Server, networking and security
A server is a computer program that handles requests made by another program (known as a client). In practice, a server is used for managing networks and facilitating access to data and resources. Once these networks connect to the wider internet, the security of the network becomes an important consideration.
How does a server work?
A server’s basic function is to monitor ports for incoming requests from clients. On the internet, a web server receives a request from a user to view a certain web page and the server fetches and assembles that page before transmitting it back to the client’s web browser (using HTTP - the Hypertext Transfer Protocol) so it can be displayed and interacted with. This whole process takes a matter of seconds, and can sometimes appear to be instantaneous.
The internet is made up of thousands upon thousands of servers, all hosting information and data which can be accessed by millions of clients. Because of this, anyone with an internet connection is capable of setting up a server to make information available to millions across the globe.
What is computer networking?
Computer networking is how computers are able to communicate with each other. It consists of servers, clients and network infrastructure (such as wires, hubs, switches and more). Networking can be done at many different levels - from a simple Local Area Network (LAN) between computers which are nearby each other, to the entire internet itself, which is a complicated global network of technology and infrastructure.
Every network has a topology, which describes the arrangement of the system. There are many functional topologies and Network IT professionals specialise in determining the best one for a particular business. These experts are trained to provide more efficient hardware solutions and topologies to minimise response times and maximise security.
What is network security?
Network security is the level of protection offered by a particular network infrastructure to prevent unauthorized access, misuse, malfunction, modification, destruction or theft or both physical and software components of the network. Without proper network security, an organisation’s data may be at risk of malicious attacks by both individuals and automated viruses.
The most common types of network security which can be put in place include:
- Access control: which prevents unauthorised users from accessing the network. Network Access Control (NAC) allows systems to prevent unrecognised devices from accessing servers entirely, or give them only limited access.
- Antivirus and antimalware software: are programs which actively scan for viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware and spyware so they can be removed.
- Firewalls: put up a defense which prevents untrusted traffic from gaining access to an organization's network.
- Web security: controls an organisation’s web use and blocks threats which originate from their staff’s online actions. Typically, these systems prevent staff from accessing sites marked as dangerous or potentially dangerous.
Network IT professionals are able to consult further with their clients to ensure that more specialised security solutions are put in place where necessary, whether that means introducing extra encryption, utilising virtual private networks, managing wireless security or adding data-loss prevention processes.