A computer network refers to a number of computers that are connected to a primary server, from which the computers may share and exchange information and programs. Network security analysis is the act of monitoring a network for flaws that may allow those from outside the network to view or intercept potentially sensitive information. There are a number of factors taken into account by a professional or specialist who is analyzing the security of a network. It may be most important for this specialist to ensure that all security components are functioning well and are up to date.
Network security analysis may begin with the authorization or authentication of users on the network. This is most commonly achieved by requiring a user to enter a name and password in order to log in. Because this information can sometimes be guessed or stolen by potential network intruders, an analyst will often check for factors such as password complexity. In more advanced systems, authentication may be checked through use of fingerprint or voice recognition.
Next, network security analysis should involve the testing of a network's firewall. The firewall is a component of network security that is responsible for restricting certain users from accessing certain kinds of privileged information. While this component is effective in restricting the access of those who are already permitted to enter a network, it's important to understand that a firewall cannot scan for viruses, worms, or malware, which are designed to cause harmful malfunctions in networks.
For this reason, network security analysis should also include the testing of virus scans. These are components that are meant to check all types of incoming data for potentially harmful elements. Because worms, viruses, and malware often develop or evolve quickly, an important aspect of network security analysis is updating virus scanning programs. This is a process in which the analyst makes sure that the antivirus software is capable of detecting the most current kinds of malware that may infect a network.
Finally, security network analysis varies from context to context. For example, a home or small business network may only need well functioning firewall and authorization components, as well as capable antivirus programs. Large corporations and governments, on the other hand, should also be analyzed for programs that encrypt information, making it difficult to read for those who are not permitted, as well as highly secured hardware. Institutions such as schools, where children access networks, may include components that impair them from opening certain websites that include inappropriate material.