How To Strengthen Network Security In An Increasingly Connected World

Posted on October 12, 2017

How To Strengthen Network Security In An Increasingly Connected World

The world is connected in more ways than ever before, thanks to the advent of cloud computing and Internet of Things-connected devices.

Research has shown that there is already almost 8.5 billion connected devices across the world, with that number set to rocket to 20.4 billion by 2020.

And data release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in July this year has shown that cloud computing services adoption has risen from 19 per cent to over 30 per cent, in just 12 months.

More than ever before, businesses are able to network and collaborate on another level. Unfortunately, though, this also allows more pathways in for hackers who want to breach these networks.

Research has shown that Australia was hammered with 9432 cyber security breaches in a one year period from 2014-15, double that of the previous 12 months.

That includes government sites, with the 2016 Census hit by a series of denial of service (DDos) attacks.

So with that in mind, how you can you keep your business safe from outside threats?

Government taking a firm approach to stopping cyber threats

The issue of DDoS and other cyber breaches is being treated very seriously by the Federal Government.

Mandatory data breach notification legislation has passed the Australian Senate and is expected to be rolled out in early 2018.

These changes to the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 means most businesses will be obligated to report breaches, allowing consumers to act accordingly.

While these allow for greater transparency, the government wants to see less of the breaches occur in the first place.

To this end, it has established a military grade team to proactively seek out and shut down hackers operating in areas of the world that have weaker data privacy legislation.

This is expected to be rolled out this year, and will assist in thwarting widespread ransomware attacks before they ever reach Australian networks.

What you can do to prevent attacks

There are a range of solutions on the market, as well as some in-house tactics you can employ to secure your systems.

Here are some of the essential solutions you can roll out:

1. Provide training: Keeping your staff up-to-date on safe password strategies, cloud security and the use of external devices and drives can help prevent base level attacks from occurring. Email security should also be included in this training, as phishing scams can sometimes break through and provide risks for those who are unaware of their dangers.

2. Roll out the best antivirus and security software you can: This goes without saying, but with no protection, you are open to attacks. Today’s best practice pushes security to the edge of the business network, with products such as Firewall as a Service becoming the norm.

3. Monitor staff network usage: It is not paranoia—research has shown that 75 per cent of large companies in the US have experienced a security breach that can be sourced back to an employee. Australia is no exception—if any red flags appear, you need to be able to act fast.

4. Have a robust security policy: It is best to go to the experts to create this policy. Vocus has experts and solutions available to set up the best security policy for your operations.

Case study on securing a major Australian company’s network

Vocus has long recognised the importance of security in business networks.

An example of applying this focus is the work done with Spend-Less Group, a national shoe retailer, to create a country-wide WAN that allows the company greater visibility of purchasing trends and movement of stock.

Vocus utilised a combination of DSL, NBN and fibre solutions that were connected with one IP WAN to make this national network a reality.

The result was a connected network in CBD, metro and regional areas that was effective but, most importantly, secure.

Spend-Less Group IT manager Mark Claessens said the attention to detail was what impressed them the most.

"Vocus was compelling in its offering and presented a thorough and extensive process to get the right solutions," he said.

"Overall Vocus was very good at project management and had great attention to detail in the offering."

With security breaches on the rise, and mandatory reporting at our doorstep, not acting on security could be a hammer blow for your business. Vocus Communications has all the experience and solutions you will need to make your network watertight. Contact us today to find out how we can strengthen your network security.

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