Backup & Disaster Recovery
Years ago, antivirus (AV) was often considered the backbone of cybersecurity. Many IT professionals figured AV was enough to prevent their users from falling victim to a cyberattack.
However, the industry has now shifted to a “defense-in-depth” model, otherwise known as “layered security.” We realized that AV wasn’t enough. Patch management alone wasn’t enough. Businesses had to start combining several layers of defense to combat cybercriminals.
This layered security model reminds me of a poster I saw many years ago. It used an image of a seven-layer burrito to help people understand the networking protocols contained in the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model. I think it helped many people remember those protocols, and I think it’s an apt metaphor for layered cybersecurity as well.
Having a nutritionally balanced meal cybersecurity strategy
Imagine that you ate nothing but bread. Or better yet, tortillas.
Day in and day out, nothing but flour or corn tortillas.
You’ll likely end up with a serious vitamin deficiency, if not a protein deficiency. Your body will have a hard time fighting off infections. Frankly, you may die without more nutritional intervention.
However, if you throw other elements into tortillas—like beans, rice, meat, cheese, and maybe some vegetables like carrots or lettuce—you get more of the vitamins and nutrients you need to sustain yourself. It’s also far less bland than living on just the tortillas.
The same goes for cybersecurity. If you only have an AV solution, your cybersecurity defenses are nutrient-deficient. Instead, you need to think about the entire burrito.
Cooking up a Culinary Cybersecurity Burrito Masterpiece
When looking to build out your cybersecurity burrito, you need to make sure you not only have the right ingredients (or in this case, technology), but you also need to choose them based on the highest quality. Below is some advice on both what you should include—and how to find the right solutions for each layer.
- Patch management: This is your tortilla. Like a good tortilla, you want your patches to be fresh. In other words, you want to keep your software up to date with the latest security patches to help fortify your defenses against known vulnerabilities.
Choosing the tastiest patch solution: A patch management solution should allow you to automate much of the process so you can keep software up to date at scale. It should make it convenient to patch by allowing you to schedule patching windows during downtime. Finally, any patch management solution worth its salt should offer support for both OS and third-party software.
- Web protection: This is your rice. It provides a nice texture to your security burrito. While rarely considered the star, it’s an essential element. Web-based attacks made up 6.3% of breaches according to the most recent Verizon Data Breach Index Report). This layer fortifies your users against the perils of drive-by downloads by keeping them off known malicious sites.
Finding the best ingredients: Your web protection solution should help keep users off known malicious sites. It should also give you the flexibility to add new sites to blacklists or whitelists as well as allow you to block full categories of sites like gaming or social media sites.
- AV: This is your meat. It’s the star of the show. Without it, your security burrito would miss something essential. And just like chicken or beef, you want to make sure it’s of the highest quality. It should help detect malware, ransomware, and much more.
Finding grade-A AV: AV solutions must remain current with the latest signature databases. However, most virus hashes appear only once. As a result, it should also be able to detect files that act like viruses by taking actions like changing the system registry or attempting to delete local backup files. Also, it’s a good idea to check third-party reviews to see which solutions score highest on both detection and false positives—this is your meat, you don’t want to compromise on quality.
- Email protection: These are the beans. Beans can be considered superfoods. For example, people who live in Blue Zones, which are areas with the highest concentrations of people who live over 100 years old, make beans central to their diet. According to the previously mentioned Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, email was the attack vector in 92.4% of attacks. Therefore, if you want to stay healthy, you should have strong beans—or email protection.
Choosing the healthiest email protection: If more than 90% of breaches start at the inbox, it makes sense that most email services need an additional layer of protection. I recommend looking for a solution that leverages data from its user base to inform security. If it detects a phishing attempt in one corner of the world, it should protect all its users. Additionally, if you’re an MSP, there’s a good chance your customers will have differing email services. So choose an email security provider that can seamlessly integrate with most cloud-based or on-premises email services.
The Delicious Missing Topping
No burrito would be complete without toppings. Whether it’s sour cream, guacamole, or melted cheese, every burrito needs a little something extra to make it even more delicious. These toppings make the burrito.
What is that ingredient in cybersecurity? It’s backup. If your security burrito doesn’t include a solid backup, you will sorely regret it. But choosing the right backup solution can be complicated. In part two of the security burrito series, I’ll cover this crucial ingredient in depth.
To find out more about how Solarwinds Backup can help protect your company, click here.