Routing and Switching Basics for Cyber and Network Security | ECPI University

Routing and Switching Basics for Cyber and Network Security

Interested in the field of cyber and network security? One important aspect you'll need to know about is routing and switching. Routing and switching are the two main functions of a network. Their purpose is to connect the different segments of your network infrastructure.

Let’s take a look at what routers and switches actually do, what their role is with regard to network security, and the latest developments in routing and switching technology that are occurring in the world at this very moment.

Switching Basics for Cyber and Network Security

Network switches are used to connect computers and servers into a single network. The switch performs the function of a controller and allows the devices within a network to communicate with each other. This action is performed through packet switching, where data is received, processed, and forwarded to its destination from one computer to another. Information sharing as well as resource allocation through switching allows businesses to save money while improving productivity.

Routing Basics for Cyber and Network Security

While switches connect computers within a single network, routers are used to connect entire networks to each other. Data packets are received, processed, and forwarded from one network to another. Routing allows computers to link through the internet, thus allowing for information sharing between different networking systems.

Difference between Routing and Switching

Whereas switching creates a single network made up of individual computers, routing connects entire networks to each other. Routers perform a role similar to that of switches, but on a much larger scale. Thus, a router essentially acts as a dispatcher of data through the most efficient channels between networks.

Network Security Basics

What does routing and switching have to do with network security? Since information between computers and larger networks is transferred using routers and switches, they become the primary targets for hacking and information leaking. Thus, to ensure network security, it becomes essential to protect routers and switches against outside tampering.

Facets of Router and Switch Security

Router and switch security is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, and mainly deals with the following security concerns:

1. User Authentication

This involves any measures taken within a computer or a network, to ensure the computer user's identity. ID theft is becoming increasingly more common in the digital world, making it an increasingly important facet of network security.

2. Next Gen Firewalls

An integrated platform that is used to combine the traditional firewall with other network filtering devices to provide greater network security. The platform performs several security checks simultaneously through data packet inspection, and employing some manner of intrusion and prevention system, along with antivirus inspection and third party integration.

3. Intrusion Detection

This is a software or device feature that is used to monitor a computer or a network of computers in order to detect malicious activity or possible violations of network policy. In the event of a problem being detected that could compromise network security, the software sends an immediate alert to the relevant authorities, and, depending on the setting, takes some form of action to shut down the lines of communication with the device posing a threat.

4. Intrusion Prevention

The purpose of this kind of software is to take a preemptive approach towards network security. The device is programmed to actively take part in the identification of potential threats to network security and take swift action against them before the threat becomes a reality. Similar to an intrusion detection system, an intrusion prevention system monitors network traffic, but plays a more directly active role in neutralizing threats to security.

5. Port Level Filters and Checks

Thanks to the internet, information can be shared more quickly than ever, through the world wide network. The improvement in data sharing has also resulted in increasingly more mobile methods of data collection and transfer, such as thumb drives and hard disks. In order to ensure the network security is not threatened by these external devices, various port filters are available for the monitoring and detection of malicious software hiding within the external drives, which can enter the network through ports which are left unguarded.

The Future of Router and Switch Security

Routers and switches are becoming more intelligent, and are starting to incorporate features that are found in enterprise level data centers. Modern security features incorporate login blocking capabilities in case of wrong authentication information, preventing unauthorized devices from becoming a part of the network and prioritizing data traffic so that certain data packets are allowed to enter the network, while suspicious traffic is blocked automatically.

Port mirroring is also used to copy traffic from an unfiltered port to a secure port that can monitor and control the traffic. Network virtualization is another step forward towards intelligent routers and switches that can combine different LANs into a single super network.

Can you see yourself navigating the world of cyber security?

If you’d like to know more about routing and switching, consider ECPI University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Cyber and Network Security. Contact an admissions counselor today to discuss this or other technology programs. It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

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