Information Security isn’t just a Technology issue but, a Business one..

As the lines between work and play blurs due to the advances of technology, it becomes more apparent that ‘Information Security’ within the workplace is not just the IT department’s issue.

Information or data is a business enabler, it enables operations and productivity so, the security of it should be viewed as essential and promoted throughout the company – but, in most cases it is not.

Is this because we instinctively protect what we can see in front of us like buildings, personnel, hardware, the tangible assets but, we neglect the intangibles such as information because we struggle to see the physical value of it? Or is it the general attitude towards data security, the idea that we just need to do enough to meet regulations and compliance standards?

IT Security should be seen as a task to minimise risk for an organisation

This risk management is not just limited to the IT department or within the office because let’s face it, many of us do work a little when we get home even if its just checking our emails.

‘As many as 49% of individuals would use their personal device for work, found in a recent Norton Report’.

Employees use of unauthorised personal mobile devices can be a threat because it is an unknown object on the IT network. For example, if a user was to save business data onto an unauthorised device and then it was infected by malware, the data could end up in the wrong hands!

However, it is not about the IT department forbidding personal devices – if devices are approved then it is safe to have on the network. It’s all about having policies in place and training employees on how to access business data securely. The training should not be limited to the use of mobile devices but, general IT security practices i.e. always encrypt email containing sensitive data or never write login credentials on a piece of paper.

It is also important to ensure staff are aware of ‘Social Engineering’ because no matter how protected an IT Network is, there is always the possibility of external threats getting in, like CryptoWall which tricks users into opening infected attachments, exploit security gaps in Sliverlight, Flash and Java then, similar to CryptoLocker it will encrypt your files and demand a ransom.

Regular IT network assessments are recommended – not only will it help protect and minimise potential security risks, it can also be an opportunity to assess the efficiency levels of the network.

There will always be a possibility of a breach in security for every company, it could be due to a cyber attack, human error, social engineering etc but,if risk management is a common goal amongst every employee not just the IT department, it can help manage and minimise security risks in the long run.

To find out more about data protection or IT network security you can contact our consultants on 0845 603 5552 or drop us an email on info@netshield.co.uk

What are Next Generation Firewalls?

Firewalls are a piece of software or hardware that helps to prevent unauthorized access to a computer or an IT network by screening out viruses, worms and hackers. As cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated the traditional firewall are now being replaced by the ‘Next Generation Firewall’ (NGFW).

Next Generation Firewalls

While traditional firewalls looks at IT network protection as a whole, the Next Generation Firewalls have the additional functionality of securing applications and web content. They have integrated intrusion prevention, allowing network administrators to apply controls at the application layer. They also have deep packet inspection, with the capability to detect malicious malware and web content. For network administrators on NGFW devices you can gain more insight on the network usage by adding the reporting and monitoring tools on the device.

Why use one?

It is important for businesses to assess their current IT network for vulnerabilities on a regular basis and whether the current infrastructure would protect the business against the evolving malicious threats.  With the growing usage of social media and internet for work purposes, NGFW will give businesses the extra protection they need. A NGFW device will also provide a cost-effective way adding an additional layer of content and application protection while providing a management system into one device.

Mobile Device Management – Netshield New Service Announcement

On the 15th April 2013, Netshield highlights the importance of mobile data security and protection,by launching a new service – ‘Mobile Device Management’ (MDM).

This new addition to their comprehensive portfolio of Managed IT Services will help businesses lower potential data security risks involved with corporate mobile device usage and ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies in the workplace.

Richard Carty Commercial Director of Netshield commented ‘Due to the growing demand by our customers for ‘Workforce Mobility’ Netshield recognised the need for MDM; as on average employees carries 3 devices with them and working on them while on the move, which can increase IT security vulnerabilities.’

‘Mobile Device Management is essential to today’s businesses. Our new service will enable our customers to work anywhere in the world without worrying about potential data security breaches or business data falling into the wrong hands if the device is lost or stolen’.

For more information on the service visit our website or call us on 0845 603 5552

The Different Types of IT Network Virtualization

IT network virtualization has been around for many years and gaining in popularity amongst SMB’s,  with many currently planning or deploying virtualization projects. It has also been found that over 40% of medium sized businesses have already virtualized their servers.

Within the virtualization market there are 2 main competing brands VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V, where both have their benefits. But, prior to choosing the software vendor a business must decide on what type of virtualization to proceed with and the objectives of the IT project.

There are 3 main types of IT Network Virtualization:

Storage Virtualization

Storage devices on the network like hard drives are consolidated into one place and managed by a central portal. This will allow network administrators to monitor resource levels available on the IT network and making it easier to manage day to day.

Network Virtualization

This is where a traditional IT network is transformed to a virtual network by combining both hardware and software resources within the IT infrastructure. The network administrator would then be able to share resources amongst the users, like dividing bandwidth into different channels. They will also be able to see the complete network in a management portal, which would help streamline processes and save time.

Server Virtualization

One of the most popular forms of virtualization – this is when virtual machines are created within physical servers but, the virtual machines will still appear to be in a separate space. Different tasks can then be assigned to different servers, allowing savings on processing power, cost and space while the administrator will still be able to diagnose and resolve issues quickly.

To find out how virtualization can help your business contact us today

Top 5 Advantages of Managed IT Services for Businesses

The reliance on IT systems has prompted a movement from traditional break-fix or reactive IT support to Managed IT services. ‘Reactive IT support’ or ‘Break-fix IT Support’ is when an issue arise within the network and the IT engineer is called. Whereas ‘Proactive’ or ‘Managed IT’ involves continuous monitoring and maintenance of an IT network so, an IT engineer can potentially resolve and prevent issues occurring with the system while the end-users remain productive and working.

Here are our Top 5 Benefits of a fully ‘Managed IT Service’:

1. Increase Productivity

By opting for a Managed IT service it can lower the risk and potential impact of IT failure on a business; because by continuously managing and monitoring an IT network the Managed Service Provider (MSP) can take a proactive approach and resolve certain issues prior to it affecting the end user. Also it can decrease the time from major network failure to issue resolution, as the MSP will have in-depth knowledge of the IT network already.

2. Reduce Overheads

Managed IT is a cost effective way for managing and dealing with an organisations business IT; as businesses would not require capital investment i.e. for in-house IT team but, only a monthly operational expense is required. With a managed IT service a business can leverage resources and expertise from the MSP for the length of the contract.

3. IT Expertise

By investing in a MSP for your company will have a team of IT experts with a wealth of experience and expertise to monitor and manage the business IT infrastructure. They will also be trained on the latest technology and be able to offer tailored recommendations based on the current condition of the IT network.

4. Reduce Network Downtime

By having regularly maintenance activities in place conducted by the MSP, it can help reduce the occurrence of unforeseen downtime or incidents and it will keep the business running smoothly. Also scheduled IT healthcheck reports generated by the MSP will also help with future IT resource planning.

5. Customisable SLA

Businesses can often customise a Managed IT Services package to suit the business needs and budgets. Service Level Agreements can be tailored to manage the whole IT infrastructure, certain devices or aspects of the network. The IT support included in the service can be the standard 9 to 5 or 24/7, there is a choice with managed IT.

A good Managed Service Provider can help nurture and grow your business by affectively managing your business IT. There are a number of benefits of Managed IT services that a business can gain from investing in it.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact us.