What are the uses, benefits or advantages of computer network security?

 Keith Osborne
 Principal Information Security Consultant
 IT Consultancy, ICL

Since much of contemporary Information handling and processing entails the passage of Data and Information across various types of networks, accordingly it is necessary that the networks themselves have the appropriate levels of security. Without the appropriate levels of security, networks are vulnerable to loss or corruption of Data and Information, either accidentally or deliberately.

 Bobby Gallon
 Sr Network Security Consultant
 Norbeck Technologies

Your question is open ended. The reason for that is because from a Novice perspective there are no uses, benefits nor advantages to network security.

A novice's core experience normally deals with computer virus -- if he can control that, what else is there to worry about? But take a step up -- and the doors to the kingdom are open.

To begin with, most people I talk to are really concerned with keeping their private lives private from their neighbors. Here is a concern. Depending on what state and city you live in:

  • the information about how much you paid for your house is listed,
  • your DMV information is listed,
  • and other things that you had no idea about can be obtained.

Secondly, from a home to Internet perspective the following scenario could occur.

  1. Someone could have downloaded software that collects the passwords to your bank accounts, jobs, etc and sends them to a remote machine.

  2. Your machine could be set up to perform a denial of service on another computer system, such as AOL.

  3. Your kids or friends could be talking to someone that you would want to know about. The tools that would allow you to know who is talking to your kids could be the same tools used to monitor your computer.

Finally, reverse this conversation and look at it from an employment perspective. Your employer has invested a lot of money in building the best security system, but now you log in one day to perform your duties. Unknowingly you have just let a hacker into your job environment. Is your job still safe?

MOST important thing today is that your medical records and billing information are now being shared with other organizations. Wouldn't you want them to protect your information more securely than your current employer does? If so, let them know.

 Kevin Townsend

The key concept is 'trust'. Life is now completely interwoven with computer networks, to such an extent that sudden denial of total computer services would be a major problem (just think back to the doomsday scenarios that were painted on the fear of widespread Y2K bug problems).

It is necessary, therefore, for us to trust the information that is held and used on computer networks. Without that trust we effectively have a cross between chaos and anarchy.

Security is what provides trust. Network security ensures (or attempts to ensure) that electronic information is accurate, trustworthy, and always available to or for use by those authorized to access or use it.

In other words, computer security has now become the bedrock of our society. The biggest single danger to the continuance of society as we know it is the potential breakdown of computer security.

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