Opinion

Building a secure IT infrastructure that goes far beyond passwords

4 min read

01 March 2017

Complex passwords are more of a hindrance than a help, according to the NCSC, but the onus should already be on IT departments to build an all-encompassing and secure IT infrastructure

When it comes to secure IT, we’ve all experienced that point when registering online for something where we’ve been prompted to create a new password, with a useful bar placed on the page to measure its strength.

After typing in a combination of caps locks, numbers and random punctuation points, the bar finally turns green and you can congratulate yourself on finally creating an unbreachable password. Or can you?

According to the newly-created National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), convoluted passwords are more damaging than they are a secure IT method, with people struggling to remember their creations across the myriad of devices and accounts they’re now required to protect in this way.

For businesses, this can of course cause countless headaches for IT departments, not least through wasting time having to constantly reset passwords and regain access to what could be business-critical information.

Instead, employees should be encouraged to keep their passwords relatively simple. The onus should be on businesses to create a more secure IT infrastructure that goes beyond passwords, both through designing more secure password systems, but also introducing robust hardware and software to meet the heightened demands of modern working.

Fortunately, many businesses are already planning to do this, with a recent Toshiba survey finding that investing in data security is a priority for 50 per cent of UK IT decision makers.

But while prioritising this is one thing, successfully implementing a secure IT infrastructure is an increasingly challenging task given the threats posed by mobile working, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), and growing prominence of sophisticated cyber criminals.

With more touchpoints in play than ever before, and vast swathes of data being sent back and forth within this web of inter-connected endpoints, the threat of a cyber-attack – and implications of such an incident – are greater than ever before.

So how can businesses build a secure infrastructure which can protect against these threats?

The answer lies in applying an array of customisable solutions which work together to enable productive and unhindered mobile working, while combatting any security threats. While this sounds incredibly complex, emerging technologies are making this a more attainable and simple scenario.

For example, mobile zero clients are one of a growing number of solutions which businesses are implementing within their secure IT strategy to combat today’s security threats – offering robust data protection and security with unhindered mobile working capabilities.

Solutions can store a business’ data away from the device, making it only accessible through its existing cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure solution.

This removes the threat of malware being stored on devices, as well as nullifying concerns about data being compromised should a device be lost or stolen – ensuring peace of mind for organisations handling sensitive data with their mobile and IoT solutions.

Working in-sync with business-built laptops, which feature additional in-built security tools, such solutions can work together to provide businesses with the perfect mobile infrastructure.

Through this, secure IT responsibility can be taken out of the hands of the employee, removing the constant battle to produce creative passwords, safe in the knowledge that the wider IT network is prepared to protect their data.

Neil Bramley is B2B PC business unit director at Toshiba Northern Europe

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