What is enterprise network security?
Enterprise network security is the protection of a network that connects systems, mainframes, and devices―like smartphones and tablets―within an enterprise. Companies, universities, governments, and other entities use enterprise networks to help connect their users to information and people. As networks grow in size and complexity, security concerns also increase.
What security threats do enterprise wireless networks face?
Unlike wired networks, which have robust security tools—such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, content filters, and antivirus and anti-malware detection programs—wireless networks (also called Wi-Fi) provide wireless access points that can be susceptible to infiltration. Because they may lack the same protections as wired networks, wireless networks and devices can fall victim to a variety of attacks designed to gain access to an enterprise network. An attacker could gain access to an organization’s network through a wireless access point to conduct malicious activities—including packet sniffing, creating rouge access points, password theft, and man-in-the-middle attacks. These attacks could hinder network connectivity, slow processes, or even crash the organization’s system. (See Securing Wireless Networks for more information on threats to wireless networks.)
How can you minimize the risks to enterprise Wi-Fi networks?
Network security protocols have advanced to offset the constant evolution of attacks. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) incorporates Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and is the standard employed today to secure wireless enterprises. In June 2018, the Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying devices that support Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3), which replaces WPA2. Users should employ the new standards as WPA3 devices become available. IT security professionals and network administrators should also consider these additional best practices to help safeguard their enterprise Wi-Fi networks:
Employing active WIDS/WIPS enables network administrators to create and enforce wireless security by monitoring, detecting, and mitigating potential risks. Both WIDS and WIPS will detect and automatically disconnect unauthorized devices. WIDS provides the ability to automatically monitor and detect the presence of any unauthorized, rogue access points, while WIPS deploys countermeasures to identified threats. Some common threats mitigated by WIPS are rogue access points, misconfigured access points, client misassociation, unauthorized association, man-in-the-middle attacks, ad-hoc networks, Media Access Control spoofing, honeypot/evil twin attacks, and denial-of-service attacks.
The following list includes best practices to secure WIDS/WIPS sensor networks. Administrators should tailor these practices based on local considerations and applicable compliance requirements. For more in-depth guidance, see A Guide to Securing Networks for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 Family).
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