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Talkin’ Tech: Security

Knowing some common terms can help your security efforts

Your network is a critical business asset that keeps your company competitive. You depend on your network for the most important aspects of your business—from delivering the applications employees need to do their jobs to providing the ability to communicate with customers, partners, and mobile workers. You can’t risk having your network—or the data that resides on it—compromised by a security breach or attack.

There’s a lot to know about security in order to protect your network. Following up to the previous Talkin’ Tech topic, this installment includes a list of the key terms you should be familiar with to help you understand and build your security strategy.

If there’s a term we didn’t include that you’d like defined, please let us know!

Security Glossary

  • Acceptable use policy: A set of rules that describes how employees may use the company network and computer resources, including the Internet, and the consequences for not following these rules.
  • Access control and least privilege: The practice of giving users access to only the information and resources they need to do their jobs and enforcing the right level of access.  For example, an employee may have access to the company payroll system, but can only see their own payroll information and cannot give themselves a change in pay
  • Access Control Lists (ACL): Either a list of permissions that defines privileges or access for a particular user or group of users to access particular data or applications on the network or a set of access rules for network traffic flow on a network between networks and/or devices and/or applications.
  • Antivirus software: Used to detect, prevent, and remove viruses and malware from infected email, files or websites before they spread from the infected system to other systems.
  • Attack: An action taken against a target with the intention of doing harm, such as installing malicious software on a computer.
  • Compliance and validation: The efforts made to adhere to government or industry mandated security protect regulations followed up by 3rd party certification that the protections are in place and working.
  • Content security: The use of software or other technology to help protect from the theft of confidential information and violations of acceptable use policies or compliance mandates.
  • Cyber crime: Any criminal act involving computers and networks, including traditional crimes conducted via the Internet.
  • Denial of Service (DoS): A type of attack designed to cripple a network or server by flooding it with useless traffic that it must deal with making it unavailable to service valid traffic.
  • Firewall: Either a hardware device or software program that controls access, blocking and allowing traffic, to an entire network or individual computers, respectively.

Hackers: Refers to individuals who gain unauthorized access to computers and networks.

  • Incident response plan: A policy that defines what a security breach or attack is and how to manage it to minimize damage, recovery time and cost.
  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS): A security appliance that monitors a network for malicious activity based on rules and policies set up by an administrator.

  • Malware: Short for “malicious software,” malware can refer to a variety of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software, including viruses, worms, key loggers, and dishonest spyware.
  • Network security: Protecting the data, computers, servers, storage devices and other devices connected to a network from unwanted intrusions.
  • Phishing: Fraudulent attempts by cybercriminals to obtain private information, often masquerading in email messages from legitimate sources.
  • Security appliance: A stand-alone devices, such as a firewall or intrusion prevention system, used to provide a security function for a network.
  • Spam: In the security context, spam is primarily used to describe email spam—unwanted or harmful messages in your email inbox.
  • Unified threat management: An all-in-one solution that combines several security functions into a single network appliance to protect a network.

  • Virtual private network (VPN): A connection that uses encryption and authentication to create a private tunnel for protecting your data as it traverses an untrusted or public network, including the Internet, allowing secure access to network assets and data at remote locations.
  • Virus: A piece of software that spreads from one infected computer to another, possibly corrupting, stealing, or deleting data on the infected system. A virus could also use other programs like an email application to spread itself to other computers.
  • Vulnerability: A weakness in an operating system, application, or hardware device that allows an attacker to gain access to a network, device or information.

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