Multi-Layer Security is Essential for Public Sector Networks

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Public sector networks are prime targets for cyber-attacks. From criminal gangs looking to exploit sensitive personal information to hackers with political agendas threatening national security, public sector organizations face some of the most dangerous cyber-threats.

At the same time, regular budgetary constraints mean that the cost of investing in data protection solutions presents its own challenges, and so public bodies often find it harder than private organizations to prevent data falling into the wrong hands.

Even when public sector networks are covered by complete control and monitoring of the internet and its IP components, they can still be vulnerable to would-be attackers. By deploying IPsec packet layer protection without encryption at the lowest network levels, operators are effectively positioning an armed guard at their front door with no consideration for other points of entry. Essentially, they are not just leaving their backdoor unlocked but wide open as a virtual invitation to cybercriminals to spy, manipulate and even gain influence over corporate IT and control centers.

Tapping fiber optic cables is now not just possible but easy. In fact, devices like optical splitters can be bought for less than a hundred dollars. By plugging these into a network, light is diverted to a separate receiver so that information can be sifted and decoded. What’s more, this eavesdropping can often be done without any sort of breach being detected.

Security at the speed of cloud is scary but necessary, and it is now clear that the only safe solution is one that proactively protects data in motion. This is why all organizations, both public and private, need to deploy a tiered data security strategy.

Encryption at Layers 1 and 2 is the only way to ensure that financial records, bank account details, medical histories, defense secrets and more are genuinely protected. With low-layer encryption of mission-critical transport networks, public sector bodies can finally be sure that data is secure against local, regional and global cyber-attacks, as it leaves the premises and travels through the cloud.

Secure connectivity linking data centers, headquarters and regional offices requires Layer 1 optical encryption. Not only does this provide maximum security but there are other benefits compared to relying on IPsec protection at Layer 3 alone. In-flight encryption at the physical layer reduces complexity and adds very little latency, improving efficiency and boosting bandwidth. It is also a highly scalable method of data protection and one that is becoming increasingly cost effective with the newest solutions on the market.

Secure Ethernet connectivity for VPNs is now available through protection at the data link level (Layer 2). This delivers cost-efficient, high-performance encryption and enables secure access to virtual networks. Virtual network functions can also be leveraged for open firewalls and encryption solutions.

With low-layer encryption built on a robust algorithm for cryptographic key exchange, confidentiality can be assured so that only the intended recipient has access to data. Authentication can also be guaranteed so that receiving elements of the network link know who to trust. Finally, integrity is assured as data cannot be altered whilst in transport and will arrive at its destination intact.

As the old saying goes: prevention is better than the cure; and never has this phrase been more applicable than when it comes to securing the cloud. Low-layer encryption is the most secure and lowest cost-per-bit solution available.

It also protects data at all layers in the network stack as everything has to flow through the connectivity layer before going anywhere else. With this method, public sector networks can rely on a consistent security solution that balances performance, flexibility and price.

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