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Layering security methods reinforces the ability of organizations to prevent cyber threats from penetrating security perimeters. The idea behind the efficacy of layered security is that any individual defense mechanism, no matter how healthy and robust it seems, may be flawed to the point it permits destructive intrusion and irreparable damage. Consequently, businesses employing a series of strong IT defenses layered in a way that covers another layer’s weakness are more likely to survive an attack by internal or external threats.
Defense in Depth
Sometimes referred to as a “defense in depth” strategy, layered security involves implementation of intrusion detection systems, firewalls, integrity auditing, storage encryption tools, malware scanners and other entities that protect your organization’s IT resources when other security methods fail. Advantages to implementing all seven layers of security include the ability to safeguard networked data, endpoints and assets and tapping into the power of a security system deliberately constructed in a way that forces attackers to jump multiple hurdles before compromising your system.
What are the Seven Layers of Security?
DNS (Domain Name System)
DNSs are similar to telephone books because they help computers find certain websites. Although DNS servers can be provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), organizations should use a secure DNS server. Common threats to DNSs include hijacking, spoofing and cache poisoning.
Firewalls erect barriers between a company’s network and the external world by scanning all incoming traffic. Firewalls determine whether incoming cyber traffic is safe or dangerous to the integrity of a business and will stop intrusions when necessary.
Network layers monitor evidence of impending external threats that may circumvent firewalls. Since hundreds of thousands of attacks emerge fresh from hackers’ computers every day, having a network layer reinforces your security strategy exponentially.
Firewalls are an essential part of your security system but can’t provide 100% protection for unique network devices. Establishing firewalls for each network device ensures devices are consistently protected even if the primary firewall fails.
Users of organizational networks represent the primary source of threats due to simple carelessness or deliberately malicious intent. Consequently, this layer of security utilizes actions such as network identification protocols and multiple authentication methods to prevent compromise on a user level.
All software applications and operating systems should come from trusted sources. They should also be regularly updated to maximize protection from the latest exploits.
Protection of sensitive data is essential to preventing data from leaking beyond a company’s network. All data should be password-protected, encrypted and backed-up to eliminate the risk of compromise or loss.
The Cloud and Perimeter Defense
Although trusting something called the “cloud” to keep your data safe and accessible at any time may not seem reassuring, be aware that the most unsafe place to store information is actually a local computer. In fact, very few computers contain the rigorous, high-quality components that superior cloud services offer, such as automatic testing and monitoring processes capable of initiating immediate alerts when deviations from the norm occur. Further, local computers do not provide the strong security that the cloud provides by implementing reinforced malware protection software and nearly impenetrable firewalls.
File encryption also enhances the security of storing your data with a cloud service provider. When files are encrypted during the process of traveling between the servers and your computers, Wi-Fi sniffers and hyperactive hackers can’t peek at your classified spreadsheets, employee information or other top secret data. In addition to being encrypted along the way, files can be further secured by providers that use AES-256 bit encryption and Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, after the files have been imported into the cloud.
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