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How to Build a Secure IT Infrastructure for Your Business

A single data breach or successful cyber-attack can have devastating consequences for businesses: financial loss, reputational damage, even lawsuits. 

A secure IT infrastructure is the cornerstone of keeping your business protected against cyber threats, protecting sensitive data, and ensuring compliance with relevant industry standards.

Whether you’re just starting or looking to enhance your current setup, implementing the cybersecurity measures laid out here will help safeguard your valuable data and maintain your business’s integrity.

What is IT Infrastructure? The 7 Core Components

IT infrastructure encompasses all the hardware, software, network resources, and services required for the existence, operation, and management of an enterprise IT environment.

While seven may seem like a lot, building a secure IT infrastructure involves integrating these various elements to better defend against cyber threats.

1. Network

The network is the backbone of your IT infrastructure, connecting all your devices and enabling communication between them. It includes both wired and wireless connections that link computers, servers, and other hardware, facilitating data transfer, access to resources, and connectivity to external systems and services.

2. Hardware

Hardware refers to the physical devices and equipment that form the tangible part of your IT infrastructure, including computers, servers, routers, switches, data centers, and peripheral devices such as printers and scanners. 

Effective hardware management ensures that all physical components are functioning optimally and are ready to support your business operations.

3. Software

Software comprises the applications and programs that run on your hardware and facilitate business operations, including operating systems, business applications, and database management systems. 

Software is responsible for executing tasks, processing data, and providing the user interface through which employees interact with the IT system.

4. Data

Data is one of the most valuable assets of your business, encompassing all the digital information generated, processed, and stored by your organization. This includes customer data, financial records, intellectual property, and internal communications. 

Managing data effectively involves ensuring its accuracy, availability, and integrity, as well as implementing measures to protect it from unauthorized access and loss.

5. Access

Access involves the permissions and protocols that determine who can interact with different parts of your IT systems, data, and physical infrastructure. 

Access controls ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information and critical systems, helping to prevent unauthorized access and potential security breaches.

6. Cloud

The cloud refers to off-site servers and storage accessed via the internet, providing scalable resources and services. It offers flexibility, enabling businesses to scale their IT resources according to demand without the need for significant capital investment in physical hardware. 

Cloud services facilitate remote work, data storage, and application hosting, providing businesses with agility and efficiency.

7. Employees

Employees interact with hardware, software, and data daily, making them critical to maintaining security protocols and procedures. Employee training and awareness are essential, as human error can often be a significant security risk.

10 Steps to Building a Secure IT Infrastructure

Knowing the key components of an IT infrastructure is a solid first step to securing and defending them properly. Creating a secure technology infrastructure for your business involves a systematic approach that ensures all components are effectively protected.

1. Assess Your Current Infrastructure
  • Identify Vulnerabilities: Perform a comprehensive audit of your existing IT infrastructure to identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
  • Use Security Tools: Employ specialized tools and services to conduct a detailed security assessment, covering hardware, software, network resources, and data storage.
2. Develop a Cybersecurity Plan
  • Define Security Protocols: Establish clear security strategies and protocols for data handling, access controls, and security incident response.
  • Regular Updates and Maintenance: Schedule regular updates and maintenance tasks to ensure all components of your IT infrastructure are secure and up-to-date.
3. Implement Network Security Measures
  • Firewalls: Configure firewalls to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.
  • VPNs: Implement Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to secure remote access for employees, ensuring data transmitted over the internet is encrypted.
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention: Utilize Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) to identify and block potential threats.
4. Secure Hardware
  • Secure Access: Ensure all hardware is stored in secure locations with controlled access, such as locked rooms or cabinets.
  • Surveillance: Install surveillance cameras and access control systems to monitor and restrict physical access to critical hardware.
  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular hardware maintenance checks to ensure all devices are functioning correctly and are protected against physical and digital threats.
5. Strengthen Software Security
  • Licensed Software: Use only licensed and reputable software to ensure you receive the latest updates and security patches.
  • Regular Updates: Keep all software applications up-to-date with the latest patches to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  • Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware: Install and regularly update anti-virus and anti-malware solutions to detect and prevent malicious software attacks.
6. Protect Your Data
  • Data Encryption: Encrypt all sensitive data both in transit and at rest to protect it from unauthorized access.
  • Regular Backups: Implement a regular backup schedule to secure data in multiple locations, ensuring it can be restored in case of loss or breach.
  • Data Recovery Plan: Develop a comprehensive data recovery plan to quickly restore data in the event of a breach or disaster, minimizing downtime and data loss.
7. Control Access
  • User Authentication: Use strong authentication methods, such as passwords, biometrics, and security tokens, to verify user identities.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Require MFA for accessing critical systems, adding an extra layer of security by requiring two or more verification factors.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Assign access permissions based on user roles, ensuring employees only have access to the information necessary for their jobs.
8. Implement Cloud Security Solutions
  • Protect Data: Utilize secure cloud storage solutions and regularly back up data to mitigate the risk of loss or corruption.
  • Control Access: Establish stringent access controls and authentication mechanisms for cloud computing services. 
  • Monitor and Manage: Utilize cloud management tools to maintain visibility and control over your cloud infrastructure. 
9. Train Your Staff
  • Educate Employees: Regularly train employees on security best practices, such as recognizing phishing attempts, using secure passwords, and reporting suspicious activities.
  • Enforce Security Policies: Implement and enforce comprehensive security policies that outline employee responsibilities, security teams, and acceptable use of company resources.
  • Foster a Security Culture: Encourage a culture of security within your organization, promoting vigilance and proactive behavior towards security.
10. Monitor and Review
  • Network Monitoring: Use network monitoring tools to continuously track network activity, identifying and responding to suspicious behavior in real-time.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular security audits to review and improve cybersecurity measures, addressing any identified vulnerabilities promptly.
  • Incident Response Plan: Develop and maintain an incident response plan to effectively handle and mitigate security breaches, ensuring quick recovery and minimal impact.

Build a Secure IT Infrastructure with Expert Guidance and Advanced Solutions

Securing your IT infrastructure is an ongoing process that requires diligence, planning, and continuous improvement.

The cybersecurity specialists at Unió Digital have the resources, skills, and knowledge to implement and support the security solutions your IT infrastructure needs. Reach out to us today for a thorough audit of your current setup, and let’s begin identifying areas for improvement.