Organisations are becoming increasingly connected, especially as more business is being conducted online. For many companies, this has highlighted a need to invest more in digital solutions and skills to drive their business forward. This may include business leaders dedicating more funds towards upgrading existing IT infrastructure or investing in new digital technologies to streamline efficiencies across the organisation. With trends such as remote working accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, collaborative tools or cybersecurity solutions may be seen as critical areas of investment where companies consider increasing funding.
However, while executives may be quick to invest in new software solutions that better facilitate increased collaboration among their employees, without compromising cybersecurity, one area that is often overlooked is upgrading hardware solutions that underpin a company’s daily operations.
Some IT decision-makers believe that hardware devices have become heavily commoditised and that there’s little difference among enterprise specific and consumer-grade devices. As a result, many companies implemented bring your own device (BYOD) policies that let employees use personal devices—such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops—to access enterprise data and systems. However, while this can be convenient and cost-effective on the surface for businesses, it effectively relinquishes any attempt by the organisation to control, monitor, and maintain the devices that employees use to access corporate applications. Consequently, this can leave the organisation exposed to vulnerabilities and at risk of cyberattacks, which can lead to even greater risks and associated costs than they would have faced by upgrading their hardware in the first place.
The truth of the matter is that any device used to access an organisation’s network is incredibly important to the integrity of its cybersecurity. Failing to account for the associated risks could have catastrophic consequences for a business. Additionally, by failing to put stringent protections in place on a fundamental level, businesses risk building a cybersecurity strategy on shaky ground.
One of the biggest risks for companies is that consumer-grade devices used by staff members are unlikely to meet the enterprise security standards needed to ensure adequate protection from cybersecurity threats. This includes the prevention of data theft if a laptop were lost or stolen, as consumer-grade laptops may only include minimal hardware security features such as a firmware-level password lock.
The use of personal devices may also result in employees deploying software, applications, or services without approval from the IT team, in a practice known as shadow IT. This can leave a business exposed and vulnerable to significant security risks through potential data leaks and compliance violations.
If the IT team isn’t aware and in control of the hardware being connected and used on a business network, it can be difficult for them to guarantee that devices, hardware, and the network itself are all properly secured from potential threats and risks. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly evident that organisations must reclaim ownership of IT hardware to better ensure that all devices used by employees and connected to the network are appropriately secure. This will also give the IT department suitable oversight across the board.
When it comes to selecting hardware solutions for the business, it’s critical that IT teams keep security top of mind. The continued investment made by an organisation in cybersecurity solutions to protect its network could be quickly rendered meaningless if there are easy ways for cybercriminals to infiltrate the organisation from within. Additionally, by failing to invest in hardware that prioritises enterprise-level security features, organisations may be exposing themselves to hardware-focused attacks and vulnerabilities they might otherwise avoid.
It’s essential that business leaders, led by their IT departments, focus their attention on the need for secure hardware to protect the organisation from the inside out. By investing in hardware and solutions that have security built in, companies will be better placed to keep their systems secure on a fundamental level. Hardware is, in essence, the base on which software runs and, if the foundation isn’t secure, then cracks may appear in the levels above.
To learn more about the importance of investing in secure hardware to best protect your enterprise and how Blue Connections IT can help put control back in the hands of your IT team, download our latest whitepaper.