A staggering 79% of security leaders noted that attacks have become more sophisticated in 2020. 

The best way to keep cybercriminals at bay is to apply different types of security solutions to cover up loopholes created by the limitation of each of the solutions.  

In other words, use a best-of-breed approach to deliver robust security. This involves using a product suite with various solutions that serve specific purposes, blocking attack vectors at each layer of the stack (system, software and network).  

The idea is to have an intricate security infrastructure that creates a challenging environment for potential intruders. By doing that, hackers will have to deal with complicated, overlapping layers of security and even if they make a breakthrough in one area, they will still have to go through other security layers.  

But how do you create such an intricate security infrastructure? Simple. Through layered security.  


What Is Layered Security?

Layered security involves multiple components or layers to protect operations with multiple levels of security because it may be impossible for a single program to stop every single attack. Each layer addresses different kinds of cyberattacks, which includes passive and indirect system invasions as well. 

Benefits of Layered Security

Here are a few benefits of wrapping IT with layered security:  

  • The right protection at the right time: Capture malicious activities at the right instance, which means less downtime.  

  • Proactive detection: Early threat detection destroys any potential attempt to compromise the system.  

  • Ubiquitous: Layered security can be applied to any level of the IT infrastructure.  

  • Improved cybersecurity efficiency: Layered security is a powerful deterrence against common attacks like phishing emails and adware as well as sophisticated attacks from polymorphic malware. 

The 7 Layers of Security

Layered security is often confused with security redundancy. However, they couldn’t be more different since the same defense is not implemented multiple times in the case of layered security. Instead, multiple types of defenses are put in place, with each layer protecting against a different attack vector. To understand layered security, you need to understand the seven layers of security. 

Human Layer

The human layer aims to discourage hackers from targeting the weakest link of any organization — its employees. A successful method to getting around sophisticated security infrastructure is through social engineering attacks. This involves tricking employees into doing something that will compromise IT security. Education and training are the best ways to combat this. Provide courses on phishing, password management and data protection trends, and document and update cybersecurity best practices year each and share the revised versions with employees. 

Perimeter/Physical Layer

The physical layer pertains to keeping cybercriminals in check from stealing or damaging your physical assets. Access to physical and virtual data centers must be monitored and alerts have to be sent out in the event of an intrusion. In such a scenario, activate a disaster recovery (DR) plan to enable uninterrupted business operations. 

Network Layer

The network layer deals with securing connections between computers. Encrypt traffic from remote endpoints to the corporate network to mitigate cyberattacks like eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks. Apart from encryption, monitor for anomalies. Break down the network into segments, each with its own level of security, making it easier to monitor and manage data traffic on the network. 

Endpoint Layer

The endpoint layer aims to protect devices from malicious programs that compromise data security. Devices store a company’s riches in the form of sensitive files, and if compromised, can enable hackers to infiltrate the corporate network. Sandboxing is a smart way to protect devices. It involves running a program in an isolated virtual environment that resembles a typical endpoint. This helps in identifying and removing anomalies from endpoints. 

Application Layer

The application layer ensures applications that have access to critical assets do not become avenues for cyberattacks. Perform vulnerability testing to identify compromised devices that live on the corporate network. Get an overview of where a potential internal attack can occur and where a threat vector could move after compromising an application.   

Data Layer

The data layer enables the right people to have access to the right data while mitigating risks. The network layer is a preventive measure while the data layer is a reactive one. The data layer assumes bad actors are already inside the network and are looking to access sensitive data. Multifactor authentication (MFA) makes it difficult for hackers to get access to data even if they get their hands on the password. However, depending solely on MFA for data protection is not advisable. Use the 3-2-1 backup rule on top of MFA to ensure data restoration in any scenario. 

Mission-Critical Asset Layer

This is the data that businesses need to protect. Companies would be in big trouble if this data is leaked. The mission-critical asset layer includes more than just data. It includes assets such as devices, operating systems and cloud infrastructure. Identify mission-critical assets and work backward to protect them. That means this security layer impacts each of the six layers. 

Layered Security vs. Defense in Depth

Here we examine the two different network security strategies to help you determine how to use each of them in the best possible manner.

Layered Security 


Defense in Depth 

Multiple security layers in place to catch failures of any aspect at the time of an attack. 


A broader multifaceted approach where layered security would be one aspect of the plan. 

Focuses on threats that behave within certain common parameters of activity. This includes application threats, network threats, endpoint threats, etc. 

Threat Focus 

Focuses on a broader range of threats, such as physical theft, incidental threats and non-conventional threats like Van Eck Phreaking. 

Preventive and responsive tactics are used to tackle security threats. 


Deception and delay tactics are used to tackle security threats. 


Layered Security With Unitrends MSP 

Managed service providers (MSPs) deal with an overwhelming volume of client data that is stored in different places. Often, MSPs fall into the trap of offering layered security by partnering with different security vendors. This results in more work for technicians, who must jump from one solution to another while keeping tabs on the client’s security infrastructure. It eats into technician productivity, gives way to more errors that puts client data at risk and defeats the purpose of having layered security.  

Unitrends MSP presents the Unified Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution to take technician efficiency to the next level. Technicians can stop sifting through multiple BCDR solutions and manage all client backups from a single pane of glass. Unitrends MSP unifies best-of-breed approaches with centralized management and intelligent alerting so you can focus on what matters and manage all the approaches to protect client data. 

To help MSPs save time and make the right choice, we have developed a concise checklist that highlights the seven must-have BCDR features that they must consider in a BCDR solution.

Download Checklist