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What Is Enterprise Security?

Enterprise security involves the various technologies, tactics, and processes used to protect digital assets against unauthorized use, abuse, or infiltration by threat actors. Enterprise security includes the protection of data as it flows across networks, including those connecting satellite offices and those that tie data into the general internet.

Enterprise security systems also cover the people and policies that organizations use to secure their network infrastructure, including assets such as devices and various endpoints. Because enterprise security needs to focus on maintaining the security posture of a company within the confines of the law, it also takes into consideration the legal structures that apply to an organization’s data.

Why Is Enterprise Security Important?

Enterprise security is important because the scope of the threat to enterprises is both immense now and will continue to grow in the future. Currently, nearly every online communication an enterprise engages in is potentially exposed to threats—even interactions as run of the mill as emails. 

While it is easy to take email communications for granted, the threat to the information within emails, as well as the login credentials for email accounts, is ever-present. For example, packet sniffers can organize traffic according to what they detect within the packets being transmitted. If they detect potentially valuable information, they can attempt to intercept the communication.

Furthermore, attackers can levy distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on organizations to shut down their websites, rendering them useless to legitimate users. These kinds of attacks may appear random, but they are often backed by months of research and planning. With adequate enterprise security measures in place, you can get ahead of attackers, upending their efforts to penetrate your system.

In addition to technologies that can be used to protect your network, enterprise security also includes education and training that empowers employees to make sound decisions in support of more secure connections. Workers—internal and remote—can be taught how to recognize threats, respond to them, and report them to IT admins or cybersecurity engineers. Further, as workers learn how to handle potential events, the walls between IT teams and others are brought down. This serves to dissolve isolating silos and unite the organization around a common goal of cyber safety.

Enterprise Security Architecture

Enterprise security architecture must ensure secure physical access while mitigating the threat of social engineering and various malware attacks. Any system that requires a password before granting entry also needs to be protected, particularly because upon entry, a malicious actor could use their access to escalate their privileges or navigate to other areas of the network to compromise them. This may necessitate multi-factor authentication (MFA) measures and limiting which individuals have access rights to specific systems.

Firewalls are an integral part of any enterprise security solution. Because firewalls can inspect traffic coming in and exiting the network, they do not only prevent external attacks but also stop a threat actor from using the organization's network as a launchpad for attacks on other networks. Also, because a firewall can be configured in a number of ways, it can be placed within the organization’s network to isolate threats that have been able to breach the outer defenses.

Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) can focus on existing threats and new, zero-day attacks. By using artificial intelligence (AI) to isolate new attacks, an NGFW can protect an organization from a wider range of cyber criminals. It does this using deep packet inspection (DPI) that examines both the basic information about where a data packet came from and what is inside.

In the event an attack breaches the outer edge of a network’s security, an organization should include sandboxing technologies that can contain threats. Within the sandboxed environment, IT admins can study the behavior of a threat and then use that information for future threat intelligence.

Best Practices for Enterprise Security

While there are many different approaches to securing an enterprise's digital assets, there are a few best practices that every company should keep in mind. This is particularly true when evaluating the merits of one solution compared to another.

  1. Guard data, both at rest and while in transit: If data can be encrypted, it is important to take advantage of that. If possible, the encryption should be applied across your entire network, particularly because it can be difficult to tell where a malicious actor will try to eavesdrop on transmissions.
  2. Set up stringent controls for identity and access management (IAM): You will want to use the concept of least privilege when securing your network. With least privilege, only those that absolutely need to access a sector of the network or a business-critical application are allowed in. If someone else wants to get in, even if they outrank those who have access, they are prevented from interacting with that area, application, or its data. This protects the network against even accidental events where someone with unnecessary privileges mistakenly leaves access credentials lying around, or their phone or other personal device gets stolen, revealing stores of login credentials.
  3. Set up effective disaster recovery plans: In the event of a disaster, it is critical that necessary systems are backed up and running as quickly as possible. This may necessitate redundant systems and components that can handle the workload required to keep the business running. While it may be infeasible to create redundancy across the entire architecture, critical systems can be identified and supported with redundant components and processes. In the event of a disaster, these systems can be automatically spun up, limiting downtime to moments instead of hours or days.
  4. Teach employees how to promote cybersecurity: Educating employees regarding their responsibilities in connection with security can prevent many common errors that result in serious breaches. For example, workers can be taught how to recognize phishing attacks that use email or text attachments to entice people to click and download malware. Workers can also be taught how to best secure their passwords and login credentials, as well as how to keep track of any devices used for MFA.
  5. Manage endpoints and their access: Modern businesses may be forced to deal with many endpoints and devices, either to serve their customers or employees. It is important to make sure these are adequately secured and cannot be used to attack the rest of the network.
  6. Get the C-suite to buy in: To establish an adequately enforcive security posture, you need the most crucial decision-makers’ support. This may require multiple meetings, presentations, and demonstrations, but once they see the benefits and potential pitfalls, they will be more likely to endorse your efforts. Ultimately, particularly because of the associated risks, the C-suite is as invested in risk management and information security as everyone on the IT team. Most understand it is in their best interests to enforce defense in depth across the organization.

Challenges in Enterprise Security

Enterprise security has to evolve and adapt to changing threat conditions and the increased use of certain technologies. These include technologies that are relatively new to the landscape and those that are being used in new ways. They include:

  1. The cloud: Anytime data is not stored locally, it is more at risk.
  2. The Internet of Things (IoT): The ballooning landscape of IoT devices means the attack surface may be growing faster than the solutions to protect it.
  3. The demand for data: With machine learning, powerful insights can be gleaned from large stores of data. However, the need to store and protect this data presents unique challenges, particularly as the data and its use get more diverse.
  4. Data privacy regulations: Costly, embarrassing, and dangerous data leaks have plagued the news in recent years, resulting in new, more stringent data protection regulations. Designing and automating policies to support these regulations is a constant challenge.

The Future of Enterprise Security

Enterprise security will be forced to adjust to the emergence of several new technologies or the proliferation of existing ones. Some of these can be easily leveraged by threat actors to compromise a network.

  1. WPA3: WPA2 includes 192-bit encryption and has been used for over 10 years. However, it has critical vulnerabilities that are addressed by WPA3. To adapt to the rollout of WPA3, an enterprise will need to make updates to its Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS). This controls how users connect to a network. Adjustments will need to be made for connections to occur adequately over WPA3. If these are implemented, the company can be protected from sessions being hijacked or snooped on.
  2. 5G: Even though 5G is not yet as widespread as 4G or LTE networks, its enhanced speed makes it an attractive option for many organizations. However, with its benefits, 5G brings along some serious security challenges. For example, IoT devices connecting to a 5G network need to be secure. If a hacker finds a vulnerability, the device could be used to access the larger network. Further, some IoT devices, when abused or hijacked, can present serious safety concerns. These include motorized vehicles, devices for the health-care industries, and heavy machinery. Securing these will be an ongoing challenge for enterprise security teams.
  3. Work-from-home setups: As more employees stay home, more cyber criminals will focus on getting into an organization’s network using the local-area networks (LANs) and devices of remote workers. Often, the security measures employees use while at home are less than adequate. They may include passwords that are easy to guess and default security settings that cyber criminals can quickly bypass. Instituting and enforcing policies that limit or prevent these kinds of breaches will protect an organization from an expanding range of vulnerabilities.
  4. IoT devices: Even without the widespread adoption of 5G, current IoT devices still present a significant risk. Many have inadequate security in place and can be easily compromised by attackers. Others have security measures that, when used appropriately by the consumer, protect the organization. However, if the consumer chooses not to fully use the security measures, they could leave a company exposed to attack.

How Fortinet Can Help

The Fortinet FortiASIC solution helps power the FortiGate NGFW. The FortiASIC CP8 can process content at an accelerated pace, enabling it to secure the vast volumes of content that an enterprise uses. Also, the FortiASIC NP6 can handle large amounts of data that pass through the NGFW and virtual private networks (VPNs). FortiASIC can handle even the huge data workloads an enterprise needs to process and filter because of its ability to process more data faster.


What is meant by enterprise security?

Enterprise security involves the various technologies, tactics, and processes used to protect digital assets against unauthorized use, abuse, or infiltration by threat actors. Enterprise security systems also include the people and policies that organizations use to secure their network infrastructure, including assets such as devices and various endpoints.

What is the difference between enterprise security and cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity protects digital assets within the organization’s network. Enterprise security not only includes the protection of cybersecurity but also involves securing data while in transit and as it goes to servers, the network, and end-users.