With the shift to cloud services and online storage IT departments are continually being asked to deliver greater internet bandwidth. It is expensive to stay secure and keep pace with bandwidth demands and the temptation to drop some security features in order to maintain throughput is too much for some IT teams.

But the risks are too big to ignore. Consider the impact on your customers if their personal information is accessed and the reputational damage to the organisation of this or other data breaches – we see these events in the headlines often. Any data breach comes at a significant cost.

And – as the bad guys get smarter – thinking about only perimeter or network security is no longer enough.

To be effective in the modern environment, your IT security system must stay up-to-date and be integrated throughout the organisation – at the server, end-point and network level. We consider each of these elements in more detail below.

The critical elements of an integrated IT security system

1.Server level protection
The ultimate prize for a data hacker is not an individual lap-top, it is a company server. Ensure that you have – and stick to! – a regular schedule for server vulnerability testing. This will enable you to continually identify and remediate any issues – whether it is by installing a patch or changing a configuration.

This schedule will vary from organisation to organisation and may depend on the sensitivity of your data. Some organisations conduct vulnerability testing and remediation on a daily basis.

2.End-point protection
End-point or virus protection is like an arms race! Traditional methods which seek out malware based on a signature have worked in the past but may not be enough as the bad guys become increasingly targeted and use ‘spear phishing’ attacks.

When spear phishing, hackers use information available on social media (or other sources) to create emails that appear to be from an individual or business that you know. And they have been known to fool even senior executives with access to the most sensitive information.

To counter these attacks you need new-generation anti-malware tools that look beyond the signature, conduct a real-time analysis of what the software is doing and stop any programs of potential concern.

3.Network protection
The firewall between the LAN and the internet is an important part of the security puzzle. It enables secure access in and out of the local network but only as long as it can meet the demands of the continually increasing bandwidth.

The average refresh cycle for network security infrastructure used to be about 3 years. Now, as more services move into the cloud and bandwidth demands increase exponentially, your previous refresh cycle may not be enough.

The message is simple. When you upgrade the bandwidth, you need to upgrade the firewall.

The shift to the cloud and the associated increase in bandwidth demands, and the increasingly cunning criminal hackers are only two of the many challenges for IT teams to manage. If they are not managed well however, these challenges pose a risk to the security of IT systems and networks – and this makes them worthy of being prioritised.

The good news is that there are some great tools out there that can help IT teams to gain and retain control of the critically important issue of IT security. We work with many organisations to help them do just that. Speak to us to see how we can help.