Designing, installing, and maintaining your company’s infrastructure can be one heck of a job. I’ve been doing network architecture for about 20 years now and the best explanation I’ve ever found to tell people what I do is still, “I make sure packets go from point A to point B, and back again”. Horribly simplified, but if I start going down the rabbit-hole about L1-L4 design ideas and trade-offs, they immediately look like they just stepped on a rake and knocked themselves silly. Seriously, if I ever want my kids to go to sleep right away, I just pick a random page out of “TCP/IP Illustrated” and start reading it to them. “Forget counting sheep, I’ve got a subnet mask for you to work on…” But one of the things that keeps me up at night is security. I’ve had plenty of clients who’ve back-burnered security and woke up the next day to an encrypted file system and demands for bitcoins. I’ve got others who are now starting to realize that everybody accessing their IP/sensitive docs internally maybe really isn’t a good thing and those emails from Mr. Nairbobi? Ya know, the ones that say you’re rich and can you please open this PDF as well as send us an email? Yeah, maybe those really should be looked at, and no, I don’t know why the admin account accessed those servers from my machine earlier.
The challenge with security is that it’s against an ever-changing picture that you’re trying to defend against. There does not exist one single on-prem or SAS package that can defend against everything perfectly. So obviously you’ll need more than one set of tools, which is where the concept of ‘defense in depth’ or ‘defense in layers’ comes from. But you can take it another step, not only have the ‘layers’ but also design it so that the layers work with and complement each other, and thus, the concept of a Security Ecosystem is born.
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Author: Russell Jensen, Sysorex Solution Architect