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Best Network Security Services

by Andreas RiveraLast Modified: June 19, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
Pricing
Network Security Use Cases
Methodology
Reviews
Map
Services

What is Network Security?

When it comes to protecting individual computers, there are simple software solutions such as endpoint protection and antivirus. More often than not however, a business's computers and other devices are part of a much larger, internal network, allowing team members to connect and quickly share data on-premise without going online. To protect the entire network from threats, more advanced solutions are required. That's where network security comes in.

Network security services are provided by companies that can implement suites of cybersecurity measures through different software and service components, depending on your needs. Much like a physical security company, most of these services will work closely with your company to assess your network and determine the level of security you should have. Depending on the kind of data you're trying to protect, there are different methods and best practices to follow when setting up your defenses.

Attacks can come from several different sources both internal and external. Most of the time, attacks can happen due to an employee accidently falling for a phishing attempt. If a threat can grab a foothold into your network, you need a contingency that allows your business to detect and neutralize it. Frequent attacks can come from careless web browsing, downloading attachments or disclosing credentials to an imposter email address. On occasion, threats can come out of nowhere when attackers try to strongarm their way into your network if it's not adequately protected.

Common Types of Attacks

  • Phishing – A type of social engineering attack that involves deceiving users through email into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious programs.
  • Malware/Ransomware – Any type of malicious program that's intended to cause damage to computer systems, steal data or spy on users. Ransomware is a common type of malware targeted towards businesses that holds data and system functions hostage for payment. Once a type of malware is discovered, it is usually rendered useless by most antimalware applications.
  • Zero-Day – These are unknown threats that can go unnoticed by most systems because they are exploiting an undiscovered vulnerability within a system. They are challenging to detect, but sophisticated security applications that can recognize inconsistent or suspicious traffic and activity have a chance at catching and detaining them.
  • APT – Advanced Persistent Threats are attacks that go unnoticed by security applications and remain within networks for long-periods of time, giving the attacker unauthorized access. They are often used to siphon off data until discovered.
  • DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service attacks are mass disruption attacks meant to crash a network by overwhelming it with requests for access. Attackers use various techniques to mass produce these access requests and flood the networks. These attacks can take down networks for hours and even days.

Attacks like these are incredibly compromising for companies, especially small businesses. Attacks that steal and leak sensitive data, especially clients' private information, is considerably damaging. These can lead to costly lawsuits and is a blow to your credibility. Another repercussion to poor security is the downtime you spend locked out of your network by ransomware or other attacks, leading to more lost revenue.

Best Picks

Small Business
Enterprise
Managed Security
FireEye

Best Network Security Service for Small BUsiness

FireEye

Security for small business is paramount especially if they partner with larger entities. Attackers will often go through small businesses to reach larger enterprises, moving laterally to their true target. Small businesses need to take their security just as seriously as their larger partners to prove themselves credible.

FireEye is our pick for best network security for small business. It offers an easy-to-deploy platform and bevy of security features that come in packages especially for small businesses.

Symantec Network Security

Best Network Security Service for Enterprise

Symantec Network Security

Enterprises that use massive networks with thousands of endpoints that connect to the internet need a sophisticated and well-rounded platform that's unified and able to handle a large amount of traffic.

Symantec's enterprise offerings run the gamut of protecting endpoints, defending connections to cloud services and monitoring and filtering traffic. As enterprise move more of their systems to the cloud, Symantec emphasizes protecting these assets with layered security measures.

Trustwave

Best Network Security Service for Managed Security

Trustwave

Cybersecurity can be a complicated, time-consuming task for businesses. For it to be effective, it often requires staffing qualified experts and dedicating much of your IT resources towards it. Managed services can alleviate this burden by taking over the bulk of your security work for you, usually through remote access to your network.

Trustwave specializes in working with their clients to secure their networks, working with advanced tools to keep them threat free. They work closely with customers as if they were another department in the company, keeping them informed and alerted to any threats.

Pricing

Network security services come with varying types of pricing and contracts. Most services normally conduct vulnerability assessments and security surveys before giving you a quote on their services and negotiating a contract. These vendors typically offer annual subscriptions, usually with a setup fee. The cost may often be based on how many users or endpoints are part of your network. Other costs can include the leasing or purchasing of any hardware components or training sessions for using that hardware and software.

The industry experts we spoke with said that for a comprehensive network security solution, small to medium businesses should expect to pay annual costs anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 – although these are estimated costs for an entire suite of security applications, and not every business needs multiple services. It is possible to sign up for smaller, piecemeal applications, such as endpoint detection and protection applications, for a flat, monthly fee per endpoint or user.

Network Security Use Cases

Network security needs look different for different fields. Certain industries are more prone to certain types of attacks and need specialized coverage. Compliance is another important factor for certain fields when implementing network security. Specific businesses and organizations need to follow specific compliances, either set by industry standards or by the law. These regulations often relate to privacy and consumer protections, so businesses need security solutions that can make them certified for these various compliances to be seen as credible.

Most network security services will state if they are qualified to bring your security to these standards. Here are a few network security considerations for specialized industries.

Financial services – Banks, accounting firms and credit agencies are major targets of cybercriminals for obvious reasons. To protect their customers' financial data and other private information, financial service providers need to be especially protected, and must comply with a number of regulations to ensure they are taking cybersecurity seriously. Among these include the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). Solutions that provide DLP-heavy solutions are a must since they can stop customer data from falling into the wrong hands.

Government – Government-operated networks, whether they're federal, state or local, are often targets for their sensitive data, so gateway security that can detect threats that come through the web and email to steal data are in need. Hackers will often try to get APTs into government networks that can continually siphon off data. Government agencies deal with some of the most advanced threats because their attackers are state actors backed by other governments. Many civilian government organizations are at a disadvantage due to their limited budgets, so they must strike a careful balance between cost and effectiveness. Most government organizations need to adhere to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

HealthcarePrivacy is one of the top concerns for the healthcare industry due to the stringent laws surrounding patients' privacy rights. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) dictates that healthcare organizations must safeguard "protected health information," including data transferred in electronic form. Data breaches can trigger serious investigations into an organization's security practices, so keeping their networks clean of threats is essential. Healthcare organizations can be subject to ransomware attacks that hold patient data hostage. Paying the ransom or having the data leak are both disastrous outcomes, so detection and response systems and secured gateway devices are needed to stop threats before they can be executed.

Digital media – Businesses that deliver media and entertainment services such as news publications, movie and music streaming or gaming networks, can be subject to a number of attacks including ransomware or more commonly, DDoS attacks. To safeguard networks so they aren't overwhelmed by artificial access requests and can mitigate the damage, security services that specialize in quickly identifying DDoS attacks are invaluable. These attacks often grow more advanced as time goes on, so security services need to also be advancing.

Retail– Like financial services, retailers are often trusted with customers financial information, whether it's in store at the cash register or on an e-commerce website. Retailers and any other industry that accepts customer payment in the form of credit and debit cards need to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DDS), which was formed by major payment card companies. It requires merchants to uphold security standards when processing electronic payments with cards, which requires a certain level of cybersecurity on their part.

Our Methodology

We reached out to several cybersecurity experts and business owners who shared a few things to consider when shopping around for a network security service. It first depends on your own security needs. Do you need secure a handful of computers or an entire server farm? Do outside parties frequently access your servers? How many endpoints are connected to your network? Is your data mostly located on cloud platforms or on-premise?

There are several different types of security methods offered by services. Different services will emphasize different approaches to security based on their specialty and your specific needs. Below are a few common features to look for when deciding on a network security service. We decided to highlight services that offered a form of all three features or offered an exemplary version of one or more of them.

Risk/Vulnerability Assessments

Different security risks call for different solutions, so you should find a company that conducts thorough risk assessments on your network. This can be done through several methods, one including having a security expert visit your business to get an up-close look at your system. This process can also be done remotely.

Risk assessment isn't just a one-time service, as services can continue to analyze and test your network security on a routine basis to ensure that your system remains secured. Fortunately, most services you work with will help you determine what your network really needs.

Firewall/Secure Web Gateway

One of network security's most important components is a device to filter our traffic that goes in and out of a network. Web-based attacks can come in the form of malicious applications that get downloaded accidently or automatically if a user stumbles onto an unsecure website. Malware can download in the background without the user knowing as well. That's why it's important for networks to have a gatekeeping device to detect and stop malicious data from entering a network.

Firewalls are the most common way to do this, as they are loaded with a set of rules and filters to sort out traffic that's suspect or malicious. Like antimalware, they are usually backed by a database of known threats. The most advanced firewalls come in the form of devices that you install between your endpoints and your physical connection to the internet. There are also virtual and managed firewalls that are kept off site, but still filter through your traffic before it can go to any other IP address.

Another common technology used by network security services are secure web gateways. Like firewalls, they analyze traffic that's going in and out of your network. These types of devices are good for filtering specific content, as well as reporting suspicious traffic patterns. The function that sorts out certain traffic is called data loss prevention (DLP), which tries to prevent sensitive data belonging to the client from leaving the network or being sent to an unauthorized source. Things like credentials can be prevented from being sent to an untrusted party if the system detects it within the content.

A subcategory of this technology specifically monitors a business's email traffic. Email is the most common attack vector for hackers, so many services offer coverage specifically for filtering business email to prevent malware-laced spam and phishing.

Detection and Response

There are many types of applications that can fall under this category, including Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) or Intrusion Response System (IRS). Many services have applications that cover endpoints, cloud platforms or a combination of both. These types of programs do the bulk of the work identifying suspicious traffic or activity within the network and pinning it as a threat.

The best of these systems are normally backed up by a threat intelligence system that's powered by big data and machine learning, which can distinguish intruding, malicious traffic from the rest. They can take down known malware threats, but more importantly they are the key to finding unknown, zero-day attacks and advanced persistent threats. For even more advanced threats, services can deploy the expertise of their human security analysts to examine especially pervasive threats in the case of an emergency such as an imminent data breach.

Few services are a one size-fits all solution, and not all of them feature everything you may need for a comprehensive security stack. However, the services reviewed here are all quality platforms that offer state of the art cybersecurity technology and quality customer service. 

Reviews

Map

FireEye
601 McCarthy Blvd.
Milpitas, CA
FireEye
AT&T Business
208 S. Akard Street
Dallas, TX
AT&T Business
Core Security
1000 Holcomb Woods Parkway
Roswell, GA
Core Security

Services

List of 6Best Network Security Services

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