What is Defense in Depth? Strategy for Cybersecurity
The kind of risks and challenges today’s information and databases face can only be handled via a multi-facet defense system. Thinking about the same, the ‘Defense in Depth’ concept is the first and foremost thing to click the mind.
A blend of diverse security systems, this concept is the backbone of an organizations’ InfoSec strategy that works when all other methods fail. Information safeguarding, alongside the overall data safety, can be strengthened greatly using it.
Read this article to know defense in depth meaning and what significance it holds is something we will talk about at length next.
What is Defense in Depth (DiD)?
It is an InfoSec methodology with an inventive information protection process ensuring that at least one defense strategy is at work. It features multiple countermeasures and an added security layer that works as a security backup to make sure that cyber threats are taken care of in transit.
This security measure concept exists to spot and stop the cyber loopholes in the initial stage so that the damage is as less as possible. Speaking of its scope, which is wide, vulnerabilities related to hardware, software, and people are handled through it.
As an organization may face a varied range of cyber troubles, it’s wise to have two or more security measures at work so that data/resources/applications/networks are not attacked or taken over.
The principle of Defense in Depth or DiD is a very commonly used website protection strategy featuring protective solutions like anti-spam tools, WAF, and anti-virus software in a single product so that threats like XSS and CSRF are kept at bay.
When used for n/w security, deployed aids like firewalls, encryption and ISP are used to filter the traffic and restrict its access. If you’re a network administrator, you must already have a fair acquaintance with all these security implementations. With DiD, they are used together.
Why is Defense in Depth Important?
As the outcome of a successful cyber threat can be too detrimental, experts consider having various approaches in place. A single product is not enough to encounter every attack and danger around us.
With DiD concept, it’s easy and possible to deploy more than one cybersecurity measure for your systems, eliminating all the odds of security failures and threat penetrations.
If one security measure fails, by any chance, another comes into effect and protects the resources. So, network security is better and follows redundancy when DiD is at work.
Defense in Depth Security Architecture
Before talking about DiD’s underlying security architecture, it’s crucial to know that there is no standard format to follow as each organization will have varied needs. However, each defense in depth architecture is likely to feature one or many below-mentioned aspects.
- Technical controls
This set involves the usage of software and hardware capabilities to keep threats like DDoS attacks, data breaches, and other notorious threats at bay. Products like firewall, WAF, secure web gateway, IDS/IPS, EDR software, anti-malware software, and many others are used in this aspect.
- Physical controls
They aim to protect the IT systems, data centers, and physical assets from dangers like data theft, tampering, and non-permitted access. Practices like access control, alarm systems, ID scanners, and surveillance procedures are part of this section.
- Administrative controls
Administrative controls entail the security policies defined and governed by security teams and administrators so that internal systems/resources are protected.
Those who seek improved security can add a leveraged security layer with solutions like access measures, perimeter defenses, threat intelligence, monitoring/prevention, perimeter defenses, and workstation defenses.
How does defense-in-depth help?
Using the approach, it’s doable to bring multiple security practices into action and reduce the possibilities of a data breach. In most cases, only one security layer is deployed at one point, which is not enough to provide overall protection.
For example, if a hacker succeeds in manipulating the network via bypassing the Cloud WAF or other security means, DiD will ensure that immediate and relevant countermeasures are in place.
This timely action keeps intermediate or futuristic dangers at bay. Additionally, it’s also possible to have an around-the-clock security system activated to protect the resources.
As many security layers are active, it increases the attackers’ efforts and time. They have to work hard to bypass so many security measures before they lay a hand on your data/resources/network. Such extensiveness, achieved through defense in depth layers, is a huge demotivated factor for them. They will be fatigued and even stop carrying out the attacks on their own.
Defense in Depth and Layered Security
As DiD and Layered Security have some similarities at a base level, it’s obvious to consider both as the same terms/things. However, there are certain markers that set these two apart. We present you the basic layered security vs Defense in Depth review.
For instance, layered security practice combines various products to fix one security concern while the Defense In-Depth approach addresses a wide range of threats at a time.
The products used in layered security are likely to belong to the same security and tend to perform the same task. But, the Defense in Depth approach brings multiple products and practices together.
Elements of Defense in Depth (DiD)
When you wish to go to any length to protect your systems against vulnerabilities, DiD strategy presents various suggestions for your organization. Physical, technical and administration level controls are required. See the top components that could be part of your IT environment to safeguard it in depth:
- The Education about Cybersecurity Issues
No matter how well you protect your network, if there exist unsecured endpoints, it can still be compromised. So, if you are leaving the human endpoints of your digital ecosystem unsafe and unaware of security threats and best practices, all efforts will be in vain.
As a part of DiD, we suggest you consider ISAT for your employees. Doing so will ensure that you have a smart and well-aware workforce, encouraging the business’s cyber-resilience.
This training is to improve Internet Security awareness among enterprise users. However, the course syllabus is equally useful for all sizes of ventures, as it focuses on how to detect common threats, how to safeguard your critical organizational data, and how an attack can affect your operations/business adversely.
- An Efficient Access Management Mechanism
To strengthen your organization’s security posture, you must ensure that only the people requiring access to a resource/asset should have access to it – for the duration when it is essential. POLP states the same.
For this, you can opt for role-based or attribution-based privilege assignment. They are a good way to prevent misuse of admin or network user rights. Enabling requests’ escalation and de-escalation by top-level or relevant users will ensure that no unwanted users/elements barge into your network.
- Antivirus & Firewall
Securing against cyberthreats cannot be done until you have a virus-filtering and firewall method activated. These 2 elements will ensure that your devices remain untouched by troubles.
For example, a good anti-virus can save you against malware, adware, eavesdropping, trojans, DDoS, worms, and other sorts of intrusions. A Firewall, on the other hand, can secure you against the threats entering your network, pretending to be a part of good traffic.
- Password Protection and Management
In the case of passwords, you need to take care of various things.
From maintaining the strength of all your passwords as ‘strong’ to saving them with a reliable password manager, deploying a trustworthy authentication method (like 2FA), and encrypting/hashing them using an efficient algorithm - you cannot miss out on any front. Additionally, if you are using biometric data, it should be kept in a secure database too.
Monitoring the traffic, preventing intrusions, and detecting malicious actors at the earliest in your network are the top ways of minimizing the impact of cyberthreats on your organization. Also, finding security loopholes or API vulnerabilities is very important too. So, make sure that you have an IPS to ensure the same.
A reliable IPS tool is capable of blocking network-traffic, alerting you about threats, resetting connections, discarding fishy data packets, and taking other similar actions to safeguard your network. An ML-enabled solution can learn about new classes of threats and become more effective progressively.
- Network Segmentation
A vast network with everything controlled at a centralized level is at a bigger risk of exposure. One unsecured endpoint may result in the whole network’s compromise. To prevent the same, it is essential that you design multiple subnets and implement different levels of security for each of them. It will also be good from the cost management perspective.
- Patch Management
Most of the cybercriminals make use of outdated and unpatched applications. It is easy to take advantage of a software application with loopholes and security issues. In fact, more than 20% compromises, in 2020 alone, happened due to outdated systems and hardware in enterprise networks Hence, an effective patch management process needs to be placed.
- API Security
Often overlooked by enterprises, API Protection is super-essential for any business considering the 100% wellbeing of its network. Using a DevSecOps platform like Wallarm can be your help. Keeping DDoS attacks and bots away from your SOAP or REST, graphQL, and gRPC APIs, its real-time threat detection feature is very useful.
Common Security practices use in Defense in Depth
Limiting the potential risks in the infancy stage demands strategic implementation of a few notable and viable security practices such as:
Least-privilege access: Determined to keep the hold over the user access, this principle is used to set system/resource access as per the need and roles. This way, unauthorized access risk, and possibilities are on a lower level.
MFA: MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication is a highly viable security practice that combines various user authentication processes to verify the user’s identity to confirm access only by authorized access. Commonly, strong password usage, and OTP –based login processes are used.
Network segmentation: This security practice serves as a means to protect the internal systems/data/third-party users/vendor by limiting the exposure. To make this happen, practices like having separate wireless network set-up for external and internal users are adopted. This practice is strongly recommended for stopping malware spread, ensuring data regulations, and confining insider threats.
Behavioral analysis is a security measure used to keep tabs on non-standard traffic behavior and vulnerabilities by comparing the ongoing conduct with the pre-defined and approved standards. Anything that falls short of the standards will be considered aberrant and appropriate actions will be taken-up.
Zero Trust is another very famous and globally recognized security practice used in the Defense-in-concept approach. All the above or many other concepts are combined together to construct a zero-trust security approach.
Encryption is here to keep the crucial data protected from ill-intended software/personals.
Wallarm defense-in-depth solutions
Wallarm offers a wide range of application/resource security approaches that when combined together make penetration of any cyber threats and vulnerabilities impossible. This way, enterprise resources are safeguarded by all means.
Keeping the organizational needs at the pivot, Wallarm will offer a detailed defense in depth strategy having key components like:
- API Security Platform
- DDoS Attack Protection
- Cloud WAF
- API Threat Prevention
- Security Testing - GoTestWAF
Combined and clubbed in a fruitful manner, Wallarm’s Defense-in-depth strategy is going to keep assorted cyber-world vulnerabilities at bay.
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