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Building Networks as a Service with Secure Gateways

Networks as a Service (NaaS) are network services that are rented out over the cloud. This can save organizations on funding and resources that would otherwise have gone towards maintaining infrastructure and lets them put all the requirements for maintenance out of house. All that said, there are more than enough ways any data coming in or out of the cloud can be compromised. These are some critical tools that could help in the construction of NaaS.

Use a VPN

A VPN - or Virtual Private Network - is a type of service designed to protect a user’s connection to public networks by masking their internet traffic and their IP address.  This means that the user’s ISP (internet service provider) or any other third parties cannot see what websites the user has visited and anything they do get will be heavily encrypted gibberish.  Even if any criminal activity does compromise any information, it would take them years to fully decrypt that information to the point of making it an unfeasible venture.  Additionally, it disguises the user’s location, keeping the user safe from the likes of doxxing or identity thieves.  For some extra information, check this video out for more:

Split Tunneling

On the topic of VPNs, VPNs offer control over what content is masked and what is on public routes to the internet.  This is called Split Tunneling.  While it may not be ideal for all organizations, it does carry some benefits.  VPNs do slow traffic to some extent, so there is a tradeoff to letting some activity go unencrypted.  Additionally, for Locally Accessed Networks (LANs) or off-site workers, a VPN might block some access, requiring unencrypted traffic or access points.

Private DNS

A Domain Name System - or DNS - effectively keeps a log of all IP addresses and works to convert them into domain names.  However, these can serve as vectors for malware attacks, DDoS attacks, or ransomware attacks.  Cutting out the middleman with a private DNS means no one can directly peer at what IPs the user have had access to.  With fewer network nodes being accessed, the fewer chances there are for attackers to take advantage of.

DNS Filtering

While on the topic, DNS requests first go through a DNS resolver.  DNS resolvers can be configured to refuse certain queries for domains that are tracked on a blocklist or allowlist, preventing the user from gaining access to that domain.  So if an employee is tricked into clicking a phishing link, the request goes to the filter, and the IP address isn’t greenlit, that request is denied.  Additionally, the resolver can be set up to evaluate the JavaScript of the site beforehand and add the IP address to the blocklist automatically.

Update your Antivirus

Eventually, viruses can make it through an organization’s established network defenses.  Under those circumstances, it’s good to have a well-rounded antivirus that’s fully updated on hand to help find the malware and remove it.  Otherwise, that malware can steal data, encrypt it, wipe it, or make the jump to other computers within a company’s organization to further replicate and cause further damage.

Public and Private Networks

Local networks and internet access points can be configured as such and it’s important to understand the difference.  Public networks are set up where discovery features and functionality that allows users to discover other devices on the same network are shut off by default.  Counterwise, private networks have these settings turned on so that users can easily share files between devices.  That said, usually, private networks have all their infrastructure kept on-site and managed by the company itself to keep latency low and information easily accessed.

Firewall as a Service

Unlike traditional firewalls, Firewalls as a Service (FaaS) are deployed from the cloud across a network.  Where normal firewalls typically struggle with adapting to scale and network demands simultaneously, FaaS has the capacity to meet both and is much more capable of securing data, locking down endpoints, and carrying out security inspections.  Instead of just camping out at the organization’s data center, a FaaS can be used to protect all members of the organization, preventing a compromise from one of the countless endpoints a company will now have.

Closing Thoughts

There are plenty of tools and concepts that should be implemented with a NaaS, especially in regard to security.  Copious amounts of data - especially of confidential nature - will be constantly directed through such services and it’s of such importance to various organizations that it remains well outside of the wrong hands.  As such threats continue to evolve, so to the security defenses that are implemented with networks as globally widespread in order to continuously combat them.

Dolan Cleary
Dolan Cleary

I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and am now working with AllCode as a web technician.

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