Infrastructure is a big topic these days. The recently passed $1.2 trillion “Build Back Better” legislation aims to improve physical infrastructure across the country. The bill also includes $65 billion in funding to expand broadband capabilities, especially for underserved or rural communities.
As the nation gets ready to update and revitalize everything from highways, rail lines, and bridges, it’s also essential to improve and secure digital infrastructure in every business, small and large. Companies must do this to run efficiently and secure their data and proprietary information, especially if that data directly impacts local, state, and even federal government agencies. That’s why every business must focus on improving and securing their digital infrastructure a top priority.
Recently, President Biden declared this past November as Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience month to elevate awareness around this critical topic.
Based on recent recommendations from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), here are things to consider when enhancing and securing an organization’s digital infrastructure.
Shared Responsibility and Risk
As the saying goes, “no man is an island.” That saying could now also be updated to say, “no system is an island.” Unless a business’ digital infrastructure is completely isolated for a valid reason, it’s very likely it’s connected to and works with various other digital systems, cloud-based, or similar, for the daily business to run smoothly.
This “system of systems” is very much dependent on each other. A disruption or attack or one system could directly impact your business within a week or even within minutes. Cyber-attacks or ransomware threats launched in one part of the world can quickly make an impact everywhere, significantly if it affects specific software or technology used by thousands or even millions of customers.
As organizations share the risk if one infrastructure is compromised, each organization must also share in the responsibility of ensuring their own company’s systems are up-to-date and secure. If an organization thinks that the government or another entity will do the work for them, think again. The reality is that no one government agency or private corporation has all the information on hand to manage systemic risk or prevent most online threats that exist today.
That’s why each organization must commit to enhancing and securing their digital infrastructure, not just for their own benefit but also for everyone.
Secure Public Gatherings Connected to Technology
More than ever, public spaces and buildings are connected to digital infrastructure. While cyber-attacks and ransomware threats may directly impact data and propriety online information, they also could impact computer security systems and other equipment (HVAC, water, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, etc.) needed to safeguard and protect people while they are inside a building – including sports arenas, places of worship, and stores, to name a few.
While disruption of these digital systems during a public gathering might seem like something only possible in a movie or television drama, terrorists and other extremists are becoming more sophisticated in planning out these kinds of attacks.
That’s why the phrase “soft targets” just doesn’t apply to a building’s physical structure or layout anymore. While a building or businesses’ owner or administrator may already have a security or evacuation plan in place, it is also imperative that they have a digital security plan in place, just in case any of their digital systems are either attacked or experience a malfunction that could result in any duress to the public.
Make Security and Resilience a Daily Priority
Many small businesses may feel that only large corporations have to deal with cyber-attacks and ransomware threats. But cyber intrusions from outside agents are becoming more prevalent for small businesses every day. Even if your company is not directly attacked, not frequently maintaining or enhancing your digital infrastructure can leave your business vulnerable to either an attack or a disruption to your operating environment.
When deciding to upgrade or build an entirely new digital infrastructure, ensure that resilience is part of your overall strategy, including its design. A digital system that cannot withstand a potential cyber-attack or even remain relevant several years into the future is not worth the initial effort and expense. After the system is complete, be sure to incorporate regular “stress tests” and other checkpoints to ensure that everything is working properly.
In addition, companies must keep their internal digital infrastructure up to date and be aware of any changes to outside digital providers or managed service providers (MSPs) and regularly advocate for enhanced cybersecurity practices from them. Working with a dedicated IT consultant can be a great solution if a business owner feels that they lack the staff or time to manage and keep up to date with this.
How Misinformation Weakens Infrastructure
Just as it’s crucial to secure digital infrastructure and practice vigilance when it comes to daily online operations, it’s also important to monitor and address misinformation from an operational standpoint. This misinformation could appear anywhere, verbally or written within an organization, on social media where someone may post something utterly false about your organization, or online in what appear to be creditable sources.
If your organization or business oversees sensitive materials, physical or digital, it’s vital to monitor misinformation in any form that might allow outside agents to disrupt your operation potentially. Ensure that the management team and daily staff are aware of best practices when dealing with any misinformation, especially if it is accessible to the public. This includes spam and phishing attempts through email or even text messages anyone on your team might receive. Frequent training of the internal IT or tech security team on best practices is also a good way to counter this growing problem.
Today’s digital infrastructures impact all of daily lives. Organizations must be proactive, stay current, and accept the responsibility of maintaining and enhancing their internal systems that frequently interact with outside systems and service providers. Doing this will ensure a stable and secure digital network and marketplace for everyone.
Does your organization need guidance or additional support to improve your organization’s digital infrastructure? Reach out to J5 Consulting and get connected with our team of IT experts.