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Adopting a Layered Cyber Security Strategy
There has been a staggering rise in the amount of data acquired, stored, and used by businesses around the world. Consequently, the frequency & complexity of cyberattacks and the volume of data being compromised are also growing at an alarming rate. This has forced organizations to turn their immediate attention towards implementing robust cyber security and data protection methods and practices. Securing digital assets and infrastructure has now become part of corporate strategy.
Statistics show that most of these attacks are done on medium sized organizations that may not have sufficient resources to strengthen their cyber security posture. No matter the size of the organization, a layered security approach needs to be adopted to ensure protection from any type of attack on the company’s systems, infrastructure, and other digital assets. The impact of a cyberattack can be destabilizing and cause the organization to incur heavy financial and reputational losses. So, investing in cyber threat management is a business imperative.
Why is a Layered Security Approach Crucial for Businesses?
Cyber threats take place at several different levels. To counter them, it is important for businesses to tackle them at their respective levels – which is why implementing a layered security approach is advised by cyber security experts. Some parts of an organization’s IT systems, infrastructure, and data are more vulnerable to attacks than others. That makes understanding the risks associated with each IT asset critical to using the right security methods.
Types of Cyber Attacks
Broadly speaking there are two types of security risks that businesses encounter: passive attacks and active attacks. Passive attacks are where an organization’s network traffic is monitored through unauthorized means to gain back door access to confidential information. These attacks are either system-based or network-based. Detecting passive attacks is a challenge. They lie low in the network, establishing themselves well before they strike.
Active attacks enter network systems by breaking through protection layers. These attacks can be further classified into different types. The first of those are system access attempts, in which loopholes in security are exploited to find ways to server or client systems and to seize control over them. Then there are spoofing attacks which perpetrators use to gain access to systems by appearing and behaving like a trusted system. Spoofing attacks also include cases where system users are persuaded to share confidential information.
Another type of active attack involves the perpetrator flooding systems with junk or using other means to interrupt or close down operations. One of the most common attacks that we see today is a cryptographic attack, in which through guesswork or tools, an attacker tries to decode passwords or decrypt encrypted data.
The Layers of Cyber Security
Some of the things that can be done to enforce network security include patching, vulnerability scanning, content filtering, Wi-Fi security, and SOC/SIEM amongst others.
Application and Data Security
Organizations need to measure and control how different people interact with applications. Configuring security for internet-based applications is key as these are more vulnerable than others and can be targeted by those trying to gain access to the network and systems. Security measures used at this level should take into account exposures from the client and server-sides. Some of the measures that organizations can take to enhance the security of their data include data backup, data encryption, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
Deploying security measures at this level help guard communication on the internet against attacks within the organization’s own network and other trusted/untrusted networks. This level of security ensures complete protection for your data as it moves beyond the physical boundaries of the organization.
Human Level Security
Humans are amongst the biggest factors responsible for security breaches at organizations. They continue to be the easiest prey for hackers to exploit to get an entry into a company’s IT systems. It could happen due to any number of reasons – distraction, carelessness, or simply the inability to understand a technology and what they can do to maintain security etc. Continuous reinforcement through periodic training and education are the only ways for organizations to minimize the occurrence of such security threats. People should be taught how they can identify security threats, what they can do and who they should contact if they do identify a threat, and what good cyber security practices they should adopt to keep attackers at bay.
The perimeter is where a company’s network connects with the outside world – and so is a critical area through which attackers can gain unlawful access to the internal network through devices, access points. Protecting the perimeter wasn’t as difficult a job not so long ago when all a network had was servers and desktop computers. But now, with so many varied devices connected to the same network – desktops, virtual desktops, laptops, printers, mobile phones, BYOD devices, IoTs, and more – the task of securing the perimeter isn’t so easy anymore. Protecting this layer involves getting complete visibility into what devices comprise the layer, what data passes through it, and then securing it with anti-virus software, firewalls, device security management, data encryption, and more.
Endpoint Level Security
Endpoint level includes all the devices that are connected to a company’s network – and their numbers are generally overwhelming. Shadow IT is a common problem where IT is unaware of the devices, applications, services in their network. It could include employee personal devices, downloads of software from online resources, old discarded systems that are still linked to the network, etc. So, gaining 360o visibility is the most critical first step here. Encryption needs to be implemented not just to secure a company’s data but to ensure that the environment that these devices are operating in is completely secure.
To protect business systems, network, and data from cyber threats, it is important for organizations to understand that the costs of employing cyber security measures are far more affordable than the costs of a data breach or any other form of cyberattack. Partnering with a reputed managed security services provider is one route to take. You can find information on how GAVS can help secure your enterprise, here.