What is a network?
In simple terms, a network is a collection of digital devices, connected via wired or wireless technology, that share data, information and software for the purposes of achieving some collaborative objective. Examples include Local Area Networks (LANs), usually contained within a site or building, and Wide Area Networks (WANs), which connect multiple sites over large distances.
Designing secure networks
The purpose of a network is to connect computer devices and provide access to data resources for users/clients, however, it is necessary that any services are provided in a secure manner. From a secure design perspective, it is useful to understand some of the ways that networks can be segmented, or zoned, in order to provide an appropriate level of security. Some of the structures used in secure design include:
- Intranet – the internal network of an organisation.
- Extranet – a general insecure area outside of the intranet that provides services to external parties. An extranet is typically partially within the administrative control of the organisation.
- Demilitarised (DMZ) – a less secure zone that provides either direct or proxy services to external parties. This is under the administrative control of the organisation.
- Internet – A public area outside the internal network that is outside the administrative control of the organisation.