Network security software provides remote access protection, firewall and security appliance solutions, email security, web filtering, network monitoring, and bandwidth protection. These applications enable network administrators and other information technology (IT) personnel to scan, detect, assess, and correct potential security risks on computer networks.
Network security software is also used for intrusion detection and intrusion prevention, network access control, software patch management, and network auditing. Most products are designed for local area networks (LAN), wireless local area networks (WLAN), or wide area networks (WAN).
Specific product categories include LAN analyzers, WLAN software, and Wi-Fi analyzers. Network security software differs in terms of features and capabilities. Remote access protection allows IT departments to require remote users to meet minimal security levels before connecting via a virtual private network (VPN). Typically, connected computers must have updated anti-virus software, spyware protection, and a firewall. In terms of computer networking, a firewall is designed to prevent to unauthorized communications between different security domains, such as a LAN and WAN. Techniques include packet filtering, application gateways, circuit-level gateways, and proxy servers. Some network security software also incorporates the functionality of network security appliances that are designed for the collection, storage, and reporting of log data. Network security software includes products for email security, web filtering, network monitoring, and bandwidth protection. Email security software is designed to protect a company’s computer network by ensuring the integrity of electronic messages. Threat management methods for e-mail security may include encryption services and secure e-mail gateways. Web filtering software or Internet filtering software is designed to block access to specific Web sites, or applications such as instant messaging.
IT departments may also use network monitoring software to limit access to specific websites. Many of these network security software applications also provide bandwidth protection features while guarding against Internet worms. Providers of network security software may offer IP utilities, log analyzers, protocol analyzers, proxy software, and various server utilities. IP monitoring software enables IT personnel to troubleshoot network slowdowns and Internet Protocol (IP) problems such as the inability to connect to a specific IP address. Web log analysis software parses a log file from a Web server and generates reports on-demand. Protocol analyzers or packet analyzers are designed for specific types of networks. Ethernet sniffers, network server utilities and other types of network security software are also available.