Protecting your network hive: 4 security trends you need to know about
Protecting your network hive: 4 security trends you need to know about

A bee hive is a place of industry and team work, much like your business. Just imagine a vulnerability, and a passing wasp forcing entry to wreak havoc.

A business is a hive of its own; the impact of cyber-crime is a growing concern and it is more crucial than ever to protect the integrity of the corporate system. The importance of securing customer data, increasingly shaped by regulations such as GDPR, means that organisations need to take every step possible to safeguard their customers and avert reputational crisis.

The sheer variety of attacks, targeted or otherwise, that cyber-criminals have at their disposal has increased, so the cyber-security threat is more acute than ever. With the threat landscape constantly shifting and growing, businesses must be informed and alert.

Here we take a look at four security trends shaping the way you secure your network:

The IoT data revolution

High profile attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as the Mirai botnet, have left businesses pondering how to harness the undoubted power of IoT without sacrificing security. It is up to the business to ensure these devices - which are essentially remote controls for the world - are secure and remain accessible by authorised personnel and devices only.

If not secured, they are potentially open doors for any malicious organisations or individuals to gain access to networks or the device itself. Consequently, businesses need to seek expertise from professionals that are aware of the risks and vulnerabilities as well as the mitigation and prevention methods. It has been predicted that 20 billion connected devices will be in circulation by 2020, so the problem must be addressed and rectified before it gets out of control and risks global security.

Brand reputation is the key

Today's 24-hour news cycle and the increased coverage of cyber-security in the media means that the impact of a hack or data breach is far wider reaching than the loss of money or information.

It's not just customers that are affected if security is breached; suppliers and partners are too. After a serious attack takes place and becomes public, the perception by media and social media of the organisation and its partners can nosedive within minutes.

GDPR and the road to compliance

With the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to come into effect, any business that handles personal data must be well on track towards compliance.

The terms of GDPR ensure that businesses face concrete sanctions for non-compliance – namely administrative fines of up to €20 million or four percent of a company's annual turnover (whichever is greater). In practice, they have a legal obligation to alert the relevant supervisory authority and, in some cases the customers affected, of a data breach within 72 hours of it occurring.

Data protection must form an integral part of the architecture of every organisation, considering the way people work and how it can be implemented as safely and efficiently as possible.

Data privacy in the cloud

Cloud-based technologies can provide powerful and agile customer experiences and flexibility for an increasingly IT led workforce. All organisations need to balance the level of importance of the data held, where it comes from, how it is hosted, and who it goes to, with the level of security measures they put in place.

Naturally, one of the main issues businesses may have about storing data in a public cloud is the loss of control. If the cloud provider itself is compromised, your data is vulnerable. Some SMEs, in particular, drawn in by the affordability and scalability of public cloud services, may not be fully aware of the risks presented by outsourcing their data.

Ultimately, whether you secure it in-house or through cloud-based technologies, the users are responsible. If upgrades and patches to applications are not made, they can be exploited.

Safeguarding the hive and your colony

In our connected society, securing the network “hive” is very much a team effort. Only by assessing and defining the landscape in the first instance can a successful security strategy be put in place.

A sustainable framework for data governance and security, crisis management procedures and IT architecture needs to be established to achieve a strong security ecosystem and should be at the heart of every piece of technology used. Without it, the damage is not only to the hive, but to its reputation; if a cyber-attack disrupts the running of the business, your business will go elsewhere.

Contributed by Russell Crampin, UK Managing Director at Axians UK

*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media or Haymarket Media.