Organisations can proactively identify and mitigate potential security threats before they occur, reducing the likelihood of a successful attack, by adopting a security by design approach to network architecture. It also enables organisations to implement robust security controls that are tailored to their specific needs, providing a more effective defence against threats.
By adopting a security-by-design approach, organisations can reduce their attack surface and limit potential damage from successful attacks. It aligns organisations with industry regulations and standards. This helps avoid legal and financial consequences. By providing a secure and resilient network environment, it improves overall business continuity and support for the organisation’s mission-critical operations.
What is security-by-design?
The primary goal of security by design is to ensure that security is built into the project from the start, rather than being an afterthought. From Secure Coding to Network Architecture, it includes the assessment of potential vulnerabilities, the identification of areas for improvement, and the implementation of robust security controls that are tailored to the specific needs of the organization. By taking a security by design approach, organizations can reduce the likelihood of a successful attack and limit the potential damage if an attack does occur.
Cumulative percentage life cycle cost over time Source, Defense Systems Management College, 1993
One of the key benefits of security by design is that it enables organizations to stay ahead of emerging threats. With the rapid pace of technological change and the constant evolution of cyber threats, it is essential for organizations to be able to adapt and respond quickly to new security challenges. By incorporating security considerations into the design and development of a network, organizations can ensure that their network architecture is able to withstand the latest threats.
Another benefit of security by design is that it can help organizations comply with industry regulations and standards. With an increasing number of regulations and standards, organizations need to be able to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate security measures to protect sensitive information, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). By incorporating security considerations into the design and development of a network, organizations can ensure that they meet these regulatory requirements and avoid potential legal and financial consequences.
In addition to these benefits, security by design can also improve overall business continuity and support for the organization’s mission-critical operations by providing a secure and stable network environment. This can help organizations maintain their reputation and customer trust, and support overall business objectives.
Security by design is a mandatory approach for today’s organizations to ensure the protection of their sensitive information, compliance with regulatory standards, and the maintenance of overall business continuity. It is a proactive approach that helps organizations identify and mitigate potential security threats before they occur and implement robust security controls that are tailored to their specific needs. By adopting security by design, organizations can reduce the likelihood of a successful attack, limit the potential damage of an attack, and maintain their reputation and customer trust.
The six pillars of Computer Network Security Architecture
To protect against potential threats and ensure compliance with industry regulations, security by design for network architecture is essential for today’s organizations. By implementing these pillars, organizations can limit threat propagation, authenticate users and computers, monitor network activity, enforce policies, prevent data breaches, and ensure compliance.
- Segmentation: One of the key pillars of security by design for network architecture is segmentation. Segmentation is the division of a network into smaller, isolated segments in order to limit the propagation of potential security threats. Macrosegmentation is used to separate networks that do not have direct access to each other. For example, a guest network that is separate from the corporate user network, or a management network that is separate from the corporate users. Microsegmentation is used to filter within a macro segment, for example, to restrict communication between users or between devices. Once an attacker has gained access to a single device or system, segmentation helps limit lateral movement by preventing the attacker from moving from one segment to another.
- Network access control: Another key pillar of security by design is network access control. This includes implementing mechanisms that authenticate users and computers before allowing them access to the network. This can include the use of 802.1X for LAN authentication, firewalls to enforce rules for traffic flow between segments, and proxies to enforce Internet usage policies. Only authorized users and devices can access the network and sensitive data.
- Visibility: Having asset visibility into what is happening on the network is essential to effectively protecting it. This includes understanding traffic flows, identifying potential threats, and monitoring for unusual activity. This can be achieved through the use of third-party products such as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), NetFlow, packet taps, packet mirroring, and other security tools. This visibility enables enterprises to detect and respond to potential threats in real time.
- Policy Enforcement: Enforcing policies is about preventing access from being granted once granted. It is about ensuring that the policies and rules set for the network are being followed, and detecting and preventing violations. This can be done through the use of digital checkpoints such as firewalls, proxies, IDS/IPS, switches, routers, wireless LAN controllers, and applications on clients and servers. Policy enforcement helps ensure that only authorized users and devices can access the network, and that they can only access the specific resources and data they are authorized to access.
- CIA Triad: The CIA triad-confidentiality, integrity, and availability-is another important pillar of security by design for network architecture. Confidentiality is about keeping the organization’s data private and secret. Integrity is the assurance that data has not been tampered with or altered. Availability is about ensuring that the data is accessible and usable when it is needed. Protecting these three elements ensures that data is protected from unauthorized access, modification, or destruction.
- Regulatory compliance: The final pillar of security by design for network architecture is to comply with regulations and standards. This refers to ensuring that the organization meets the standards set by industry regulations, such as HIPAA or PCI DSS. This includes complying with the requirements set forth in these regulations, such as encryption, access control, and incident response plans. This helps protect sensitive data and prevents the organization from being fined if regulations are not followed.
These pillars work together to ensure that the network is secure and that sensitive data is protected. Implementation of these pillars during the design phase is critical to the overall security of the network, rather than as an afterthought. Incorporating security by design principles proactively identifies and addresses potential vulnerabilities and threats, resulting in a more secure and resilient network. It is much more efficient and cost-effective to have these security measures in place during the design phase, rather than after the network has been deployed.
Security by design is the process of ensuring the overall security of a network by building security measures into the design of the network instead of adding security after the fact. These pillars work together to ensure that the network is safe and that sensitive data is safeguarded. Implementing these security measures during the design phase is critical to overall network security, as it is more efficient and cost-effective than retrofitting later. It is important for organizations to recognize the importance of Security by Design and to understand the benefits it can bring to securing their network.