Infrastructure security provides protection to both computer network systems and fixed assets such as airports, hospitals, etc. This concept is not just a cybersecurity solution to an attack but also a protection against other disasters and crises as well, which includes getting back to the normal state after an attack or other crisis. This so-called security concept mainly focuses on strengthening the system security, decreasing the downtime of a system, and decreasing the compliance overhead of a company. The infrastructure security concept paved the way for companies to think about their security at a higher level.
Different levels of infrastructure security.
There is no clear definition for different levels of infrastructure security but fundamentally focuses on securing the following four layers.
● Physical layer — Physical layer describes the protection of doors, gates, security cameras, generators, backup equipment, and methods such as failover which is referred to as a backup option that backups data to a secondary system when the primary system is unavailable.
● Network layer — network security monitors and protect the data that comes into the network and goes out of the network including firewall management and traffic encryption, etc.
● Application layer — application layer provides protection to the databases and tight security against attacks and other malicious actions such as SQL injection.
● Data layer — this is the lowest level of the so-called security concept which ensures the protection of data including data encryption, backup, and other appropriate tactics.
Importance of infrastructure security
Infrastructure Security protects the entire network in critical situations and prevents damages to both technology assets and data during critical disasters and data breaches. Infrastructure security’s final goals are to minimize the organisational overall risk from a successful attack and minimize both operational and financial damage to an organization. In present days enterprises are using complex IT Infrastructures such as cloud base and on-premises systems, Bring your own device (BYOD), etc. Most of these devices are not powered by cybersecurity solutions and not applied security patches either. Infrastructure security uses several security tactics to tighten the security of an organization and it is responsible for the overall security of the organization.
Common infrastructure security threats
● Phishing attack — Phishing is the most common type of social engineering attack, which attempts to manipulate or trick computer users to provide their log-in credentials, financial information, etc. Phishing messages manipulate a user, causing them to perform actions like installing a malicious file, clicking a malicious link, or divulging sensitive information such as access credentials.
● Ransomware — ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to personal and enterprise data. Ransomware encrypts files on computer systems and demands a ransom payment for the decryption key.
● Botnets — going back in years botnets used to launch DDoS attacks, but in present days botnets are used to exploit Internet-connected devices and IoT infrastructure, etc. Records clearly show that a large number of companies were attacked by the so-called botnet.
● Physical theft — Physical theft describes the physical protection of the organization. In order to tighten the organizational data security, the organization itself should have to implement an efficiently physical security schedule.
Benefits of infrastructure security
As mentioned earlier, Infrastructure Security protects technology assets, both hardware, and software. Infrastructure security offers many benefits such as protecting data as well as users from cyber-attacks, minimizing the organizational operational and financial damage, and decreasing the risk of user careless faults.
Protect infrastructure with cybersecurity
Cybersecurity solutions play a key role in securing the organizational infrastructure because in present days most organizational operations are based on data. Cybersecurity solutions can be used to encrypt data, access control (provide access to authorized personnel), and provide overall protection to a network.
Infrastructure Security techniques
There are several ways to protect the organizational IT Infrastructure. Some of which are as follows,
● Apply patches — security patches play an important role against vulnerabilities and it is important to apply patches as soon as they are released.
● Remove unnecessary software and services — using unnecessary software and services can create a security risk.
● Audit user permission — user permission audit avoids unauthorized access, and regularly updates and audits the user permissions to avoid any kind of attacks.
● Password security — organization passwords should be protected by using a strong password and two-factor authentication.
● Configured firewalls — configured firewall helps organizations to avoid data leakage and cyber-attacks.
● Secure shell and secure socket layer — these so-called techniques help organizations to secure Internet-based components and protect insecure networks.
● Encryption — encryption helps organizations to communicate and store data safely.
● Security development — implement appropriate security frameworks and educate employees for the safety of the organization.
● Run security scans and tests regularly to make sure your security environment is up-to-date and keep backups to decrease the damage of a successful cyber-attack and a data loss.
In order to protect organizational infrastructure, there are number of tools and controllers which an organization can apply to their infrastructure data such as,
● Firewall — firewall filters data that comes to a network and goes out of the network as well.
● Authentication — authentication tool helps organizations to authenticate users either through a software or through a hardware device.
● Antivirus software — malware could do a massive damage to an enterprise, therefore it is recommended to install antivirus software that can detect malware and removes it.
● Penetration test — penetration tests are performed by enterprise cybersecurity professionals to identify the vulnerabilities in their network.
● Network vulnerability analysis — these so-called tools help cybersecurity professionals to identify organizational network infrastructure vulnerabilities.
● Intrusion detection system — helps to detect malicious behaviors on networks in real-time and to alert it when malicious behavior is detected.
● SIEM tool — SIEM tools are referred to as security information and event management. Tools like Splunk, logRhythm, and McAfee provide a real-time image about the information security system.
Cyber-attackers may have various intentions to breach a network, one of which is stealing data. Stealing enterprise data could do a huge financial and operational damage in terms of the organization. As I mentioned earlier damage can be from a single dollar to a billion dollars to the organization. According to my point of view, it is better to maintain a strong and tight infrastructure security in order to protect the data of the organization.
Written by Bimasha Perera — 2nd Year 2nd Semester — Cyber Security Student-SLIIT