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 recent Accenture Report, close to 65% of businesses have adopted a hybrid model, and most workers prefer it that way.
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. The FBI reports that cybercrime has shot up by almost 300% since the start of the pandemic.
Relying on one basic security solution will, therefore, prove to be futile against sophisticated attack vectors. You may have seen advertisements on-line or on television promoting a single security solution that solves all your cybersecurity problems, but it just doesn't work like that! This is where an approach like Defense in Depth (DiD) finds its relevance. If you've attended any of our security workshops, we also often refer to this as "layers of security".
Defense in Depth 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.
While Defense in Depth is critical to protecting your business against evolving cyberthreats, it’s an undertaking that requires time, extensive knowledge and experience. Partnering with a technology service provider like Ekaru can simplify the process, reduce stress and minimize opportunities for error.
How Your Small Business Can Help Defend Against Threats
All of the major cybersecurity protocols and frameworks (NIST, HIPAA, CMMC, etc) focus on three primary areas of control:
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 and offboarding 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 include fences, keycards/badges, CCTV systems, locker rooms, etc.
Essential Elements of Defense in Depth:
A technology service provider will help you implement all the elements of an effective Defense in Depth strategy to minimize the chances of threats seeping in through the cracks. These elements include:
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. We strongly advise implementing a "business class" firewall and not simply relying on what your Internet provider installed.
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. If there's a breach in one segment of the network, the other segments may be protected.
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. If an employee doesn't need access to protected information, they should not have access. In many cases, over time data winds up being stored in a way that multiple people have access to it when they don't need to. Conduct regular audits of the data you hold.
6. Strong Passwords
Poor password hygiene, including the use of default passwords like “123456” 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).