Published on September 28th, 2021
For any business, security is a wide-ranging topic that covers the security of workers, assets and infrastructure, as well as the goods and services that company produces. The same is true for information security, which requires a systematic approach to be more effective.
The above is what is termed multi-layer security. It’s about approaching IT operation security in a holistic way to make it as effective as possible. After all, IT isn’t merely a particular resource or platform. Your local network, servers, web services, and everything else represent a range of uses, connections, and protocols that each necessitate a particular type of protection.
IT security is a kind of puzzle composed of as many pieces as the IT infrastructure of your company: equipment, software, services, users, etc. It can attempt to prevent risk and minimize its impact, and it can also provide recovery from failures and isolate problematic situations.
In either case, it’s about establishing solutions, protocols, and mechanisms that cover your company’s entire IT perimeter. Every potential risk needs to be considered. For example, your network connection must be equipped with a firewall. Your workstations need access to antivirus software. The numerous connected devices installed throughout your organization need 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 at-a-glance view of the situation, to facilitate making the right decisions in case there’s a problem. Incompatible security applications that only work within a silo and don’t provide an end-to-end view of your business’s security activities won’t provide you with the best protection against security risks.
The multi-layer base
To take advantage of the increasingly centralized role of the Internet within businesses, IT attacks have become quite sophisticated. So companies’ security measures need to be up to the challenge.
To start with, adopting a security strategy based on a systematic verification model, generally called “zero trust” within the industry, is recommended. 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 connecting to the office network with their mobile phones aren’t as safe as you might think,” states Frédéric Ronze, Expert Business Solutions Architect at Fibrenoire.
The systematic verification model covers all uses, programs, and systems that attempt to connect with the organization’s network and requires that they be systematically authenticated and authorized. Users are therefore only provided access to the specific resources they need. This improves access management and application security.
In addition, it has the advantage of increasing the performance of IT infrastructure by limiting its use strictly to what is needed to continue work on current projects.
From one layer to another
The foundational security layer therefore involves access. In a multi-layer context, we then add security protocols for data transmission, application use, network behaviour and, more generally, the overall state of the 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, security needs to contend with 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 least detect, unauthorized use of your company’s applications.
Securing data transfers is a slightly more complex task when your company’s activities are routed through servers that you do not control. This is often the case in a cloud-computing context or if the company has several physical locations between which data must be shared. Using encryption protocols such as TLS is the best way to go. These protocols use complex encryption algorithms to ensure the authenticity and confidentiality of data transfers, irrespective 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 risk of all types and enables incidents to be isolated. Thus, even if a breach arises, it can be quickly sealed off and, even if it cannot be quickly and completely eliminated, prevented from being propagated throughout other parts of the IT system.
Multi-layer security is a complex solution to a complex problem: cyberattacks. Increasingly sophisticated and adaptive, these attacks can be transformed while being deployed in order to target vulnerabilities in your network, applications, or elsewhere so as to independently foil your 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 affect the everyday operations of your business.
This protection goes beyond simply defending local infrastructure, since it also takes into account the activities of workers related to your company. Thus, their computing tools are protected against viruses and malicious software or spyware. Even their messaging tools will be secured to limit the number of undesirable emails and phishing campaigns.
This brings the secondary benefit of reducing leaking of company data, since access to the network is protected, and once granted, access to data is strictly limited to only the information that is necessary to complete a particular task.
Naturally, despite its complexity, this security solution should not be overly costly or too complex, since this would make IT managers more reluctant to adopt it.
Putting the pieces in place
Creating an end-to-end multi-layer security solution that is completely externalized is an ambitious project. A company may decide to outsource all of these activities to a provider. But as long 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 more and more inclusive.
Above and beyond the security of applications, the network, servers, and connected devices, the next step is to amass data generated by all these security devices for the purpose of an analysis in real time (if an attack occurs) or more long term (to identify and strengthen weak points).
Eventually, multi-layer security should permit the isolation of a device, application, or service whose security has been compromised to prevent the threat from propagating throughout the organization.
These advanced security practices are of 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.