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How to Learn Network Security: Find the Best Courses and Certificates

Joyce Manrique - December 09, 2020


As access to information in the digital world increases, cyberattacks have also been on the rise. Even major corporations have been hacked. So, how can you deal with threats to your company’s website and information?

There are many forms of hacking and most threats are disguised. It could come in the form of a normal-looking email, but when you click on the link, your personal data could be compromised.

Network security has become very important over the years. Without it, personal and business systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Network security has paved the way for more secure digital systems.

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What Is Network Security?

Often used interchangeably with information security and cybersecurity, network security is all about ensuring that data or information transfers between devices are safe. This is done by checking that information has remained the same from when it was sent to when it is received by another device.

Network security ensures that viruses and hackers cannot attack sent data. Viruses are usually aimed at destroying this data, while hackers will attempt to steal digital property.

In essence, network security will prevent unauthorized access to your network. The growing use of technology has made companies and individuals more susceptible to attacks. Having strong web security will help keep your data from being compromised.

What Is Network Security Used For?

Network security is a product of the many improvements in information technology. It is used to ensure the integrity of a network and its data, including software and hardware.

There are three main ways that network security is used. Let’s review them below.

  • Physical network security protects access points for devices using routers or biometrics. At certain establishments, biometrics are required before you can come in.
  • Technical network security offers two layers of protection. These security controls ensure that data can’t be accessed by unauthorized personnel. Additionally, sensitive data is also secured against possible malicious intent by employees.
  • Administrative network security is a control put in place to monitor the behavior of a device user. If there is suspicious activity, the administrator can immediately override it.

Types of Network Security

Several types of network security are used to provide different layers of protection, thanks to tireless advancements in computer science. Let’s look at a few of these below.

Generation Firewall

A firewall is a barrier that prevents spyware and malicious software from entering your device. The firewall does not simply scan alien objects, but also tracks their movements.

A firewall is considered the first line of defense in any device. It protects the inner workings of a system to prevent outside attacks. This is especially important when accessing the Internet because it opens your computer up to access by outside networks that can’t be trusted.

One of the well-known types of firewalls is a proxy firewall. This prevents outside networks from connecting directly to your network.

Anti-Virus Software

Computers and devices are both susceptible to viruses. Viruses can take many forms, including adware, malware, ransomware, and the most common, called Trojan. These viruses directly attack the applications and files on a device without the user knowing.

Like an actual virus that attacks a person’s immune system, the nature of a virus is to replicate and infect the programs and files on a computer. Antivirus software works by identifying suspicious files to protect the computer.

The software will first scan for potential viruses to check for any suspicious signs. If you receive an alert that there is an infected file on your device, you must immediately delete it.

Intrusion Prevention System

An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) operates similarly to a firewall. However, an IPS is more concerned with deterring attackers from a vulnerable system. It is a system that locates malicious activity and preemptively blocks it to prevent damage.

Firewall and IPS are often used simultaneously, with the IPS functioning as the second layer of protection. The IPS monitors traffic flow on the Internet, and if a site registers as malicious, the IPS will send an alert to the device in use.

Making sure that your IPS is activated will help prevent issues from arising.

Virtual Private Networks

Companies commonly use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to ensure that their data and files are protected. A lot of organizations will also use them to improve connectivity speeds and balance bandwidth use.

As a network security option, a VPN will give you privacy and anonymity online, which is especially useful if you are connecting to a public network. It will conceal your IP address, which can be used to trace your location and reveal your identity.

With increased Internet access, there has also been a rise in people looking to take advantage of it. A VPN connection will help ensure that your personal information is not being compromised.

Learning Network Security

There are many types of security you can take advantage of to make sure your devices and data are safe. For example, if you are concerned about email security, there are now platforms available that have two-factor authentication.

There are many types of jobs available in network security. One possible path is educational institutions, most of which have computer labs that are monitored by network administrators who have undergone network security training to deliver on their duty.

Are you ready to learn about network security? If so, read on to see how you can get started on the learning process.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Network Security?

One thing’s for sure, you can’t learn network security overnight. There are many elements to the subject and you must understand the rationale behind all of them. This way, you will be able to come up with your own network security solutions.

There are many courses and classes available to you as you start learning. These network security classes will help you meet all necessary learning requirements and will give you all the resources you need to succeed. To master network security, make sure you are committed and have plenty of time to study.

How to Learn Network Security: Step-by-Step

Learning network security is achievable, but commitment is essential. Before you sign up for a formal class, you might want to follow these basic first steps to gauge whether you are ready to commit.

  1. Study the basics of network security . First, you should learn the basics of network security. This does not have to be an in-depth study, but familiarizing yourself with the terms will help you get a better idea of the field.
  2. Browse network security resources. You may want to look through a variety of resources, like YouTube videos and blogs. These will come in handy when you are taking a class.
  3. Join a cybersecurity bootcamp . Join a class that will allow you to earn a network security certification. Make sure that the certificate will be acknowledged and accepted by employers. Network security should be taught by experts, so make sure you invest properly in your education.
  4. Earn a degree. If an online class is not for you, you can attend university in person to earn a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. Formal education will give you a better overall understanding of the topic.

The Best Network Security Courses and Training

You can start studying network security on your own with the help of these cybersecurity online courses from a wide variety of academic sources.

Each institution offers a different approach to the subject, and you will find some overlap among the topics covered below. Nonetheless, here are a few selections you should consider signing up for.

Coursera – Network Security & Database Vulnerability

Price: Free

Certificate: Available

This free course on Network Security & Database Vulnerability is offered for free by IBM through Coursera. It is designed for beginners, so it is OK to come in blind, although it might be useful to have some background.

As the course is for beginners, it mostly covers the basics of network security, such as local area networks and IPs. It also has a section on how security systems affect organizations and companies.

The course also discusses the various types of network breaches. As you learn about them, you will be able to identify them in real life, which is a key part of becoming a cybersecurity professional.

Udemy – The Complete Cyber Security Course: Network Security

Price : $119.99
Certificate : Available

Part of Udemy’s Cyber Security Course package, this class on network security deals with private and home security. It includes discussions on hacking techniques, and how to scan your computer for vulnerability so you can get familiar with cyber threats.

As this course is about home and private security, it also covers wireless security, and how you can strengthen your personal defenses. The class also covers search engine privacy and browser security.

If you are interested in learning even more about network security, you can enroll in the entire Cyber Security Course lecture package.

Harvard – Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age

Price : N/A
Certificate : Available

This eighth-week Harvard course is taught by Eric Rosenbach. It requires that you spend a total of 8 to 11 hours in online sessions each week. There is a new module each week, covering all topics of cybersecurity, including network security.

Business risk is the main focus of this course. It will help you identify all kinds of security threats so you can find better network security solutions for your business.

There is also a module on the legal aspects of cybersecurity. Being equipped with this legal knowledge will enhance your appreciation of network security.

edX – Network Security

Price : Free
Certificate : Available for $249

The Rochester Institute of Technology hosts this course, which covers network auditing and how to plan for threats and attacks. The course runs for eight weeks and you must be willing to commit 10 to 12 hours per week.

Specifically, this course will help you identify the different kinds of attacks happening inside a network. It will expose you to all types of network vulnerabilities so that you can build defenses against them.

The syllabus also covers network security topics such as password cracking and control list access. Overall, this course will help you understand how to remedy system attacks.

edX – Introduction to Network Security

Price : Free
Certificate : Available for $166

New York University offers this class as part of its Cybersecurity Fundamentals MicroBachelors program. This course will give you an in-depth look at malicious network attacks.

This introductory course also covers ethical hacking skills, but you must first understand how attacks occur. After learning about attacks, you can then progress to learn how to remedy the problem.

In this class, the learning is self-paced, but you will be expected to commit 8-10 hours per week for five weeks.

Should You Study Network Security?

There are many ways to keep your systems secured against threats. Malicious intent is everywhere online, which is why there is a continuous need for network defenders. Network security is an important part of the growth in the digital world.

If you want to break into the IT industry, network security is one of the topics you should learn. To safeguard the integrity of information and data, you must learn how attacks occur so you can gain the skills to prevent them.

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Joyce Manrique

About the author: Joyce covers online courses, learning platforms, and tech careers for the Career Karma publication. She graduated with her AB in Philosophy and her BS in Management of Financial Institutions from De La Salle University. After graduation, she found immediate success in the finance sector of an oil and gas company. After some years, she decided to pursue her love of writing, leading her to join the Career Karma team in October 2020. Her work has been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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