Layered security: prevention, detection, response

June 30, 2021
By County magazine staff

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Cybersecurity experts recommend a layered security approach to protecting data and systems. The idea behind layered security is that there’s no silver bullet that will completely protect a county’s infrastructure or systems. Instead, counties should implement multiple types of protections, or layers, that cover these three basic elements: prevention, detection and response. 

One way to visualize this approach is to think of a castle and its various protections: a moat and drawbridge, fortified walls, ramparts, flanking towers, etc. No one feature makes a castle’s defenses impenetrable, but in aggregate, they are very effective at thwarting attacks.  

Cybersecurity defense layers include ongoing awareness training of county personnel on phishing, malware, physical access security, password protection and more. They also include tools such as a strong data firewall, a robust patching program, endpoint detection and response, and the principle of least privilege, a technical policy that grants users access to only those resources or systems necessary for an individual’s function.

The TAC County Information Resources Agency (TAC CIRA) has been adding new layers of defense within its policies and services over the past several months to help counties protect their data. Upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 email services with greater spam protection and requiring multifactor authentication are a few examples. TAC CIRA is also implementing more controls within its email administration process that will improve protection against bad actors and fraudulent email accounts that could compromise a county’s network.  

TAC CIRA email members must designate three email administrators, and future email-related requests from that county’s personnel must first be vetted and approved by one of the designated county administrators. It’s just one more layer of defense to protect your county’s information assets and infrastructure.  

Contact TAC CIRA for more information at or (800) 456-5974. We’re here to help.

Join the academy

Learn the capabilities required to implement a layered security strategy when you commit to the Enterprise Cybersecurity Leadership Academy from the National Association of Counties (NACo). This 12-week, online program is led by Fortune 500 chief information security officers, and Texas counties receive a $1,000 discount on enrollment. The next academy begins in September. 

Learn more at