is happening at the endpoint.

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Secure Web Gateway

Secure web gateways were originally designed to optimize Internet bandwidth but now aim to protect users from malicious content on the Internet. It provides features such as URL filtering, anti-malware, decryption, the inspection of websites accessed over HTTPS, data loss prevention (DLP), and cloud access security brokers (CASBs).


Microsegmentation is a security technique that divides a network into zones and uses policies to dictate how data and applications within those zones are accessed and controlled.

Unlike network segmentation, which requires hardware and primarily focuses on north-south traffic (client-server communications or data flow between data centers), microsegmentation relies on software and focuses on east-west traffic (data flowing between servers, applications, or microservices).

Microsegmentation divides the network into smaller pieces and limits the types of traffic that can laterally traverse the network. It can be applied across on-premises data centers and cloud environments. Microsegmentation allows network security teams to determine how applications and workloads share data within the system, the direction in which data is shared, and whether security or other means of authentication are required for each segment.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

SASE is a new framework that combines comprehensive network security features such as SD-WAN, SWG, firewall as a service (FWaaS), and ZTNA (which supports microsegmentation). It provides extensive WAN capabilities to support organizations’ secure access needs. Its goal is to provide a unified security services model for delivering connectivity and network security in a scalable, flexible, and low-latency manner.

How ITSM Professionals Can Improve Network Security

ITSM professionals can work with their organization’s security team to develop and implement network security protocols and policies that outline the proper handling of sensitive data and the use of secure practices. This may include guidelines for password management, data handling, and access controls.

They can also conduct regular risk assessments to help identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the network. This information can then be used to develop and implement appropriate countermeasures. ITSM can help identify potential threats, including analyzing logs, monitoring for unusual network activity, and implementing incident response procedures.

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Security teams can use ITSM tools to implement network security controls, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and encryption. This helps protect against unauthorized access and attacks but must be appropriately configured and maintained.

ITSM professionals can also help implement a security awareness program to educate employees about the importance of security and how to identify and prevent threats. As well as raising awareness, this approach can help reduce the risk of security breaches caused by employee behavior.

Finally, if an organization relies on third-party vendors, ITSM professionals can work with their security team to ensure that these vendors have appropriate network security measures in place. This may include reviewing vendor contracts and conducting security assessments of vendor systems.

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In conclusion, network security is essential for ITSM professionals. As the role of IT continues to expand and evolve, so too do the security threats and challenges that organizations face. To protect their networks and their data and resources, ITSM pros must be familiar with the latest network security technologies and practices and be prepared to implement and maintain a robust and effective security strategy.

By staying up-to-date on network security and taking proactive steps to protect their organizations, ITSM pros can help ensure their networks’ confidentiality, integrity and availability, and the data they contain.

Further Reading

Gilad Maayan
CEO and Founder at Agile SEO

Gilad is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Oracle, Zend, CheckPoint and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.

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