As cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated, IT managers have had to develop new methods for securing their data and networks. In the past, many companies relied on centralized security controls that were designed to protect against all known threats, yet these bulky systems often contained significant vulnerabilities that were easy to exploit. This is especially true for large corporations that operate complex networks and utilize a wide variety of different interconnected devices.
With the rise of BYOD culture, many organizations have started pivoting to a layered security strategy that incorporates several disparate measures into a multi-tiered cyber defense system. Not only does this allow for increased network flexibility, it also provides a much-needed safety net when viruses, hackers and unauthorized users try to gain access to critical business data.
What is layered security?
As pointed out by Industrial IP Advantage — a cybersecurity-focused partnership between Cisco, Panduit and Rockwell Automation — a layered approach to network security is founded on the principle that any one point of protection will likely be comprised sooner or later. To combat this risk, IT professionals have begun advocating for the implementation of security controls for several different areas of an organization’s core systems, including the physical, network, computer, application and device layers.
By building security protocols into every facet of a network’s infrastructure, IT managers can make it much harder for would-be attackers to bypass the entire system. Additionally, vulnerabilities in one layer can be reinforced by the strength of other security measures, creating a more robust system overall. If you’re looking to secure your business data and operations, consider these four essential components of an effective layered security strategy:
- System-level security: Ensuring that your employees’ workstations are properly configured is the best way to avoid many common security vulnerabilities and reduce the likelihood of a system-wide attack. According to IBM, system-level security controls include “the ability to assign administrative roles, assign application user privileges and specify credentials that enable the system components to access data sources.” Deploying a comprehensive asset management platform allows IT managers to stay on top of their system’s architecture, governing policies and processes to safeguard all network computers from exploitation.
- Network-level security: Protecting internal network resources from unauthorized access and intrusion relies on a number of different encryption methods, especially if your employees are frequently connecting to your servers remotely. It’s important to build a strong security framework for all business communications sent over IP networks, as some of the transmitted data may contain sensitive customer information that cybercriminals are looking to steal. Effective network-level security incorporates firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention systems, and establishes access protocols for shaping and managing network traffic.
- Application-level security: Insulating critical software and applications is an essential part of a layered security strategy, as it locks down access to important process functions by forcing users to log in with a username and password assigned by an authorized IT professional. Many modern web-enabled applications are synced with a business’s internal database for the sake of convenience and efficiency, yet this practice can create a number of issues with security and network functionality should something go wrong. By tracking and managing software usage through a detailed reporting platform, businesses can roll out important updates, pre-schedule maintenance windows and create software installation packages without fear of a large-scale security breach.
- Device-level security: Deploying comprehensive endpoint security solutions can be time consuming, as every computer, smartphone and router has different default settings. Despite the time sink it entails, computer hardening is one of the most effective means of protecting a network from known software vulnerabilities and malware attacks. Be sure to equip every workstation with up-to-date antivirus software, application whitelisting and a host intrusion detection system, which can protect users from many common computer risks. It’s also important to close all unnecessary ports and remove any unused applications, protocols and services, as they represent clear entry points that cybercriminals can exploit.
Where reboot to restore technology fits in
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for building an effective layered security strategy, there are a variety of tools that can help IT managers streamline the process. Faronics’ Deep Freeze software provides secure and efficient solutions that can fit into several layers of your system and network security plan, including:
- IT asset administration
- Software deployment and maintenance
- Patch management
- Endpoint customization
- Cloud storage integration
- Threat intelligence and prevention
Reboot to restore technology enables end users to address a wide array of computer vulnerabilities and turns each workstation into a self-healing endpoint. Deep Freeze allows IT managers to roll out system-wide security patches and software updates to all workstations remotely, which can be fully applied with a simple restart. This can shore up your network’s defenses as soon as a weakness is found, bolstering business continuity and supporting quick disaster recovery following a cyber attack. If you’re looking to implement a layered security strategy, Deep Freeze can help you fill in the gaps.
To learn more about how Faronics’ solutions have ensured high system availability for over 30,000 organizations worldwide, contact us today.