How to Build Network Architecture That Facilitates Better IT Security

Source: Pop Nukoonrat/

Security is No Longer About the Perimeter

Years ago, cybersecurity practices emulated that of the medieval lord who relied on the fortified castle wall to protect his inner kingdom. Castle defenses were designed around securing an impermeable wall while the attackers relied on their ability to break through the perimeter wall, upon which their soldiers would flood in through the exposed break. In similar fashion, enterprises have relied on a robust firewall appliance that established a perimeter to protect the network from attacks from the outside in order to counter the efforts of external attackers who diligently probed the perimeter for exposed or neglected ports.

It is a different world today, however. Just as military defense strategy has evolved in order to combat advanced offensive tactics driven by technology innovation, today’s enterprise can no longer rely on single-focus solutions to protect itself from all threats. Modern-day military defensive strategy no longer commits most of its resources to the front line due to the swift mobility of attack mechanisms. Just as the French failed to stop the German Blitzkrieg, the antiquated model of perimeter security can no longer protect the expansive fluid enterprises of today, as pervading attackers can run unabated and perform mayhem at will. Instead, military strategists rely on what is referred to as defense in depth, where reserves are positioned behind the front lines in layers, allowing those forces to counterstrike and combat any enemy attackers that manage to breach the line.

Cybersecurity strategists now incorporate this philosophy of multiple defensive layers to combat embryonic threats of attackers. Hackers continue to advance their attack methodologies and take advantage of users and their devices in the mobile digitally connected world that we live in today. IT security professionals need to think about network architecture in a way that incorporates multi-layer defensive strategies, creating a systematic approach in which multiple defense strategies cover for the failings of other components. In order to combat the endless list of zero-day exploits, destructive malware strains and financially motivated attacks, enterprises must incorporate multiple defense strategies to stop gap attack avenues that can serve as unabated highways into the heart of the data center. In the process of implementing these tools into a comprehensive strategy, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The idea is to incorporate information security at every level of your physical network and software landscape, a strategy recommended by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The role of internal IT today begins and ends with cybersecurity. In the following sections of this tutorial, we will look at the required security components that make up a typical multi-layer security model today and how they should be a natural part of your enterprise architecture. While the firewall appliance is still a paramount centerpiece of an enterprise security architecture, the subsequent components are equally necessary and serve a vital role in ensuring the security of users, devices, data and infrastructure.

Share this:
Written by Brad Rudisail
Profile Picture of Brad Rudisail

Brad Rudisail is a network engineer, IT manager, IT instructor, technical writer and professional musician. His twenty year writing portfolio includes a long assortment of white papers, newspaper columns, articles, learning curriculum and blogs. He is also the author of two inspirational books.