November 15, 2023

Strengthening Cybersecurity- Part 3: Peeling Back the Layers of Protection

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In this digital age, where data is often more valuable than gold, protecting sensitive information is essential. To achieve robust cybersecurity, it's crucial to consider multiple layers of defense working in tandem to protect against cyber threats. In this article, we'll explore the concept of cybersecurity as an onion and the importance of having complementary tools and controls spread across various layers.

The Onion Analogy

Imagine cybersecurity as an onion, with each layer representing a distinct line of defense. The idea is to have multiple layers of protection, so if one layer is compromised, there are additional barriers to prevent unauthorized access or data breaches. Just like peeling back an onion layer by layer, an attacker must overcome several obstacles to reach the core.

#1 Preventative Controls

The outermost layer of our cybersecurity onion consists of preventive controls. These controls aim to stop cyber threats before they can even breach your network or system. They act as the first line of defense and include measures like firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), endpoint detection and response (EDR) software, and access controls.

Firewalls: These are like the walls of the castle. They filter incoming and outgoing network traffic, allowing only authorized data packets to pass through.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Software: Think of EDR software as the guards at the gate. They scan files and emails for malware and viruses to prevent them from entering your system.

Access Controls: These are the keys to the kingdom. Access controls ensure that only authorized individuals can access specific resources, systems, or data.

#2 Detective Controls

Moving inward, the next layer of our cybersecurity onion is comprised of detective controls. These controls are designed to identify and alert you to any suspicious or malicious activities that may have bypassed the preventive controls. Examples include security information and event management (SIEM) systems, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and log analysis tools.

SIEM Systems: SIEM systems are like the watchful eyes within the network. They collect and analyze data from various sources to detect anomalies and security events.

IDS: Intrusion Detection Systems act as the sentinels patrolling the grounds. They monitor network traffic and system logs to identify any signs of unauthorized access or suspicious behavior.

Log Analysis Tools: These tools are akin to historians documenting every action within the environment. They help investigate incidents by providing a record of activities and events.

#3 Administrative Controls

At the core of our cybersecurity onion, we have administrative controls. These controls are the policies, procedures, and best practices that guide and manage the overall security posture of an organization. They include aspects such as security awareness training, incident response plans, and vulnerability management.

Security Awareness Training: It is important to educate employees about potential threats and how to respond to them. Well-informed users are less likely to fall victim to social engineering attacks.

Incident Response Plans: Think of these as the emergency procedures for the network. They outline the steps to take when a security incident occurs, helping to mitigate damage and recover quickly.

Vulnerability Management: This is like regular maintenance of the company's defenses. Identifying and patching vulnerabilities in a timely manner is essential to prevent breaches.

Complementary Tools and the Importance of Layered Security

The strength of the cybersecurity onion lies in the integration and complementarity of these layers. Just as a real onion's layers work together to create a unique flavor, the layers of cybersecurity work together to create a robust defense. When properly implemented, these layers ensure that even if one control fails or is bypassed, others are in place to prevent a breach or minimize its impact.


In an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, thinking of cybersecurity as an onion with multiple layers of protection is crucial. Each layer, from preventive to detective to administrative controls, plays a vital role in fortifying your digital defenses. By understanding and implementing a layered security approach, you can better protect your sensitive data and mitigate the ever-present cyber threats that loom in the digital realm. Remember, it's not just about having strong controls; it's about having them work in harmony to create a robust cybersecurity strategy. Please contact our team for more information or assistance.

Read our previous articles in this series Part 1: Tackling Clear Text Password Storage and Part 2: Credential Stuffing.

The information provided in this communication is of a general nature and should not be considered professional advice. You should not act upon the information provided without obtaining specific professional advice. The information above is subject to change.

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