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Connectivity and the risk to data security


Interconnectivity is essential to business operations but greater connectivity can present security risks that expose an organisation’s vulnerability. With the increased use of more and more sophisticated technology, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality, interconnectivity is absolutely imperative to keeping a business operational. But the more you connect, the greater your attack surface area.

“To safely and securely support critical interconnectivity, the right kind of ICT infrastructure is vital,” Maria Bell, senior research analyst at CCS Insight, said. “It needs to be intelligent to proactively and contextually surface insights to help secure and protect an organisation.

“Security and privacy must be a front of mind concern and be embedded throughout to allow for end to end continuous protection, and always on approach towards security and privacy will help to mitigate the impact from an ever evolving threat landscape and the actions of more versatile threat actors.”

Infrastructure is key to secure connectivity

Networks need good design and architecture, along with equipment that can be flexibly configured and extended through software programming, thus addressing security concerns by embedding resilience into a management and governance. Network infrastructures that are not built to support mobile technologies and location based services are often responsible for application failures and poor operating performance. It is therefore important to apply a structured architecture to a network topology, ensuring separate physical logistical, logical networks according to the nature of the traffic they carry.

“Automation is also crucial for secure operations,” Bell continued. “Especially for administering fixes insurance compliance with the latest security policies, and notify when an issue arises or a policy is breached. So remediation can take place. Interconnectivity combines workforces and technology to improve workflows. It enhances organisations accountability, helping to improve business transparency and customer experience. It successfully allows a business to operate more efficiently and increase productivity, ultimately driving return on investment and achieving profits.

“There is no doubt that the myriad benefits of interconnectivity far outweigh the dangers and businesses need to remember that with the right policies and sound infrastructure in place these can be minimised.”

Legacy systems create vulnerabilities

Digital transformation can be expensive and complex leading many companies to delay upgrades to their business operations but as data connectivity increases it can leave cost-conscious boardrooms exposed to increasing risk.

 “It is important that executives understand the compliance requirements and the risks involved around connectivity and data,” says Adam Brown, managing security consultant at the synopsis software integrity group.

“Security is a culture issue and it start at the top. Long-established firms are often running on old legacy technology and they are under constant pressure to digitally transform and cloudify everything but such an environment can expose an organisation to vulnerabilities.”

A core vulnerability is the use of open source software that can compromise security around interconnectivity, Brown says. “Open source software degrades over time because technology moves on, attackers gain intelligence on how to attack legacy software and vulnerabilities are exposed. It’s important to use robust software solutions and ensure your IT systems keep pace with both data security and connectivity developments.”

Secure connectivity as a USP

Secure connectivity should always be a default setting across an organisation’s culture but industry reports show that the greatest security vulnerability is often human error and failure of workplace processes. Demonstrating the strength of your security culture can give you a head start on commercial rivals.

“Companies can use security to enhance a business proposition, as a unique selling point, because customers aren’t just looking for a product or a service, they’re looking for a secure service or a secure product,” Brown explains. “And if you can prove that you’ve not only done your due diligence but you’re actively pursuing a more secure product or service, then it’s a competitive advantage.”

Aside from malware, the greatest security threats come from known vulnerabilities and employee complacency around passwords, according to a report by Nozomi Networks Labs that highlights the need for a robust security culture across an organisation.

“A company has a responsibility to ensure that data is both stored securely and transmitted securely,” Brown urges. “The company must know where that data is, how it is connected and what touches it, and it must have a classification system and an inventory of the data software. Regulation drives the need for compliance but in itself it does not solve the problem, security of data and connectivity starts with every individual in an organisation.”

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