What Is Layered Security in Cybersecurity?

The cybersecurity challenges of 2021 continue to show why SMBs can't rely on simple security. Find out about layered cybersecurity here.

Blog Post

10 minute read

Sep 25, 2023

Cybersecurity is an intricate field that involves a plethora of different services, tools, and technologies. It elevates network security beyond basic practices, and takes a much more comprehensive approach to network and data protection. This comprehensive approach is known as layered security.

Layered security in cybersecurity is focused on creating as many detection points as possible in order to identify and neutralize cyberthreats and breach attempts. Let’s take a closer look at everything involved in creating a layered security strategy.  

For more information on the cybersecurity landscape and how data breaches get found and stopped, check out Impact’s webinar, Dissecting Cybersecurity Breaches: How they Happen & How to Stop Them.   

What Is Layered Security?

Layered security is defined as: A cybersecurity strategy using several tactics to back up every aspect of your network’s defense with others to ensure all potential vulnerabilities are covered.  

Layered security in cybersecurity is all about creating secondary safety nets that bolster network security and mitigate single points of failure throughout the network. By investing in a layered security strategy, you'll minimize the gaps across your network, and have a better chance at identifying and neutralizing cyberthreats before they can cause any damage.  

Think of it like stacking slices of Swiss cheese: Any one slice might have a hole in it, but if you layer the slices, you’ll cover up all of them. 

Why Is a Layered Cybersecurity Approach Necessary?

Layered security in cybersecurity is necessary for companies who are growing quickly, using a lot of market data, and are conducting financial transactions regularly. It prevents single points of failure and allows for organizations to have more than one chance at neutralizing a threat.  

This is vital as cyberattacks are only going to become more and more sophisticated as technology continually improves.  

Cybersecurity and Layered Security Today

There are new cyberthreats surfacing each and every year, if not every week. Understanding that these cyberattacks are constantly pivoting strategies and shifting tactics is vital to staying on top of the latest trends in the cybersecurity industry.  

Social engineering, for example, is still one of the most effective forms of cyberattack as human manipulation is still one of the most common causes of a breach. Caesars, for instance, was recently breached through a social engineering attack in which the cybercriminal used LinkedIn and impersonation to acquire system credentials.  

Pig butchering is another new-fashioned cyberattack that combines social engineering, romance scams, and fraudulent crypto investments in a complex web that leaves victims emotionally and financially crippled.  

Beyond these recent cyberattacks, as the world of smart technology continues to expand, the Internet of Things and operational technology are being integrated further and further into the fiber of society and business environments. In turn, creating a much wider surface area cybersecurity needs to defend.  

Remote Work and the Internet of Things

The perfect storm for cybersecurity vulnerabilities has been further exacerbated by two things: the long-term proliferation of devices that operate and handle data in company networks; and the scale of remote working which increased enormously in recent years.

It was already difficult for organizations to secure their workers’ various devices, now it’s an entirely different proposition to safeguard them while they’re operating outside of traditional networks. On top of that, the expansion of the Internet of Things, smart tech, and operational tech, have created additional endpoints and vulnerabilities that need addressing.

By adopting a layered security approach for your cybersecurity strategy, you’ll be able to protect your network, and the people on it, from every angle.   

The Benefits of Having Layered Security Elements

Businesses need a layered cybersecurity approach for many reasons, but mostly because it provides many different benefits that keep organizations more secure and protected as time goes on and cyberattacks become more frequent and more intelligent. Here are some of the major benefits of having layered security elements:

  • Outdated Technology Becomes a Vulnerability: Hackers and their attacks are always changing to beat the latest cybersecurity technology which means old techniques, strategies, software, and other tech can quickly become a vulnerability point once it’s gone beyond its lifespan. With a layered security approach, you have multiple lines of defense to keep your business secure so that one piece of outdated tech doesn’t bring your entire system down. This gives you time to adjust, find new solutions, and implement them before it becomes a major problem.
  • Maintain Compliance: Many compliance regulations require layered security elements for data protection and data privacy. Not having these in place can make your business non-compliant and risk fines and other penalties.
  • People Are Protected: With layered security in cybersecurity, you’re less likely to compromise the entire system if an employee makes an honest mistake. Social engineering scams and phishing attacks can be better identified, isolated, and neutralized.

How Does a Layered Strategy Work?

Most importantly, a layered security strategy works by stacking a series of advanced technologies operated by highly trained professionals, who follow proper security protocols. In other words, it’s the combination of the right people, processes, and technology.  

Some of these technologies include next gen antivirus, detection and response systems, and can even have integrated AI tools that help cybersecurity professionals work more efficiently. 

Not Relying on Basic Security is Key

Owing to the current cybersecurity landscape, it’s becoming more apparent that a basic security strategy simply won’t cut it in today’s environment.

As the cybercrime industry grows in size, resources, and sophistication, organizations must respond to keep pace, something that doesn’t appear to be happening.

In a survey by the Ponemon Institute, only 26% of respondents said their organizations have been able to decrease the time it takes to respond to a cyberattack

In order to effectively meet and head off the rise in attacks, which can very easily bankrupt an SMB, companies must invest in a strategy that employs a range of technologies and solutions to cover all bases.

Utilizing an Array of Layered Cybersecurity Elements and Solutions

What exactly do we mean when we say this?

Well, many businesses, big and small, may be accustomed to just using a basic firewall and antivirus solution. Maybe they don’t have the resources to buy a raft of different solutions and pay a team to operate them, or perhaps that’s just what they’ve always had and never gave it a second thought.

An organization should not see cybersecurity as a one-and-done job—much like digital transformation in general—it’s a continual process that involves monitoring, threat hunting, training, and more.

The idea behind this is that each solution can act as a kind of failsafe, so your business isn’t relying solely on your operating system’s built-in firewall.

The Elements of a Multi-Layered Network Security Strategy

What solutions do you need exactly to have a layered cybersecurity strategy?

Well, let’s go over the technology you need to adequately protect your business from harm.

what layers should you have in your security strategy graphic

Layered Access Control: Network and Mobile Device Management

A management system is used by organizations and vendors to monitor the health of devices.

It’s essentially your eyes and ears for every device that you need to look after within your company’s network, even the devices of remote workers operating out of the office—if they are handling any of your business data on a device that’s not monitored, it can cause big issues if it becomes compromised.

This is especially significant for businesses that deal with sensitive information, like healthcare providers or accountancy firms.

Ways mobile device management can help:

  • Restrict layered access control to apps or device settings
  • Standardize devices
  • Establish Security policies
  • Enable network security for BYOD (bring your own device) policies
  • Quicker device provisioning, deployment, and employee onboarding

87% of companies are dependent to some degree on their employees’ access to mobile business apps from their smartphones

Advanced Spam Filtering

Advanced spam filtering will help protect your employees from receiving dangerous phishing emails.

But don’t email providers have spam filters anyway?

Well, yes, but filters that are free are often lacking in many of the filtering techniques used by advanced filters. Anyone who has a Gmail account will know that spam can still get through, in spite of its filter.

A quality advanced spam filter will offer the following techniques:

  • Reputation-based email filters
  • Whitelisting
  • Blacklisting
  • Greylisting
  • Antivirus
  • Content analysis

Next-Gen Antivirus and Multi-Layered Network Security

Traditional antivirus solutions lack the capabilities of next-gen antivirus software, which utilize the following technologies:

  • Machine learning: Files are analyzed using an automated bot that can discover any malicious elements—all without any interruption to the user.
  • Behavior analysis: Computer processes can be monitored in real-time and detect any abnormal behavior, terminating malicious processes.
  • Threat intelligence: When a device encounters a threat, every other device under the network will be updated to counter the danger without any need for manual input.
why smbs are not prepared for cyberattacks graphic

Web Application Firewall

A web application firewall is used to stop threats against your website or applications hosted on your site.

In many cases, business applications are tied into your network, so a WAF can help protect this communication channel.

Website Backup and Restore

18,500,000 websites are infected with malware at any given time, while the average website is attacked 44 times every day

It’s not just your networks that are vulnerable, your website is too. A solution that allows you to instantly backup and restore your site should the worst happen is absolutely vital, and yet many, many businesses have nothing to protect their sites in the event of a breach.

In the first half of 2021, there were 1,767 publicly reported breaches, exposing a total of 18.8 billion records.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is a simple and highly efficient way of ensuring the security of your workers’ login credentials.

Microsoft cloud services see 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts every day. They estimate that MFA blocks 99.9% of automated attacks

MFA requires the user to have a traditional sign-in method (usually a password), in addition to something more personal, like a fingerprint or text message.

Security Awareness Training

According to Kaspersky, 46% of cybersecurity incidents in the last year were due to careless or uninformed staff

We’ve spoken about how cyberattacks are increasing and in particular the rise of phishing attacks on SMBs. Phishing relies on exploiting end users who don’t know what to look for in a spam email.

To address this, it’s absolutely crucial that organizations train their employees so that they won’t be hoodwinked by a cybercriminal.

Bottom Line

In cybersecurity, redundancy isn’t a bad thing. In fact, redundancy checks are a necessity because it’s the only way to keep the network secure from the onslaught of cyberattacks that happen every day.  

By investing in a layered cybersecurity strategy, your organization will be protected on multiple levels, with a series of strong authentication protocols, and have the best chance possible at refuting cyberthreats that come about.

Additionally, a layered security strategy provides the following:

  • Vigilant security structures that address the sophistication and depth of modern cybersecurity threats with redundancy and thorough monitoring.  
  • Multiple security solutions and tools that enhance the work of cybersecurity professionals and create a network security posture with effective redundancies.  
  • Continual education and training that keeps your network safe from the newest cyberthreats to surface.  

There is a lot to consider when it comes to creating your cybersecurity and network security strategies, which is why it can be such a powerful defense to implement layered security tactics across your network.

Cyberthreats are constantly evolving. For more information on what these breaches look like and how they occur, check out Impact’s webinar, Dissecting Cybersecurity Breaches: How they Happen & How to Stop Them.  


CybersecurityMitigate Cyber RisksRemote Work


Impact Insights

Sign up for The Edge newsletter to receive our latest insights, articles, and videos delivered straight to your inbox.

More From Impact

View all Insights