WHAT IS COMPUTER NETWORKING?
Computer networking refers to interconnected computing devices that can exchange data and share resources with each other. These networked devices use a system of rules, called communications protocols, to transmit information over physical or wireless technologies.
How does a computer network work?
Nodes and links are the basic building blocks in computer networking. A network node may be data communication equipment (DCE) such as a modem, hub or, switch, or data terminal equipment (DTE) such as two or more computers and printers. A link refers to the transmission media connecting two nodes. Links may be physical, like cable wires or optical fibers, or free space used by wireless networks.
In a working computer network, nodes follow a set of rules or protocols that define how to send and receive electronic data via the links. The computer network architecture defines the design of these physical and logical components. It provides the specifications for the network’s physical components, functional organization, protocols, and procedures.
What are the types of computer network architecture?
Computer network design falls under two broad categories:
1. Client-server architecture
In this type of computer network, nodes may be servers or clients. Server nodes provide resources like memory, processing power, or data to client nodes. Server nodes may also manage client node behavior. Clients may communicate with each other, but they do not share resources. For example, some computer devices in enterprise networks store data and configuration settings. These devices are the servers in the network. Clients may access this data by making a request to the server machine.
2. Peer-to-peer architecture
In Peer-to-Peer (P2P) architecture, connected computers have equal powers and privileges. There is no central server for coordination. Each device in the computer network can act as either client or server. Each peer may share some of its resources, like memory and processing power, with the entire computer network. For example, some companies use P2P architecture to host memory-consuming applications, such as 3-D graphic rendering, across multiple digital devices.
What Is Cisco Enterprise Networking
“Enterprise network” denotes the IT infrastructure that midsize and large organizations use to provide connectivity among users, devices, and applications. The goal is to support the organizations’ objectives by consistently delivering connected digital services reliably and securely to workers, partners, customers, and, increasingly, also things.
Enterprise networking architecture
What does an enterprise network comprise?
While an enterprise network needs to deliver end-to-end services to users, things, and applications, it may consist of separate but connected constituent domains. Typically, each constituent network is designed, provisioned, and optimized for its own purpose and business objectives. Constituent network types include:
- Campus, branch, and Internet of Things (IoT): These networks provide fixed and mobile access to users and things. They are present in all areas of an organization, both in offices and in operational spaces such as manufacturing and warehouse facilities. These networks are optimized for transparent, secure access and high density.
- Data center and hybrid clouds: These networks connect to and among applications, workloads, and data, within on-premises data centers and private and public cloud services. They’re optimized for low latency, security, and mission-critical reliability.
- Wide-area networks (WANs): These networks connect facilities, buildings, or campuses to other branches, to data centers, or to cloud resources. They’re optimized for user experience and bandwidth efficiency.
How are enterprise networks evolving?
- Providing a foundation for the modern digital enterprise: Increasingly, networks are expected to improve security, enhance user experience, and support many devices performing essential business tasks. Well-designed enterprise networks support a variety of users, devices, smart things, and applications to provide consistent assured service.
- Using network controllers: As the command and control centers of modern enterprise networks, controllers orchestrate all functions of the network. They perform tasks such as translating business objectives into policies, automating network device operations, performance monitoring, and troubleshooting.
- Expanding scope: As the number of network transactions originating or terminating outside of traditional corporate perimeters increases–owing to trends such as expansion to multiple public clouds, mobility, and working from home–the network needs to extend visibility, control, and security to wherever users, things, and applications are located.
- Integrating enterprisewide: Enterprises are now adopting a holistic, open networking strategy that integrates across constituent network domains and with applications and IT systems. Such integrations enable consistent performance, streamlined operations, improved compliance, and security enforcement throughout the organization.
Advantages of an optimized enterprise network
A well-designed enterprise network provides the proper connectivity for all users, things, devices, and applications present in an organization, as appropriate for the role, purpose, and location of each.
Optimized user experience
An enterprise network can help improve the user experience through proactive network optimization, faster issue resolution, proper prioritization of essential traffic, and helping to ensure security and privacy.
Readiness for digital transformation
An enterprise network can be designed to support digital initiatives needed to quickly adapt to rapidly evolving needs, including expansion, scaling, growth, and introduction of new services.
Easier network management
Network management tools such as network controllers give administrators the ability to set access rules and permissions for users and departments, add new users or functions easily, and monitor performance and take corrective action, all from a central interface.
In addition to security applications and devices, such as firewalls and secure Internet gateways, an enterprise network becomes a primary detector of threats and an enforcer of security and compliance. It does so with device identification, profiling, and verification, network monitoring, authentication, access controls, segmentation, and device and account management.
Flexible software subscriptions
Enterprise networks that use subscription-based licensing get continuous access to the latest networking and security innovations. They are better able to keep pace with their expanding demands as technologies and requirements change.
Seamless cloud integration
As more and more data and applications are developed, deployed, and delivered across multiple public clouds, enterprise networks provide seamless connectivity between users and cloud applications. They also optimize workloads between on-premises locations and public clouds.
Trends in enterprise networking
Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and newly opened frequency bands for ultra-fast, short-range transmissions are enabling access to high-speed wireless connectivity for more users and IoT devices in more settings. At the same time, 400 Gbps is the new standard for high-speed data center networks. These innovations are spurring productivity enhancements and continued innovation across organizations.
Automated and intelligent networks
Increasingly, network management is being automated, with software that can recognize connected devices, profile them, and determine whether they can be trusted. They can detect performance problems or potential threats and respond automatically. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and machine reasoning (MR) are now making networks smarter by adapting to the unique needs of each organization and customizing recommendations.
More and more enterprises are aligning their networks to intent-based networking (IBN) principles. Intent-based networks use advanced analytics along with software-defined networking (SDN)-based automation to continuously align network performance to changing business needs. They capture business intent, translate it into policies that can be applied consistently across the network, and continuously monitor and adjust network performance to help achieve desired business outcomes.
Widespread mobility and cloud adoption require an enhanced approach to protecting users, applications, and data. A zero-trust security framework helps to prevent unauthorized access, contain breaches, and reduce the risk of an attacker’s lateral movement through the network.
5 Fundamental Best Practices for Enterprise Security
Companies should never remain complacent on its present best practices and strategies for enterprise security. Criminals are always trying to stay a step ahead by bypassing security systems that are in place. Unless your security systems continually evolve, and go through a process of upgrades, it would be difficult to keep your valuable data protected from theft or unlawful distribution.
How do we fortify our security systems? It all starts with developing a foundation for enterprise security, which begins with these five basic tools.
1. Your first line of defense are firewalls.
This is your first line of defense. A firewall dictates what data flows through and where it should go. Firewalls keep unwanted files from breaching your network and compromising your assets.
The standard process for instituting firewalls is just at the external perimeter of your network. But an increasingly popular strategy is to include internal firewalls.
This is one of the latest best practices adopted by several companies. It provides a second line of defense and keeps suspicious external network traffic away.
Firewalls are fast evolving. Many are able to control the flow of data by identifying the type of application used.
2. Use a secure router to police the flow of traffic.
Routers are used by networks mainly to police the flow of traffic. But routers are actually complete with security features.
There are some routers that have better security features than a firewall. These include the following:
- Intrusion Defense System (IDS) functionality
- Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) functionality
- Service and traffic functionality tools
- Strong Virtual Private Network (VPN) data encryption
An IDS is different from an IPS. An IPS functions more like a firewall with more complex guidelines for qualifying data flow. An IDS functions like a traffic monitoring system, identifying potential breaches at different points of the network. Having both greatly improves your best practices.
3. Have a Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2).
A WPA2 is popularly used on wi-fi networks. It is much better than its predecessor and uses stronger wireless encryption methods.
This system is more difficult for hackers and cyber-criminals to break. WPA2 comes with different types of encryption.
The first is Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). It was introduced as a support encryption system to the original WPA. TKIP is no longer considered a valuable encryption system and is largely disregarded by best practices and strategies.
Then there’s an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). This is a high-level encryption system that is used even by the U.S. government. AES is a standard feature for WPA2 although the TKIP feature remains available to be compatible with legacy devices.
If you have a router, make sure to turn on the WPA2 feature to protect your network. Without it, the Safety of your own network can easily be compromised.
A person, who can breach your network, can slow it down or gain access and retrieve valuable information such as passwords and bank account numbers.
4. Keep your email secure.
Your email is a highly sought after target by black hat hackers. It is not uncommon to receive email from suspicious sources.
Phishing, or the act of receiving an email from a fraudulent source, has become increasingly effective with 30 percent of these emails actually opened.
These spurious emails often find their way into the spam folder and contain malware, viruses and worms, intended to disrupt your system or retrieve valuable data.
Keep in mind that 86% of the world’s emails are spam; they are unwanted and unsolicited. Even though the latest email filters are able to remove most of your spam emails, you should continue to update your current protocols.
If more spam email is getting through your current filtering system it only means you are at greater risk of getting malware.
5. Use web security.
In the same Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, it stated that attacks against web applications have increased at an alarming rate, with 51 percent of the victims being financial institutions.
Attacks are becoming more complex and frequent, which makes simple URL filtering no longer sufficient. Among the features that should be considered for a robust web security system are:
- AV Scanning
- Malware Scanning
- IP reputation awareness
- Dynamic URL categorization techniques
- Data leakage prevention function
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