Top 10 Tips to Build a Secure Infrastructure on a Budget

December 09, 2014 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Secure Infrastructure

Regardless of how secure your business premises are today, your enterprise presents an open door to criminals if you don’t protect your digital infrastructure with comprehensive layers of security. Despite the necessity to secure your systems effectively, concerns often linger about how to afford it. Here are ten tips to strengthen your infrastructure protection on even the tightest of information security budgets.

1) Take Advantage of Expert Assessments and Planning

Engaging with a professional IT services partner may be the most cost-effective way to assess and identify your infrastructure’s weaknesses and gaps. Additionally, they will be able to recommend and design solutions that match your budget, saving you the struggle of having to research, test and source the right security solutions for your business.

2) Consider Your Security Culture

Perhaps surprisingly, employees represent a big security risk to your infrastructure, simply because they may lack awareness of just how important data security has become. Engage with your workforce and provide them with some education and training in IT and security awareness.

3) Establish and Publish Clear Policies

Establishing clear documented policies that cover exactly how you expect people to use systems in a secure manner, gives you a framework upon which to base security procedures and processes for your staff. When implementing policies, don’t forget you will need one to cover company provided and personal mobile devices too.

4) Install a Business-Class Firewall

You might be familiar with the firewall software that often comes pre-installed on new computers, but these are not sufficient to protect your network infrastructure and data. Instead you should purchase and deploy a business class firewall that can provide additional security services often referred to as UTM (Unified Threat Management). This is an affordable security solution that can provide features like Gateway Antivirus, Gateway Antispyware, Content Filtering, Intrusion Prevention and other security services to help keep your company secure.

5) Implement and Enforce a Strong password Policy

Providers of password management solutions for consumers usually have enterprise versions of their applications. These services allow you to create customized, company-wide password standards and allow your users to generate secure passwords that should be sufficient to deter opportunist cyber-criminals from trying to crack.

6) Backup Your Data Remotely

By running regular encrypted backups to affordable cloud storage, you will be able to recover your data if your infrastructure is compromised and data goes missing or is corrupted. By using a hosted solution, you also guard against data loss resulting from a physical disaster such as fire or water damaged server hardware.

7) Use an Anti-Malware Application

Antivirus alone is not enough, having additional malware protection provides another layer of security. Malware can find its way into your system via email or as a result of web surfing and downloading files from the Internet. Business class anti-malware programs are relatively inexpensive and can be configured to regularly to scan all the systems on your network, providing another layer of protection for your users and data.

8) Don’t Forget the Anti-Virus Software

Just like malware, viruses represent a significant threat to your IT infrastructure and are fast becoming highly sophisticated in their ability to thwart security measures. However even the best business class anti-virus software provides a level of protection that’s affordable for most businesses.

9) Pay Attention to Updates

Remember to update all of your software applications, on any devices (servers, laptops, PCs, mobile devices, etc.) and to update firmware on hardware (switches, firewalls, NAS drives, etc.) on a regular basis. As soon as a vendor releases a security update, you need to apply it in order to assure complete system protection. Not all products receive updates and patches via automatic download, hence this is an area where you need to be particularly diligent.

10) Outsource Everything IT

Another affordable alternative is to outsource your entire infrastructure and its security to a cloud services provider. There is no more economical solution available today than the utilization of cloud services, due to the economy of scale they can provide. You can now get access to top rate IT processes, specialist talent and security at a fraction of the cost of maintaining everything in-house.