Reinventing cybersecurity with a multi-layered approach
The complexity of cybersecurity threats has increased over the years. Additionally, the number of attack surfaces that cybercriminals can use has increased dramatically with the rise of remote and hybrid workplace models. With such a wide range of possible cyber threats, there is no single solution that can counter them all.
A layered approach to cybersecurity is necessary for several reasons. First, there are too many plausible threats with very different characteristics. It is impossible for a single security solution to defend against all of these attacks. For example, a firewall can monitor and authenticate access to networks and applications, but it can do absolutely nothing to prevent a spear phishing attack. Second, even a single cyberattack can include multiple threats that together form a chain of cyberattacks. In most cases, various security checks can only detect parts of this attack; to deflect the entire attempt, multiple security factors must work cohesively. Third, even when one layer of security fails, the next can step in to prevent the attack from spreading, reduce the impact, and contain the data breach to a large extent. Additionally, a multi-layered approach provides the flexibility to examine and manage the different security layers independently.
An ideal cybersecurity strategy should include consistent security practices led by multi-faceted security solutions. Here are some of these layers of security:
A firewall acts as a gatekeeper for networks by protecting them from unauthorized access. It is basically a security system for networks that uses a predefined set of rules to analyze network traffic. When a data or application access request is generated, it must pass through the firewall check. The firewall analyzes the requests and grants or denies access based on the provided rules. If incoming traffic is reported by the firewall, the access request is denied and blocked. Applications, networks and resources are all secured behind the firewall.
A VPN is a security device that virtually establishes a private communication channel by connecting the user device to a secure server. When users access any network through a VPN, data is encrypted and shared through a secure route. This hides the user’s private information, such as their IP address and location. VPNs are an effective solution not only for securing data from cybercriminals, but also for protecting users from websites and search engines that track and collect user data.
3. Email Security
As emails have become the central mode of communication in organizations, it is crucial to protect email accounts and shared data against possible cyber threats. Emails are vulnerable to multiple threats including phishing attacks, spam, and malware attacks. Invest in a cloud-based email gateway, which secures the email server by monitoring email traffic to block malicious attachments such as phishing links and spam emails.
4. MFA and password security
Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a security practice in which multiple authentication methods such as user credentials, physical tokens, and passcodes are deployed for identity verification of the user before accessing an application, an account or a device. MFA is at the heart of the identity and access management process and acts as the first level of security. Passphrases that are difficult for hackers to crack, but easy for the user to remember, can be used to increase password security in MFA.
5. Privileged Access Management
Privileged Access Management (PAM) is based on the principle of least privilege, whereby organizations grant employees only the minimum level of access required to fulfill their job responsibilities. The idea of least privilege is to provide only restricted access to high-value data and resources. This helps reduce the magnitude of cyber risks that can arise from internal threats or external attacks by protecting the most valuable data at all costs. With PAM, every action performed by a privileged user is monitored, logged, and reported to create a tamper-proof audit trail of those activities.
6. AI and ML
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are data-driven technologies that can be used to detect and prevent cybercrimes. With its ability to mimic human intelligence without making operational-level errors, AI can be used to automate routine security tasks, detect suspicious activity, and stop a full-fledged cyberattack. ML can be deployed to analyze historical data and use the results to identify potential cybercrimes and take proactive measures to prevent them in advance. For example, identity analysis tools use user behavior analysis to detect unusual user behavior. Behavioral biometrics, a real-time application of AI and ML, can differentiate legitimate users from potential scammers by detecting unusual changes in user behavior.
In addition to these security measures, organizations are leaning towards deploying zero trust – a cybersecurity framework based on the principle that no network, device or user should be trusted by default, even within the perimeter of a firewall. . While each security measure protects individual potential targets from cyberattacks, zero-trust features protect the entire attack surface, providing visibility into user activity regardless of location or location. network. When no network or location is deemed secure by default and authentication is continuously required for access, the possibility of a cyberattack is greatly reduced. Even if an attack does occur, zero trust limits its spread on the surface and protects the entire security system from instantaneous failure.
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