5 steps to secure your online infrastructure

Smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things – they’re all very exciting, but can open up new weak spots in your online infrastructure, meaning you need to ensure you’re properly protected. When it comes to new technology, every company wants to stay ahead of the game, and it’s important that you do this without compromising on security.

Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about the next, latest and greatest gadget to hit the market, with ‘smart’ technology everywhere you look. Don’t be lulled into the false pretence that this is all just consumer stuff; portable devices let staff work anywhere at any time so you don’t even need to have a physical office anymore if you don’t fancy being chained to the desk all day.

By now you might be shouting “Fantastic! Sign me up”, but stop, wait a minute. Any new technology trend brings problems as well as benefits so you need to be mindful. Whether you’re in the process of kitting out your office to become a true Internet of Things fantasy land or simply putting in place a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, remember that anything that’s online will allow outside access.

So with this in mind, you need to make sure all of your doors are locked to prevent intruders. Unlike a physical door this isn’t altogether simple – a simple lock and key won’t help you here – but it’s essential that you get it right. A disastrous breach can lead to immeasurable financial damage, or in the worst cases, game over.

There’s no exact recipe for a secure infrastructure and don’t think that you’ll ever achieve 100 per cent security because it’s virtually impossible, but have a look at the following steps as a starting point:

Step 1: Arm your defences – Invest in top grade technology. You didn’t think twice before installing that expensive burglar alarm and protecting your virtual infrastructure is just as important. A solid firewall will act as the main barrier when you’ve got cyber thieves knocking on your door. If you’re planning to grow your business quickly, invest in a firewall that can expand easily and make sure the one you choose can keep up with the performance levels you expect from your network.

Step 2: Decide who to let in – As with vampires, you should always be careful who you invite into your house as you might find it difficult to get them back out again. If you’ve got a lot of very sensitive information on file, only the people who need to access it should be able to. Think about storing the most sensitive information, like financial data, in a separate system.

Step 3: Keep a lookout – If anything nasty touches your network you should know about it before it becomes too late. Monitor your endpoints to make sure that devices connected to the network are not used as conduits for the spread of malware. Don’t let a single device be used as a gateway to your entire network and be ruthless when you spot an intruder.

Step 4: Cover up – You wouldn’t point a giant neon arrow directly over your bank details waiting for a burglar to break in and find them, would you? If and when your defences are breached, you can still make sure your data is hidden. The most sensitive information such as financial data should be encrypted to ensure that if the network is breached, data still can’t be easily accessed.

Step 5: Plan for attack – It’s inevitable that at some point you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation. When a breach does occur, make sure you have a disaster recovery plan in place to contain the threat and prevent overall damage. This is when your defences will truly be tested; how you come out of it will depend on how well you’ve prepared in advance.

Overall it’s essential that you find a system that works for your business and protects your data. If security isn’t high on your list of priorities, then it’s time to re-write that list! Before you rush into integrating the latest technology into your network, stop and think about how it might expose you to risk and find out how you can fix it before you take a step further.

Image source: Shutterstock

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