Cybersecurity threats against organizations increase year after year. Yet with a layered approach to cybersecurity, companies can combat modern threats.
A layered cybersecurity strategy is one that takes advantage of different technologies and protocols to set up defenses among the various part of the network. Each of these seven layers works in tandem with the others to provide thorough protection for an environment.
Such a comprehensive strategy ensures each section of the network is shielded and proactively monitored to deter all types of threats.
What Solutions Are in a Layered Security Program?
1. Perimeter Security: Perimeter security solutions protect data travelling through a network’s outer edge, or the barrier between an internal network and an outside network. It acts as a protective shield for the business.
There are several solutions that can achieve this, such as unified threat management (UTM) and web application firewalls.
UTM is a comprehensive solution that includes tech such as next-gen antivirus, firewalls — which protect the security of the whole network — intrusion detection, spam and content filtering, and even VPN — an encrypted online connection connecting your devices and networks.
While perimeter security blocks threats entering a network, other layers of protection act to detect any threats that are active inside it.
2. Network Security Monitoring: Network monitoring tools allow a business to review activity across the system and get total visibility to find suspicious actions.
Tools that make up this layer include security information and event management (SIEM), and network detection and response (NDR).
SIEM is a monitoring and event management solution that can alert stakeholders of any irregular login attempts. These alerts can also be escalated to an IT team for immediate remediation.
Network detection and response (NDR) is similar, but focuses on finding abnormal activity across a network’s traffic.
Besides these tools, an organization’s employees also make up a security layer.
3. Security Awareness: Security awareness may seem simple, but it’s actually one of the most powerful tools an organization can employ in a layered strategy. With human error the leading cause of data breaches and other successful cyberattacks, businesses should invest in cybersecurity training so their workforce is prepared to detect and report threats.
At a time when social engineering attacks are commonplace, a cybersecurity awareness program is an excellent way to safeguard a company. Such a program trains employees on cybersecurity best practices, password hygiene, phishing awareness and more.
4. Endpoint Protection: The prevalence of the Internet of things (IoT) — an interconnected network of computing and digital devices — keeps businesses in touch, but also create a large attack surface. To protect this surface, organizations can use endpoint protection.
Endpoints are everywhere in a modern business environment: smart TVs, mobile devices, printers, vending machines, etc. Domain name system (DNS) and managed detection and response (MDR) protection can help shield these endpoints.
DNS protection stops devices from accessing malicious sites and MDR protection monitors the processes of each device to recognize abnormalities and quickly respond.
Additionally, persistence detection prevents cybercriminals from accessing your network with advanced technology that collects activity associated with attacks that slip through the cracks and then remain in the system for long periods of time just collecting information.
These tools are effective for businesses with a remote workforce as threats may inadvertently enter through an unprotected network connection or malicious website.
5. Information Security: This layer protects the availability, confidentiality and integrity of data. It allows a business to safeguard their own and their customers’ private information.
As part of this layer, data loss prevention (DLP), prevents the unauthorized transfer of information from inside the organization to the outside. DLP establishes standards to store and access data securely.
Additionally, an email protection solution helps prevent common threats like phishing attempts, spam and viruses spread to end users through email servers.
6. Authentication Protocols: Like the name suggests, authentication solutions ensure the people accessing an organization’s business data are who they say they are.
Authentication is a simple and incredibly effective way to prevent external actors from entering your network or accessing your data.
Businesses should enforce MFA (multi-factor authentication), which requires a user to confirm their identity using an additional method of confirmation, like an app, biometric scan, or a code sent to a device.
Another tool in this layer is an automated password management solution. This tech can automatically notify users to change their passwords, keep a full trail of password history and encrypt all the information tracked.
7. Critical Asset Security: Organizations should also be prepared in the event of a successful attack or a breach. Ultimately, no matter how good the defense is, the possibility of a novel exploit slipping through the cracks is always there, and every organization needs to have a contingency plan for it.
Backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services ensure an organization’s important data is backed up, whether it’s stored on internal servers or the cloud.
As part of this layer, software-as-a-service backup protects data stored in users’ cloud apps, and website backup restores data online in case of a breach.
All these layers make up a comprehensive and robust cybersecurity strategy that shields each part of a business’ network. Security leaders should consider examining theirs and patching up any vulnerable layers so that their organization can continue working uninterrupted.