Doing business in the digital age offers so many opportunities to connect and communicate with your customers. But unfortunately, digitalising your business also exposes you and your customers to a range of potentially malicious, and costly, threats.
The global recruitment company, PageUp, learnt this lesson earlier this year when they had a major data breach in their IT infrastructure. This led to the compromise of bank details, Tax File Numbers, and personal details of thousands of job applicants for all of their clients.
The breach was attributed to a piece of malicious code executed within their internal systems. But the fallout caused by this oversight was a tremendous loss of brand trust, productivity, and revenue.
That’s why ensuring that your business’s important information is secure from cyber-attacks should be paramount to every business that is serious about protecting their reputation and avoiding the costly mistakes others have fallen to.
According to the 2017 Threat Report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre, 78% of the self-reported private sector’s breaches came from a compromised system and malicious email alone.
A business’s network infrastructure security should have strong, layered defences but still allow ease-of-access and functionality for its users. So how do businesses make sure their important and private information is safe?
Know your network
Network infrastructure encompasses all resources that provide connectivity, communication, operation and management of your IT infrastructure. This includes hardware, software, and services – like internet browsers and other applications.
At each stage of your network there are possible vulnerabilities. Hardware, such as routers and cables, are exposed to theft, loss of power and damage. Whilst your internal network could be invaded by malware, spam or password penetration.
Take a careful evaluation of your entire infrastructure. Where are routers, cables and hard-drives located? Are your passwords really secure? Do you use any encryption for outbound data or segment your network so that all your important data is not accessible from one point of entry?
Anything that is within your network and is not essential to your business activities should be removed, as needlessly complicating your network can leave you open to unnecessary danger.
Be proactive and eliminate your network’s vulnerabilities
According to Accenture, it takes an average of 50 days to resolve a malicious insiders’ attack and 23 days to resolve a ransomware attack. On top of that the increase in annual security breaches is going up by an average of 27.4%. So auditing your IT infrastructure and rectifying any weaknesses in your network’s security is an increasingly becoming a necessary expense to save time and money down the road.
Some of the more common mistakes are easy to fix once you know what they are. And getting a professional’s advice about where your business’s unique vulnerabilities lie is a valuable exercise at this stage.
Creating a network security policy and diligently managing and maintaining your IT infrastructure will put you in the best possible position to avoid a potentially debilitating data breach.
Have the basics covered
With your network infrastructure security policy, you should ensure that all of these aspects are covered as an absolute minimum:
- Investing in malware-protection software
- Regularly backing up data and storing it in a separate location
- Having a diligent password policy where all passwords are changed once a quarter
- Only allowing remote access from company-approved devices
- Encrypting all important communication channels
- Having firewalls to prevent penetration of your internal network
- Using employee network-monitoring tools to oversee any internal misuse or foul-play
If you would like to know more about how to secure your business from common threats, download our free eBook - ‘The Ultimate Security Brief For Executives.’