A key, typically a network security key, is a series of numbers and characters that users, devices, apps, and infrastructure use to get legitimate access to a computer network. This ensures that only authentic people, processes, and technology can gain access.
Terms related to Key: Network Security Key, Security Protocols, Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA, WPA2), Pre-Shared Key (PSK).
Network security keys use several different security protocols to authorize and authenticate access. These include Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and, the more modern, WPA2. Each protocol uses a different approach and methodology to authenticate access and communications over a network.
Network security keys are used when setting up or modifying an IT network, and administrators can set rules on when the network will request key details from users and other applications.
Although network security keys can be a good tool to protect networks, they do come with some downsides. Some protocols do have vulnerabilities, and the process of having to remember and enter a string of random characters can be difficult for employees.
Some devices will automatically store a network security key, meaning a user does not always have to enter the key manually. Consequently, other types of authorization and authentication are becoming more popular like biometrics, security tokens, and other multi-factor authentication approaches.