Cyber protection at every threat phase: How to mitigate risks with a multi-layered security architecture
Cybercrime is rising globally, and attacks are evolving at alarming rates. KP Snacks recently suffered a cyber-attack, putting them out of business for 3 months or more. It’s unlikely smaller organisations would be able to quickly bounce back from such an attack without significant impact.
For companies that hold vast amounts of sensitive and valuable data, the consequences of breaches, losses, data leaks and ransom attacks can be wide-reaching and catastrophic.
To remain competitive and compliant corporations today need integrated solutions that protect users, devices, networks, applications, and data.
Companies that handle delicate data, in particular, need to pay careful attention to cyber threats, and they need to capitalise on the many strengths of distributed SaaS applications to safeguard an increasingly remote workforce.
Currently, the UK is the 3rd-lowest country for using adequate cybersecurity. If you want to protect your assets and your business, implementing a best-practice approach to cybersecurity is needed.
Think of your business-critical data and systems like the money being held at a bank. You wouldn’t expect any bank to pile its cash into a room, seal it off behind a flimsy plywood door, lock it with a single key, and call it secured. Banks need multiple heavy-duty doors, with keys, combination locks, biometrics and several other methods to secure multiple entry points. It’s the same for your business-critical systems and data. You need to protect your business at multiple levels and in various ways, and that’s where a multi-layered security architecture comes in.
In most cases, business networks have 7 threat layers, these are:
- The Data
- The Human
- The Perimeter
- The Network
- The Endpoint
- The Application
- The Business-critical assets
Here are 7 solutions for each threat phase:
1. The data layer
Data is arguably a business’s most important asset. Data loss through cybercrime is a very real threat with very real consequences that extend beyond legal and compliance issues to substantial financial loss and reputational damage. With so much data being stored, shared and viewed both inside and outside the network, it can be tricky to maintain visibility of those all-important assets. Encryption is one of the solutions that work in tandem with data loss protection tools, which are designed to ensure sensitive data is not lost, misused or accessed by unauthorised users.
2. The human layer
Educating your teams about the importance of cybersecurity is an easy but important step in protecting your business. Forewarned is forearmed, so keep them updated about the latest scams and threats going around. All it takes is for an employee to fall victim to a phishing scam, to click on a malware link, or to inadvertently share your company’s most valuable intellectual property.
3. The perimeter layer
Protecting your perimeter begins with a robust next-generation firewall. The more people you have accessing your data, the wider your perimeter and the greater the risk to your business of a security breach.
4. The network security layer
The ultimate security goal here is to prevent unauthorised access to your network. Because networks are spread far and wide, with BYOD and IoT devices complicating and widening the attack surface, it requires a multi-pronged approach for protecting them. Your network essentially is your business. In these days of hybrid working, everything that keeps your business up and running sits within your network.
5. The endpoint layer
The proliferation of connected devices in the workplace has exponentially increased the attack surface of business networks. Happily, endpoint security has evolved from traditional anti-virus software installed on individual desktops to become network-wide or cloud-based protection against sophisticated malware and evolving zero-day threats. Modern endpoint protection systems can be provisioned across network devices to quickly detect, analyse, block and contain attacks in progress. They will also work with other networks and device security technologies to enhance managerial visibility of threats, speed up detection and help businesses to quickly avert disaster.
6. The application layer
Most applications come with in-built security measures that protect while the app is in use, but there are additional security measures that can help patch vulnerabilities. Business apps all need to talk to each other, and they all need to talk to your assets. So, when one of these apps is compromised, it can wreak havoc across your entire business system. Insisting on controlled access to apps is fundamental to a secure application landscape, and best practice measures will include authentication, authorisation, encryption, and logging.
7. The business-critical assets layer
Every security measure you have implemented from layers 1 to 6 will go a long way to protecting the assets at the very centre of your business. Firewalls, data identification and segmentation, network access controls, restricted access and multi-factor authentication will all bolster your defences and make it difficult for cybercriminals to penetrate your systems this far. That said, there are further steps you can take to protect your mission-critical data: identify them, assess the threats, individualise the protection approach, and counter the threats with an early-warning system that enables a set of end-to-end controls.
Security at every layer of your business
The ultimate goal of every cybersecurity system is to protect your network and all the valuable, business-critical data and applications within it. With security talent always in short supply, SME’s need integrated solutions that provide holistic and unified observability across all critical control points. Discover how to get end to end security integrated into your organisation – across users, devices, networks, applications, and data – designed to protect every layer of your IT estate, from the myriad endpoints to all your business-critical assets.
To find out how we can evolve your cyber security posture from network to the cloud by protecting and monitoring all the assets, read our cyber security monitoring and alerting service factsheet.