Importance of Computer Networking & Security

By Jacob Andrew

A good computer network incorporates a security strategy.
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It's arguable that nothing has had a greater impact on modern business than the personal computer, and nothing has had a more profound impact on the computer than networking. But networking brings with it security threats which, if mitigated, allow the benefits of communication to outweigh the risks. Risks of poor security to your business network include theft, intrusion and even destruction of digital property.

History of Computer Networking

Modern computer networking was born in 1969 with the transmission of the letters “L” and “O” between computers housed at the University of California, Los Angeles. By the early '70s, a Xerox researcher had developed a passive connection standard called Ethernet, which would eventually form the backbone for all Local Area Networks, or LANs. During the early 80’s the U.S. Department of Defense created the Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP, and Internet Protocol, or IP, that would become the foundation for all computer networks. Computer networks have grown exponentially since then, but still rely on these core technologies to enable communication.

Sharing Resources

Computers can share files with each other directly, or through a file server. Programs can actually be written which will divide a task evenly between computers connected to a network, decreasing the time needed for that task. The very nature of computer servers is to have one machine performing the bulk of a task for many others. Email and messaging largely replaced memoranda and letters.

Intranetworks and Internetworks

Computer networking, and the benefits it affords, is truly divided into two camps – intra- and internetworks. Internetworks, known more commonly as the Internet, is the system that allows a global network of publicly-accessible computers to find one another. Companies, organizations and even homes use an intranetwork -- or intranet -- to communicate between devices. Intranets typically have a direct, Ethernet-based connection to many of the resources within a given area, such as a home or office. While an intranet can connect to the Internet, the two remain logically divided. In fact, the point where “intra” meets “inter” is where security comes in to play.

Importance of Computer Network Security

Network security, at its minimum, allows you to access the Internet, while protecting your personal, network-connected resources from threats. Though the biggest threats come from the Internet, security must also be deployed to prevent internal users from misusing resources, or internal computers infected with viruses from circumventing security measures. Security devices connecting to the network include firewalls, content filters and intrusion prevention sensors. Security may also entail certain software, such as end-to-end data encryption. Encryption scrambles the bulk of a data transmission, and can only be unscrambled by the parties involved.