Pagoda Blog

The 5 Key Components of a Multi-layered Security Strategy

February 4, 2021

Creating a cybersecurity strategy for your business that significantly mitigates the risk of a data breach requires multiple levels of defense. We call this a multi-layered security strategy. This holistic approach to cybersecurity includes a combination of defenses, from investing in reputable endpoint protection to training your entire team in cybersecurity best practices. Establishing this strategy involves 5 key components: Policy, Prevention, Detection, Response, and Recovery. 


1. Policy 

Your business’s multi-layered security strategy starts with clearly outlined access and security policies. These policies delineate who is allowed access to what data, when and how backups and operating system updates should occur, and how passwords are created and stored. 


Identify who has access

The first step in establishing a multi-layered security strategy for your business is to identify your weak points. This starts with looking carefully at who has access to your data and programs and who has physical access to your company equipment. It’s important to limit access only to those who really need it. The more people who have access to data, programs, and equipment, the more opportunities for a data breach. Don’t forget to take into consideration employees and/or contractors who have remote access as well. A BYOD policy can help you close potential entry points and establish smart cybersecurity policies for remote workers.  


Implement password policies 

All too often, basic password best practices are overlooked, but creating company policies around password management is key to strengthening your defenses. Password management softwares, like Passportal, can auto-generate strong passwords that meet the latest password guidelines, centrally control employee access, easily implement multi-factor authentication across accounts, and provide secure access for your IT provider.   


2. Prevention

There are many layers to preventing a cybersecurity attack, from investing in reputable security software to holding regular team trainings. Let’s start with the software:


Security software

A multi-layered security strategy uses a combination of security softwares to ensure that your business is protected from a variety of attack methods. These softwares include endpoint protection like SentinelOne that include antivirus, antimalware, and antispam protection. You should also invest in a network perimeter firewall like Sonicwall. An enterprise network security system like Cisco Umbrella provides cloud security and protects remote team members who aren’t protected by the perimeter firewall at the office. .    


When working outside the office,  we also recommend securing your internet connection with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like ExpressVPN.  


Related post: How to Secure Your Internet Connection: A Network Security Checklist


Lastly, your operating system and other software needs to stay current by downloading the latest patches and updates. By staying up to date across devices, you ensure that you’re taking advantage of the latest security updates, designed to “patch” any vulnerabilities detected in the software or operating system.

Department-wide cybersecurity training 

What we so often forget is that even with all the top-of-the-line security softwares in place, the greatest cybersecurity risk is you and your employees. Hackers are becoming increasingly savvy with phishing emails and blackmail that can open you up to malware, viruses, and data breaches. All it takes to break down your defenses is for one employee to mistakenly click a malicious link embedded in an email or to share their login credentials with a hacker posing as someone from your IT department. To mitigate this risk, you and every employee of your company should receive regular cybersecurity training. These trainings are offered online and include spam/phishing simulations to test your employees’ cybersecurity awareness. 


3. Detection

Proactive security and maintenance ensures each computer, server, and router is protected with several layers of security, from team training to firewalls and remote backup. It also includes continual monitoring so should any issues arise, the problem can be diagnosed and resolved before your network is breached. 


4. Response

The ability to respond quickly to any anomalies, such as an unrecognized user accessing your network, requires putting a comprehensive plan in place before these issues arise. When someone detects an anomaly, who should be alerted? What information needs to be reported to IT for them to effectively respond? A comprehensive plan includes clear lines of communication, standardized analysis to determine the issue, mitigation, and improvements in your system to reduce the odds of the same issue occurring twice.  


5. Recovery 

The last layer in a multi-layered security strategy addresses how to react should a data breach take place. To avoid a recovery process that drains all your resources, it’s imperative to have ongoing recovery processes in place. 


Frequent and redundant backups are key 

Backups are critical. You should always run backups in multiple places: locally, offsite, and in the cloud. A combination of cloud storage, like Office 365 and G Suite, with regular, third-party backups will make it much easier for you to regain access to company data in the case of a data breach or data loss caused by a natural disaster

The best strategy includes multiple strategies

To review, multi-layered security is a network security approach that uses a number of components to protect your operations with multiple levels of security measures. These measures include Policy, Prevention, Detection, Response, and Recovery. Together, these 5 components create a highly effective cybersecurity defense against the latest internal and external threats.  


Feature photo Jopwell from Pexels


Related reading:

5 Virus Protection Tips Beyond Security Software

A Ransomware Attack Shut Down Baltimore’s City Government: Could Your Business Be Next? 

8 Cybersecurity Myths That Put Small Businesses at Risk


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