Ensuring that your organisation’s data is secure is a key part of running a successful business. Unfortunately, data leaks are happening on an increasingly frequent basis, with significantly more people being affected. This can be a nightmare for any company involved, so it’s important to keep your IT infrastructure up to date to help protect your data and comply with the UK data protection laws.
There’s a lot to consider when looking to build out your IT infrastructure as there’s multiple moving parts. At Three Cherries, we specialise in IT infrastructure and data protection; that’s why our team has written this article to run you through the basics.
What is GDPR, and Does it Still Apply to Me?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation that outlines requirements that organisations must adhere to if operating within the EU.
GDPR was put into place to combat the rise of data misuse and to ensure consumer privacy. It outlines a lot of details, essentially boiling down to how you store and use your customers’ data – your organisation is accountable for any data that you collect.
Post-Brexit, EU regulation no longer applies to the UK. However, the UK integrated GDPR policies into the UK GDPR, which is essentially identical. In addition to this, if your business operates anywhere in the EU, then compliance to GDPR is mandatory to avoid hefty fines.
The Threat of Cyber Crime
No matter the size of your organisation, cyber criminals don’t discriminate. Your business and customer data is incredibly valuable, and criminals are constantly developing more effective ways to steal it – from large-scale ransomware attacks to smaller but equally as devastating phishing scams, there are many ways cyber criminals will try to get access to your data. Many data breaches happen as a result of poor processes and human error, but technology plays a vital role in your cyber security.
How to Build Good Network Infrastructure
There’s an awful lot of parts that work together to form an IT network. We break this down in this article, but we’ll run through the basics here.
The way that your infrastructure is built will directly affect how secure your data is. Outdated software and hardware are more likely to be breached, while updated technology will come with advanced security measures.
Choosing a Secure Server
There are two main types of servers that you’ll have to choose from: physical or cloud based. Physical servers sit in-house and require a fair bit of space, maintenance and support. The main advantage of this is that you have full control of your server and know exactly what you’re running your business from. A cloud server will usually be offered in a maintained package, this will typically be maintained and supported by a third-party.
Both server types work great as long as they’re maintained and secured correctly. No matter which you go for, you’ll want to make sure that it’s properly encrypted. Encrypting your data works by scrambling it into an alternative form. This is extremely difficult for criminals to decipher, acting as both a deterrent and a safeguard. Your encryption software is able to decrypt it exclusively for authorised parties, meaning that only you can access and make sense of your data.
A firewall is an essential part of your IT infrastructure. The right firewall can provide the security, control and visibility you need to keep your data is protected. A firewall comes as either hardware, or software. It works by establishing a barrier between your network (and other trusted networks), and untrusted networks. It essentially regulates traffic like a country’s border, only allowing through information that has permission.
Establishing backups of all of your files is paramount when reinforcing your network infrastructure. A backup is like insurance. In the case of emergency, or if there’s a breach that prevents you from accessing your data, you’ll always be able to call on your backups to both protect yourself from extortion attempts, and to keep the business running, protecting your bottom line.
Working from home (WFH) is here to stay. Many businesses implemented WFH strategies to cope with the pandemic; strategies that aren’t going anywhere.
It is worth noting that WFH can pose a security risk, as many members of staff will be working outside of the secure server, and many email channels aren’t encrypted to the same degree that communications from your office might be.
This isn’t saying that it’s impossible to protect your data when working from home, you just need to adjust your infrastructure and migrate your network security safeguards to home workers.
A key part of your network is your people. At the end of the day, all the encryption in the world, and all of the advanced security measures will struggle to keep out a hacker who has gained access through a member of your team.
You should carry out frequent, updated trainings on cyber security with your team, making sure that everyone’s on the same page and is aware of the risks of malware & scams. Your IT infrastructure set up can be accredited by ‘Cyber Essentials’ – a government backed scheme with two levels of certification focused around reinforcing your cyber security measures, and educating staff on the dangers of cybercrime.
Who Needs to Worry About Data Protection?
The short answer? Everyone! Any organisation that handles sensitive data should endeavour to secure their servers. This includes:
- Businesses of all sizes
- Schools and education establishments
- Government branches
IT Infrastructure & Data Protection Support with Three Cherries
Implementing data protection measures isn’t something that you need to attempt alone. At Three Cherries, we work with businesses big and small to improve their IT infrastructure. It can be tempting to leave your outdated infrastructure and hope for the best, but the fact of the matter is that this vulnerability could be exploited at some point.
We’re here to help. Give us a shout today – our team are on hand to discuss your unique situation, and to advise on exactly how to improve your IT network infrastructure.