Layered Security Simplified

I have been talking about layered security for a long time now. Lately, I have been asked, “If I have a limited budget and can only do a few things, what should I do first”. My response is this, “When you think about security, how do you personally protect what is important to you, starting with your house and valuables”. It is safe to say, that most everyone keeps their door locked, to prevent someone from breaking in. Second, it is safe to also say that most everyone has insurance to protect themselves in case of a break in. Insurance provides a means to replace the items you consider valuable. Next, people living in the home know that they are to lock the doors, and the homeowner knows that they must purchase the insurance and keep the policy premiums paid.

Taking this analogy to a computer network is straight forward. You lock the doors. This is typically done with a business class, next generation firewall (NGFW). It can be argued that a good endpoint solution can be used in place of a firewall, but that will be a topic for another blog posting. You buy insurance to be able to recover from a loss. To recover a loss of your data, you need to have a reliable backup solution. And just as important as the firewall and backup solution, you have the people element. People need to be trained and know what the expectations are, e.g. doors are to be locked, insurance premiums are to be paid. Users of computers need to be trained on what the company policies are and how to behave while on the network, and just as importantly, how to identify if something is not working correctly and how to report an issue.

These three items are just the absolute minimum starting point. Using the home analogy, it is safe to guess that none of you leave all your money, jewelry and other valuables on the kitchen table. At minimum, these valuables are in a draw or in a safe. These additional controls are like implementing a patch management and antivirus solution.
To sum up, the absolute minimum-security items to implement are:
• Next generation firewall
• Reliable backup solution
• User training

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Posted by Jack Gerbs