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Layered Security

Layered Security

Layered Security

The basic definition of layered security is having a multiple types of security measures each protecting against a different vector of attack. Layered security is a technique of combing more than one security control layers to protect a computer system or important data. Using this technique a different security approach can be implemented at any level of an information security strategy and it is implemented to improve security profile.

The basic idea to implement layered security is, if a single defense may be flawed or vulnerable and could be compromised as a result of an attack but having a sequence of different defenses can cover up this vulnerability and could be used to cover up these security flaws in any particular security layer. Layered security does not mean that to implement similar type of security layer multiple times because it will create redundancy instead of layering.

Layered can be implemented at any scale, whether it is to be implemented at a small business with a very few users to very large organizations with hundreds of thousands of users on different locations.

Some of the common type of security layers

· Web protection

· Email security

· Firewalls

· Privacy controls

· Data Encryption

The best practice to achieve better security is to combine products of multiple vendors with different methods of protection. In this way redundancy can also be avoided.


· Having multiple layers of security at each level increase heterogeneity which eventually increases security and minimize the risk or security breach.

· More number of layers at different levels means more security.

· Can be implemented in smaller as well as larger scales.

· Can be less complex than defense of depth


· Having multiple layers of security at different level increases cost.

· More maintenance is required. 

Defense in depth


Defense in depth is defined as strategy to seek delay rather than prevent the advance of an attacker by yielding space to buy time. Defense in depth is a security implementation which has layers of security implemented to protect an asset from unauthorized access or modification of critical information. Every layer of security makes up defense in depth and if any layer fails to protect or gets accessed then the next layer is in place and backs it up and provide protection. 

Defense in depth strategy is more complex and comprehensive than layered security approach. For example a single firewall is only one component of layered security where as whole layered security is only one component of a defense in depth strategy. In Defense in depth technique we assume that there is no real possibility of achieving perfect security against possible threats by implementing a set of security solutions.

Scalability of defense in depth is also quite similar to layered security as it can used in small business organizations with limited users to large scale organizations having thousands of users at different places.

Some of the most commonly used layers that are used in combination to create defense in depth are

·         Anti Virus

·         Remote monitoring and alerting

·         Strong password enforcement

·         Firewalls

·         Encryption

·         Hashing

·         Physical Security

·         VPN

·         Data-centric security


·         Make network harder to hack or breached by any hacker and as a result may buy some time to prevent the possible attack and meanwhile administrator can take any suitable action.

·         Backup security layers to mitigate impact of any single layer failing(3-15).

·         Attack can be responded immediately


·         Complex solution

·         Having multiple layers increase the security cost

Layered Security vs. Defense in Depth

Layered security and defense in depth are two totally different security techniques with a lot of similarities between them. A good layered security is very important for the protection of the important information and data.  Where as in defense in depth approach we refer to a security strategy designed more to slow or minimize security threats until they can fully avoided or turned away and also it is believed that there is no real way to achieve total security against possible threats of multiple types. Therefore defense in depth security more emphasizes focuses on hindering the progress of a threat until it is no longer a danger. Defense in depth is more complex than layered security as whole layered security could be just one component of defense in depth technique. Both have their own pros and cons in their respective domains. It depends upon the requirement of the user that which security type should be used.




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