Implementing an Effective Defense in Depth Security Strategy

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TechRepublicThe importance of cybersecurity and data protection grows each day. The string of cyber attacks against the White House, US Postal Service, and other government agencies in 2015 is proof that even the seemingly most secure organizations can still be hacked.

You may think that because your business is small, cybercriminals won’t target you. It’s the opposite. CMIT Solutions states that small businesses are the richest targets for hackers. The less robust security practices of small and medium businesses (SMB) allow hackers to enter the systems with greater ease.

In fact, cyber attacks on SMBs have gone up from 55 percent in 2016 to 61 percent in 2017. SMB data breaches also increased. It went from 50 percent to 54 percent in the same period.

Understanding Defense in Depth Security

Think of it like how a bank protects its assets, especially its vault or safe. You’d have to pass through locked doors, human guards, and security cameras. Moreover, the room housing the vault or safe would have more layers of protection, such as motion sensors and alarm systems.

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A similar strategy can be applied to digital data.

“Defense in depth” means implementing multiple layers of cybersecurity protection. It aims to compensate for the weaknesses of one layer using the strengths of other layers. Similar to its military strategy namesake, defense in depth also aims to weaken and slow down attacks.

The overlapping layers of security ensure better prevention, detection, and response to attacks. It minimizes the likelihood of malicious cyber attacks through coordinated countermeasures.

Knowledge as the First Line of Defense

It is paramount to educate your employees on cybersecurity. Take note: negligent employees are the number one reason behind data breaches in both North America and the UK.

Every employee of your firm should understand the role they play in cybersecurity and the risks involved. Invest in security awareness training to ensure employees are up-to-date with security practices. With the help of a trusted security solutions provider, develop clear policies and procedures so your employees have guidelines. Make sure to update these annually, as well.

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Identifying Vulnerabilities

Knowing your company’s vulnerabilities allow you to address them as you improve your security system. Apart from the human element, other common vulnerabilities include Internet of Things devices and “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies.

Allowing your employees to use their own devices at work may improve cost- and time-efficiency, but raises security risks. Leaving their devices unlocked at a public area can easily compromise your data. Consider a centralized security console for mobile device management if you have a BYOD policy.

Seven Layers of Cybersecurity

There are virtually no limits to how many layers of cybersecurity you can implement. Counting employee security awareness, there are six more key security points:

  • Physical security, such as requiring badges and log-ins for each person accessing your system and office
  • Firewalls, unified threat management, and virtual private networks (VPN)
  • Computer operating system (OS), including running an OS with strong developer support
  • Data encryption, including two-factor authentication
  • Internal network protection tools, such as Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), port-level security, and network intrusion detection systems (NIDS)
  • Regular penetration testing to ensure each layer of security performs as it should
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Prioritizing data security solutions is expected to be one of the major trends among businesses in 2019. After all, implementing defense in depth strategy will help you avoid costly disruptions and focus on growing the business.