What is Network Security Infrastructure?

Network security infrastructure consists of a set of solutions designed to protect an organization’s network against cyber threats. As corporate networks grow larger and more distributed with the rise of cloud computing and remote work, network security infrastructure is essential to monitor and defend this expanded digital attack surface.

Components of Network Security Infrastructure

A corporate network security architecture must protect the organization and its systems against a wide range of cyber threats. Accomplishing this requires several network security capabilities. Below, we take a look at some of the most common components of a corporate network security infrastructure.

Firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

Firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) define and secure the perimeter of a corporate network. Firewalls filter traffic, blocking unauthorized inbound and outbound traffic. An IDS can identify malicious attacks such as malware and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and then alert the security team.

Cloud Security

As organizations increasingly invest in cloud infrastructure, cloud security is a vital component of a network security strategy. Cloud-specific security solutions – such as cloud access security brokers (CASB) – can help identify and address common, cloud-specific security threats.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a widely used remote access solution. A remote access VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between a remote user’s computer and the corporate network. This encrypted tunnel protects traffic flowing over a public network from eavesdropping or data manipulation.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) offers secure remote access while implementing zero trust security principles. Unlike VPNs, which provide “Implicit Trust” and grant equal access upon authorization, ZTNA offers per-session-based (explicit trust) access using least privilege access controls, which grants legitimate users only the minimum set of permissions required for their role.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS)

Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) is a network protocol designed to enhance the security of network traffic. SSL/TLS creates an encrypted, authenticated tunnel between a client and a server. For example, HTTPS uses SSL/TLS to protect insecure HTTP traffic for web browsing.

Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

Many cyberattacks – including phishing and drive-by downloads – may rely on the victim browsing to a compromised or malicious webpage. A secure web gateway (SWG) filters web traffic, enabling an organization to identify malicious traffic or block access to websites based on reputation filtering, threat intelligence, corporate policies, or other criteria.

Behavioral Analytics

As cyber threats expand, enterprise networks require enhanced tools to detect anomalous behavior patterns. Behavioral analytics allows enterprises to monitor and analyze the behavior and traffic patterns of users, systems, and networks to detect anomalies, identify potential threats, and enhance overall security.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data breaches can be an expensive and damaging security threat to an organization. Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions allow enterprises to define sensitive data and prevent unauthorized removal or exfiltration of this data.

Best Practices for Network Security Infrastructure

Purchasing the right network security products provides limited benefits if they aren’t deployed, configured, and used correctly. The following best practices can help to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of a corporate network security infrastructure.

Network Segmentation

Network segmentation is the practice of breaking a corporate network up into multiple pieces based on systems’ roles and trust levels. Implementing network segmentation helps to prevent lateral movement by an attacker within the network if they attempt to pass through these network boundaries.

24×7 Security Monitoring

Cyberattacks can occur at any time, and the ability to quickly detect and respond to a cybersecurity incident is essential to minimizing the cost to the company. Round-the-clock security monitoring by a security operations center (SOC) ensures that an organization can identify and mitigate security incidents as quickly as possible.

Incident Response Plan

Organizations should have an incident response plan for common cybersecurity incidents such as account takeovers or malware infections. Having such a plan in place in advance of a cyberattack improves the probability of a quick and accurate response to the security incident.

Patch Management

Cybercriminals regularly scan for and exploit systems with common, unpatched vulnerabilities. Performing regular vulnerability scans and rapidly applying updates and patches for identified vulnerabilities is important to close these security gaps before they can be found and exploited by an attacker.

Strong Authentication

Weak passwords and compromised accounts are a common vector for cybercriminals to gain access to an organization’s environment and systems. Requiring the use of strong passwords and implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) can help to reduce an organization’s vulnerability to account takeover attacks.

Security Awareness Training

Many cyberattacks target employees via phishing attacks, social engineering, shadow IT, and similar issues. Performing regular cyber awareness training helps to ensure that employees are educated on the latest threats and don’t work to circumvent an organization’s cyber defenses.

Threat Intelligence

Threat intelligence feeds provide information and indicators of compromise (IoCs) for the latest cyberattack campaigns. Subscribing to threat intelligence feeds and providing this information as part of the organization’s security program can enable them to more effectively detect, block, and remediate potential cyberattacks.

The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving as new cyber threats emerge and new techniques and technologies are created to combat them. The following new and emerging network security trends have great promise.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has potential applications in various industry verticals, including many in the cybersecurity space. Some of the potential ways that AI can be applied for network security include:

  • Alert Triage: Many SOCs are overwhelmed with large volumes of security alerts. AI can process these alerts and identify those that are most likely true threats to the organization’s systems.
  • Network Security Monitoring: AI is well suited to identifying trends and anomalies within data. AI can be applied to network security monitoring to identify potential indicators of a cyberattack.
  • Automated Incident Response: AI can automatically execute incident response activities based on predefined playbooks. This automated response is faster, more scalable, and less error-prone than manual incident remediation.
  • Configuration Management: Security misconfigurations are a common enabler of cyberattacks, especially in cloud environments. AI can be used to continually monitor configuration settings and offer recommendations for remediating security misconfigurations.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Achieving, maintaining, and demonstrating regulatory compliance is a significant burden for many organizations. AI can aid with collecting and formatting the data required to identify compliance gaps or generate necessary reports.

Zero Trust Architecture

Zero trust is a security model designed to limit an organization’s network and application entry points, and protect critical resources with advanced access policies. Instead of implicitly trusting all requests originating from inside the corporate network, zero trust individually evaluates every access request based on numerous criteria including context and privileges.

Implementing zero trust requires network security solutions capable of enforcing these more granular access controls. For example, ZTNA is a superior replacement for VPNs because it offers stronger access controls than normal VPNs.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a network security technology designed to streamline and optimize an organization’s security architecture. Historically, many organizations have relied on a patchwork of point security solutions, which increases management complexity, introduces blind spots, and reduces the efficiency of network security architecture.

SASE converges various network and security functions — including FWaaS, CASB, cloud SWG, ZTNA, IPS, and RBI — within a single, cloud-based network of SASE PoPs. With SASE, a network security team can more easily monitor, manage, and enforce consistent network security policies across an organization’s entire network infrastructure.


Software vulnerabilities are a common and growing problem for many organizations. In 2023, over 29,000 new vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed. These vulnerabilities leave software users (and their customers) vulnerable to attack by cybercriminals.

DevSecOps aims to reduce vulnerabilities in production systems by integrating security into the development process. By generating security requirements and implementing security scanning as part of automated DevOps pipelines, an organization can reduce the cost of remediating vulnerabilities and the risk that vulnerabilities reach production.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Corporate environments are composed of a wide variety of different endpoints, including laptops, servers, mobile devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) systems. With a growing number of diverse endpoints, many companies struggle to effectively detect threats to these endpoints.

XDR solutions collect data from multiple sources and use the context this provides to more precisely identify potential threats to the organization. With enhanced visibility and event correlation, an organization can more effectively detect and remediate potential threats.

Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP)

With the rise of remote work, corporate endpoints are more exposed to potential cyberattacks. These remote devices are no longer behind an organization’s perimeter-based defenses and can be more prone to phishing and other social engineering attacks.

An endpoint protection platform (EPP) offers advanced protection for an organization’s endpoints. Incorporating various security functions – including malware detection, behavioral analytics, and guided remediation – it offers the ability to detect, block, and recover from various cyber threats. Additionally, centralized management of endpoint security enables an organization to more effectively enforce consistent security policies across both on-prem and remote devices.

Cato Networks Can Help Your Network Security Infrastructure

As corporate networks grow and evolve, network security has become much more complex. The growth of cloud computing means that many corporate IT assets lie outside the traditional perimeter and that digital attack surfaces change rapidly. Remote work has introduced new security threats in the form of unmanaged devices that are granted remote access to corporate networks, assets, and resources.Cato SASE Cloud provides the ability to centrally monitor and manage security across the entire corporate WAN. Cato’s SASE service converges crucial network security components into a single, cloud-based offering built on a global private network. As the industry’s first SASE cloud platform, Cato has deep experience in designing and delivering advanced SASE security services.