Network security software helps network administrators keep track and neutralize unauthorized access or denial of network resources through phishing, Trojan horses, spyware, worms, and other vendor-specific vulnerabilities. There is a wide range of specific security products that help administrators secure networks. This means there is not a single profile for network security software, but rather a spectrum of capabilities tailor to specific security needs.
It is imperative for enterprises to protect themselves from potentially harmful traffic. Many network security software have focused on enterprise network security, given the scale of the network risks enterprises face. However, network security has become a more pressing issue for SMBs as more processes become digital or cloud-based. Network security vendors have responded to this growing SMB demand by providing software scaled for smaller organizations with fewer in-house IT or security specialists.
As companies strive to protect their computer systems, data and people from cyber attack, many have invested heavily in network security tools designed to protect the network perimeter from viruses, worms, DDoS attacks and other threats. Fewer companies have invested in application security testing, which is intended to eradicate flaws and vulnerabilities from applications that could open the door to other kinds of attacks.
1. What is network security software?
Network security software is used to assist IT teams to enhance the security of a network. The software proactively monitors the network to secure it from attacks and unauthorized intrusions. These software solutions are designed to constantly monitor the network traffic for legitimate traffic and notify the IT security department of any abnormal events for further investigation.
2. The benefits of network security software
With one hacker attack taking place every 39 seconds, the need for having network security cannot be denied. A network security system not only secures the network and the data within from external attacks but also helps to lay down policies for running network operations at optimum efficiency.
- Protection against malicious activities: Implementing a network security system safeguards businesses from both external and internal attacks including malware, viruses, spyware, and trojans. It constantly updates its virus signature base to safeguard networks against both old and new threats.
- Monitor network settings: One of the many purposes of using network security software is to keep networks running without any disruptions. Network slowdown or failures can halt business operations. The software constantly monitors the network performance and alerts administrators as soon as it senses any abnormalities in its operations. This helps to ensure businesses operate in an uninterrupted environment, making them more productive.
3. Typical features of network security software
- Activity monitoring: Monitor network activity and performance and alert administrators as soon as the system senses any abnormality.
- Access control: Grant user permissions to users with a specific role and ensure that permissions only allow a set of users to access the approved network settings.
- Threat response: Identify security threats and initiate remediation.
- Vulnerability scanning: Discover vulnerability issues and take precautionary measures to combat the attack.
- Intrusion detection system: Identify and alert the necessary parties about security breaches.
- Reporting/analytics: View and track pertinent metrics.
4. The cost of network security software
Most products in the market are priced on a “per agent, per month” basis and can be divided into three pricing tiers based on their starting price.
- $0 – $10
- $10 – $85
*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering that was found on vendor websites on January 21, 2020. These ranges correspond to 25th, 75th, and 100th percentile of the pricing information gathered from the vendor websites of sample products.
The above list summarizes pricing for the base plans of most products. An enterprise or premium product, which is priced higher, may include some additional features such as in-depth reporting, multi-tenancy, and custom branding.
5. Considerations when purchasing network security software
- Implementation time: When all software applications are offering more or less the same set of features, then one of the key differentiation factors to look for is implementation time. The software that offers simple and quick implementation has a great advantage over other options. Take into account the length of time a vendor says it will take to deploy its solution and how long it will take to see the actual results.
- Be flexible and anticipate future growth: Networks are not static. They will expand in scale and capability as your business grows over time. Make sure the software you choose and the plan you opt for allows you to add more devices and nodes easily to your existing network infrastructure without charging heavily for the expansion. Also, avoid purchasing software applications that are too rigid in deployment and non-scalable, as you might be forced to change the entire existing network infrastructure and pay for the new one when your business grows exponentially.
- Don’t miss out on big players just to save money: Securing your network data is a very crucial and high-priority task for all businesses. You should not ignore high-end vendors simply for cheaper subscription plans, as cheaper solutions might not be as frequently updated with the latest virus signature databases and may not have the best tools to comply with ever-changing security regulations. Without the latest signature database, your networks are equally as prone to threats as a system without any safety in place. Ask the vendors how frequently they update their signature database and when was the last time that they did those updates?
6. Relevant network security software trends
- Network security software market expected to grow: Hundreds of viruses and malware are being deployed over the internet daily and the number of cyber attacks are increasing year over year. With that, almost all businesses, irrespective of their sector and size, will start deploying network security solutions to safeguard their business assets and data. This will trigger the growth of the network security software market in the coming years. There are various market reports that predict that the network security software market will reach USD 22.8 billion by 2024 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11%.