Published on September 28th, 2021
For any business, security is a broad concept that covers the security of workers, assets and infrastructures, as well as the goods and services that the company produces. The same is true for information security, which requires a systematic approach to be more effective.
This is called multi-layer security. It is about approaching the security of IT operations in a holistic way to make it as effective as possible. After all, IT is not just a resource or a platform. Local network, servers, web services, etc. represent a set of uses, connections, and protocols all of which require a special type of protection.
IT security is a kind of puzzle composed of as many pieces as your company’s IT infrastructure : hardware, software, services, users, etc. It can attempt to prevent risks and minimize their impact, then it can also provide recovery from failures by plugging the gaps and isolating the problematic cases.
In either case, it is about establishing solutions, protocols, and mechanisms that cover your company’s entire IT perimeter. Every potential risk needs to be taken into account. For example, your network connection must be equipped with a firewall system. Your workstations should use antivirus software. The numerous connected devices installed throughout your organization need to be able to be updated regularly.
And naturally, to detect potential vulnerabilities, attacks, and other threats, it would be preferable for everything to be integrated into a dashboard that provides you with an overview of the situation, to facilitate making the right decisions in the event of a problem. Incompatible security applications that operate in silos and do not provide end-to-end visibility of your business’s security activities will not give you the best protection against IT risks.
The Multi-Layer Base
To take advantage of the increasingly centralized role of the Internet within businesses, IT attacks have become quite sophisticated. Company security measures need to be up to the challenge.
It is recommended to adopt a security strategy based on a systematic verification model which is generally called “zero trust” within the industry. The role of IT managers is to assume that anything connecting to the organization’s IT infrastructure is a potential threat. “Even employees who are connected to the office network with their laptop are not as safe as you might think,” states Frédéric Ronze, Business Solutions Architect Expert at Fibrenoire.
The systematic verification model covers all users, programs, and systems that attempt to connect to an organization’s network and requires that they be systematically authenticated and authorized. Users are therefore only granted access to the resources that they specifically need. This improves access management and application security, in addition to increasing the performance of IT infrastructures.
From One Layer to the Next
The foundational security layer is therefore about access. In a multi-layer context, security protocols are then added at the level of data transmission, application use, network behaviour and, more generally, the state of the general system.
This last element is the last line of defence in case of an attack against your company’s IT infrastructure. In terms of the network, a firewall and various authentication protocols are added, which act as a protective layer between your company’s local network and the Internet.
In terms of applications, the protection must cover the way users make use of applications and how they interact with resources or elements hosted on the network and on the Internet. You need to be able to prevent, or at the very least detect, unauthorized use of your company-owned applications.
Securing data exchanges is a slightly more complex task when your company’s activities are routed through servers that you do not control. This is common in a cloud-computing context or if the company has several physical locations between which it must exchange data to function properly. Using encryption protocols such as TLS is the best way to achieve this. These protocols use complex encryption algorithms to ensure the authenticity and confidentiality of data exchanges, regardless of the type of network.
There are numerous benefits to a multi-layer strategy. Above all, it provides company leaders with a certain peace of mind, since this security approach minimizes risks of all types and enables incidents to be isolated. Thus, even if a breach occurs, it can be quickly sealed off and, even if not fully eliminated, it is prevented from being propagated throughout other parts of the IT system.
Multi-layered security is a complex solution to the complex problem of cyberattacks. Increasingly sophisticated and adaptive, these attacks can be transformed during deployment to alternately target vulnerabilities in the network, applications, or elsewhere to independently thwart security measures one by one. A concerted protection strategy can therefore sever any links so that these attacks will not propagate throughout the system. This, therefore, helps reduce the number and severity of cyberattacks, which could otherwise end up affecting the everyday operations of your business.
This protection goes beyond simply defending local infrastructure, since it also takes into account the activities of workers linked to the company. Thus, their computer tools are protected against viruses, malware, and spyware. Even their email tools are secured to limit the spread of spam and phishing campaigns.
This has the secondary benefit of reducing corporate data leakage since access to the network is protected, and even once granted, access to data is strictly limited to only the information that is necessary to complete the task at hand.
Naturally, despite its complexity, this security solution should not be too expensive or too complex, since this would make IT managers more reluctant to adopt it.
Putting the Pieces in Place
Creating a fully outsourced, end-to-end, multi-layered security solution is an ambitious project. A company may decide to outsource all of these activities to a provider. But as companies continue to digitize their operations and the number of connected objects continues to grow, providers like Fibrenoire will continue to expand their catalogues of security tools to make them increasingly inclusive.
Beyond the security of applications, networks, servers, and connected devices, the next step is to collect data generated by all these security devices for analysis both in real-time (if an attack occurs) and in the longer term (to identify and strengthen weak points).
Ultimately, multi-layered security should help isolate a compromised device, application, or service to prevent the threat from propagating throughout the organization.
These advanced security practices are of great interest mainly to large companies and those operating in sectors such as finance or manufacturing, which require a high level of security to protect complex business models.