Stepping Up Your Cybersecurity With Defense in Depth (DiD)

When the pandemic hit, businesses all over the globe had to shift to remote work almost overnight. Now, with the vaccine rollout in full swing, the hybrid work model is gaining popularity. This allows employees to work from home, the office or split their time between both. According to a report, close to 65% of large businesses have adopted a hybrid model, and most workers prefer it that way.1

However, a distributed workforce comes with its own set of challenges. One of the primary concerns of IT leaders across the globe is the unprecedented increase in cybercrime. Experts estimate that cybercrime has shot up by almost 300% since the start of the pandemic.2

Relying on one basic security solution will, therefore, prove to be futile against sophisticated attack vectors. This is where an approach like Defense in Depth (DiD) finds its relevance.

DiD is a cybersecurity approach in which multiple defensive methods are layered to protect a business. Since no individual security measure is guaranteed to endure every attack, combining several layers of security is more effective.

This layering approach was first conceived by the National Security Agency (NSA) and is inspired by a military tactic of the same name. In the military, layers of defense help buy time. But in IT, this approach is intended to prevent an incident altogether.

It’s important to differentiate DiD from another cybersecurity concept called layered security. While layered security uses different security products to address a particular security aspect, such as email filtering, DiD is more comprehensive and includes multiple security measures to address distinct threats related to the entire IT infrastructure.

While DiD is critical to protecting your business against evolving cyberthreats, it’s an undertaking that requires time, extensive knowledge and experience. Partnering with an MSP can simplify the process, reduce stress and minimize opportunities for error.

How Managed Service Providers (MSPs) Help Defend Against Threats

An MSP will help you divide DiD into three security control areas:

  1. Administrative Controls
    The policies and procedures of a business fall under administrative controls. These controls ensure that appropriate guidance is available and that security policies are followed. Examples include hiring practices or employee onboarding protocols, data processing and management procedures, information security policies, vendor risk management and third-party risk management frameworks, information risk management strategies, etc.
  2. Technical Controls
    Hardware or software intended to protect systems and resources fall under technical controls. Examples of technical controls are firewalls, configuration management, disk/data encryption, identity authentication (IAM), vulnerability scanners, patch management, virtual private networks (VPNs), intrusion detection systems (IDS), security awareness training, etc.
  3. Physical Controls
    Anything aimed at physically limiting or preventing access to IT systems falls under physical controls. Examples are fences, keycards/badges, CCTV systems, locker rooms, etc.

Essential Elements of DiD

An MSP will help you implement all the elements of an effective DiD strategy to minimize the chances of threats seeping in through the cracks. These elements include:

  1. Firewalls
    A firewall is a security system comprised of hardware or software that can protect your network by filtering out unnecessary traffic and blocking unauthorized access to your data.
  2. Intrusion Prevention and Detection Systems 
    Intrusion prevention and detection systems scan the network to look for anything out of place. If a threatening activity is detected, it will alert the stakeholders and block attacks.
  3. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) 
    Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions operate by constantly monitoring endpoints to find suspicious or malicious behavior in real time.
  4. Network Segmentation 
    Once you divide your business’ network into smaller units, you can monitor data traffic between segments and safeguard segments from one another.
  5. The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)
    The principle of least privilege (PoLP) is a cybersecurity concept in which a user is only granted the minimum levels of access/permissions essential to perform their task.
  6. Strong Passwords 
    Poor password hygiene, including the use of default passwords like “1234” or “admin,” can put your business at risk. Equally risky is the habit of using the same passwords for multiple accounts. To protect your accounts from being hacked, it’s essential to have strong passwords and an added layer of protection by using practices such as multifactor authentication (MFA).
  7. Patch Management 
    Security gaps left unattended due to poor patch management can make your business vulnerable to cyberattacks. As soon as a new patch gets delivered, deploy it right away to prevent exploitation.

If you’re wondering about where and how to begin creating a DiD strategy for your business, don’t worry. We’re here to make the process as easy as possible. Contact us to take the first step toward making your organization more secure.

Sources:
  1. Accenture Report
  2. FBI Report

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