The Cyber Security Landscape: Key Considerations When Upgrading Your IT Infrastructure

When upgrading your business’s IT infrastructure, one key area needs a keen focus: cyber security. Sure, your infrastructure needs to support your day-to-day processes and enable your employees to deliver services to clients quickly – but if it isn’t secure, the very foundation of your business is at risk.

With cyber threats constantly becoming more sophisticated, and threat actors increasing their sly attempts to steal data and disrupt business operations, ensuring your security posture is prepared to deflect these threats should be a core priority.

Tying your business’s IT upgrades to cyber security needs can be a tricky process, but it’s critical for the new infrastructure to meet and combat modern threats.

Your Current IT Infrastructure: Assessing the Cyber Security Framework

When upgrading infrastructure, the first step is a thorough assessment of the current IT environment. This is also the ideal time to assess any vulnerabilities, the risk landscape, and review your compliance requirements.

Security Audit

This audit should encompass a review of all hardware and software components, network configurations, data storage practices, and access controls. The goal is to identify any outdated systems, unpatched software, or weak configurations that could serve as entry points for cyber threats. Penetration testing and vulnerability scans will pinpoint risks rapidly.

Risk Management

Following the security audit, a detailed risk assessment is essential to evaluate the potential impact of identified vulnerabilities. This involves categorising risks based on their likelihood and potential damage to the business, allowing for a prioritised approach to mitigation efforts.

Regulatory Compliance

All businesses must ensure their IT infrastructure complies with relevant laws and security standards – particularly if you operate in a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare or finance. Non-compliance with Australian data privacy laws and region-specific regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can lead to significant legal and financial repercussions, in addition to compromising security.

Employee Awareness

Human error remains one of the most significant vulnerabilities in cyber security. Evaluate the knowledge and skills of your employees when it comes to data handling, and recognising suspicious behaviour like phishing attacks.

Key Security Considerations for IT Infrastructure Upgrades

When looking at possible upgrades or new solutions, there are several key factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure the new environment will both meet your operational and security needs.

Compatibility and Integration

Compatibility issues can lead to operational disruptions and new security vulnerabilities. Evaluate how new hardware components or software applications will integrate with the current environment, considering aspects like operating systems, cloud computing platforms, cyber security incident reports, and data formats. Seamless integration supports operational efficiency and reduces risks.

Scalability

As businesses grow, the IT infrastructure must be able to scale accordingly. Upgrades should address current needs and anticipate future growth and technological advancements. Investing in scalable solutions that can be expanded or adapted as required will prevent the need for frequent overhauls, and maintain defences against emerging cyber threats.

Security Features

New technologies often come with built-in security features that can significantly enhance cyber defence capabilities. When selecting new components for an upgrade, look for features such as enhanced encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), AI-powered threat detection and response, or any other security capabilities provided by the vendor.

Vendor Support

Speaking of the vendor, check reviews so you can choose vendors known for their quality products and strong security track records. Consider the level of support and updates they provide, as regular updates are critical for maintaining security against new threats.

Implementing a Proactive Cyber Security Strategy

With the new IT infrastructure components selected, it’s time to update your cyber security strategy to align with the upgrades.

Threat Detection

A cornerstone of proactive cyber security is the continuous monitoring of IT systems for unusual activity or suspicious behaviour. Advanced threat detection systems that utilise AI and machine learning will identify threats in real-time, allowing for swift mitigation actions. This ongoing vigilance is crucial in pre-empting potential breaches before they escalate.

Automate Updates

Cyber threats continually evolve to exploit new vulnerabilities in software and systems, while the vendors regularly release patches and updates to fix these vulnerabilities. If updates are delayed, threat actors have the chance to access your systems through the unpatched vulnerability. Automating patch management will ensure updates are installed as soon as they are released.

Employee Training

Regardless of your employees’ current cyber awareness levels, investing in comprehensive training and awareness programs will equip staff with up-to-date knowledge of current security risks, and keep their skills sharp.

ACSC Essential Eight

Adopting a recognised cyber security framework can provide you with a reliable guide when it comes to establishing and maintaining a strong security posture. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) developed the Essential Eight for this exact purpose – eight mitigation strategies that, when applied correctly to a business’s required maturity level, will establish a strong foundation for advanced security solutions to be built upon.

Secure Cyber Resilience in IT Infrastructure Upgrades

As your business grows, adapts, and changes, the approach to cyber security must change accordingly. Upgrading IT infrastructure with an eye on cyber security is a strategic investment in the future resilience, compliance adherence, and continued success of your business.

At Pronet, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with upgrading IT infrastructure. Our expert team is equipped to guide you through every step of the process, from IT infrastructure audits and vulnerability assessments, to ongoing monitoring of your new environment, with your cyber security needs at the forefront.

We’re also specialists in ACSC Essential Eight compliance consulting, and can bring your business’s security in line with the gold standard of cyber resilience. Book a free 10-minute consultation with us to find out how each strategy will enhance your security posture.

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