Every minute, 137 new malware samples are captured. More than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred every day since 2016. Cybercrime damages currently cost businesses over $879,000, and disruption of operations costs an additional $955,000. Over 60 percent of businesses close within six months of a cyber attack.
It’s clear that cybersecurity is a numbers game – and it’s time for businesses to make their security efforts count. Here are five layers of security every enterprise needs to stay safe in the ever-escalating battle against cyberattack.
An organization’s network is what connects it not only to the outside world but also to the different elements of itself. Employees cannot communicate with vendors and clients without the internet, and they cannot collaborate efficiently without an internal network. Unfortunately, data is most vulnerable in its transition from one device to another, which means businesses must be diligent in protecting their networks from both external and internal attack.
The goal of network security is to ensure that no malicious traffic enters the network – that the packets of information flowing through the air are correct and safe. Businesses can build security in this layer with a few solutions, including:
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems
- Virtual private networks
- Perimeter networks
The next layer of enterprise security consists of any device that connects to the business network. There are several benefits to emerging Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, including greater workforce productivity and lower business costs, but allowing employees to use whatever device they please is also a significant security risk. Whether or not a company permits BYOD, business leaders should be certain that each and every device on the network is appropriately protected – to include servers, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and even routers and switches.
Endpoint software is the be-all, end-all of device-layer security. Most endpoint systems include all the crucial elements of protection in one convenient package. However, businesses should also install host-based intrusion detection and file integrity solutions on individual devices, so users can be more confident in the security of their tools.
Though many businesses are effectively locking down networks and devices, cybercriminals are looking for other ways to get to valuable data – and the best option these days is through programs and apps. Because app development is so lucrative, many developers are rushing to market without fully vetting their software, and as a result, many programs come to consumers riddled with vulnerabilities. Businesses need application security strategies to prevent hackers from gaining access to data through these holes.
Often, the best strategy is whitelisting and blacklisting, or permitting and prohibiting different applications on devices handling business data. This is especially critical for businesses that encourage BYOD. Businesses can also employ secure coding techniques and application scanners to look for vulnerabilities in software developed in-house.
The fastest and easiest way for an outsider to gain access to business data is by stealing a single identity. In obtaining an administrator’s credentials, a hacker has immediate authority over an entire business network – they have the power to take whatever data they please, delete the rest and wreak all sorts of extra havoc. Unfortunately, protecting identities remains one of the most difficult tasks for enterprise security; in fact, the best solution for this layer is education.
A business should constantly instill the importance of privacy and security in its workforce. There should be regular training to help employees understand how best to protect their work identities. By creating a culture of security, a business is less likely to identity-level insecurities that imperil data. To assist end users in this endeavor, businesses can employ tools such as:
- Password managers
- Dual-factor authentication
- Tiers of privilege
All of these make identity theft more difficult or restrict the power of a single stolen identity.
Admittedly, a primary goal of the five layers of enterprise security is to keep data safe, so many business leaders balk at the fact that data is one of the layers. However, by equipping data with its own security measures, the business can rest easy knowing that there is another layer of defense guarding their precious data. Fortunately, there is an easy solution for protecting data wherever it is: encryption.
It is easy enough to encrypt data when it is trapped on a device; the Enterprise Edition of Windows 10 includes options for encrypting individual files and an entire hard drive, but third-party encryption services are also easy enough to find and utilize. Yet, as mentioned above, data is most at-risk when in transit, which means network encryption is a must, as well.