It's no secret that news of cyberattacks and data breaches that cause significant damage are becoming increasingly frequent in cybersecurity. Malicious actors are also constantly coming up with new threats, such as zero day attacks that are designed to avoid detection and bypass traditional security measures. It's crucial to take a comprehensive and global stance on this issue, rather than relying on a single security layer. Essentially, each organization's security strategy should be seen as a cohesive whole with multiple layers to ensure optimal protection.
What Is Multi-Layered Security?
The multi-layered security approach is based on the premise that no single defense mechanism is foolproof. By using multiple layers of defense, an organization can protect itself against a wider array of threats and minimize the potential for a single point of failure. This approach involves implementing multiple security measures at different levels to protect an organization's network, endpoints, users, and data from cyber threats.
Why a Multi-Layered Security Approach?
Layered security strategies are reactions to today's cyber threat landscape. It's important to note that a single layer of security is not adequate to defend a system. However, when multiple controls work together, that combination of technologies improves the overall strength, reliability, and security posture of the system and makes it harder for cybercriminals to infiltrate. Rather than simply waiting for attacks to hit endpoints, layered security takes a holistic view of cyber defense, considering the different vectors by which modern malware is delivered and recognizing the importance of network, endpoint, and identity security.
Why Implement a Multi-Layered Cybersecurity Approach?
When businesses deploy a multi-layered security strategy, they aim to implement several security layers at a company’s weakest points, which are security at the perimeter, network, endpoints, applications, and users. From phishing attacks and ransomware to data breaches and insider threats, each type of cyberattack needs a tailored defense strategy. By applying diverse security measures to combat each specific threat, companies of any size can relish the following benefits of a multi-layered approach:
- Comprehensive threat defense: a multi-layered approach provides complete coverage by implementing various security controls to address each type of threat.
- Strength against advanced threats: if one layer is breached, other layers continue to provide protection, giving your team time to identify, isolate, and respond to the threat.
- Adaptability to evolving threats: a multi-layered strategy allows IT teams to be agile and adaptive, incorporating new security controls as threats evolve, and new technologies emerge.
3 Key Elements of a Multi-Layered Cybersecurity Approach
1- Network security
It is the first layer of defense and includes measures to protect the integrity and usability of the network and data. It encompasses both hardware and software technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and virtual private networks (VPNs). Firewalls can be set up to block unauthorized access to your network and protect against malicious traffic, while IDS/IPS can identify and stop suspicious activity. VPNs, on the other hand, create a secure tunnel between devices and the Internet, making it harder for cybercriminals to intercept your data.
2- Endpoint security
It helps to protect desktop computers, laptops, servers, and mobile devices from cyber adversaries and evolving attacks. Cybercriminals focus on endpoints as they are the primary gateway to company data and are often susceptible to breaches. Endpoints are not protected by network security and rely on individuals to implement security measures, making them prone to human errors. Endpoint security measures include antivirus capabilities, endpoint detection and response (EDR) technologies, and patch management. Antivirus software can detect and remove malware from endpoints, while EDR solutions can detect and respond to advanced threats in real time.
3- Identity security
It protects all types of users within an organization to detect and prevent access or credentials-based attacks, especially when malicious actors elude other security measures. Identity protection is critical in situations where hackers are able to circumvent endpoint security measures, which can lead to compromised accounts. This includes accounts belonging to IT administrators, remote employees, third-party vendors, and even customers, which can all serve as potential entry points for cyberattackers. Deploying multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods, access control protocols, and credentials management capabilities can safeguard against a wide range of cyber threats, such as ransomware and supply chain attacks.
Understand Your Risk to Build Your Security Layers
By implementing security measures across multiple layers of their IT infrastructure, organizations can provide overlapping layers of protection that help to prevent cyber threats from penetrating your network and stealing or compromising sensitive data. While the initial investment may, on the surface, be significant, the potential cost of a data breach or significant downtime can far exceed any initial outlay.
With a multi-layered strategy, organizations like yours can better defend against threats, minimize risk, and secure their assets in the face of the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.