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Firms warned to guard data on extended networks

Warwick Ashford

UK businesses need to have fine control over their data to ensure they tap into the benefits of the goverment's Digital Britain strategy, a research report warns.

The report outlines the opportunities and threats which will face CIOs, IT directors, IT managers and SMEs once Digital Britain becomes a reality.

Digital Britain will extend networks further than ever before, increasing opportunities and security risks to businesses, according to the report by research company Quocirca and security firm SonicWALL.

Greater interconnectivity between organisations, their customer, suppliers and their employees means that businesses can no longer rely on traditional approaches to security, the report said.

"Businesses do not own and control the network in distributed enterprises, which means they need to put controls around all critical data," said Rob Bamforth, analyst at Quocirca.

Every element of this new kind of distributed network needs to be looked at as a discrete, controllable unit if businesses are to protect crucial data assets.

Access to IT systems by business partners should be segregated where possible, monitored, and controlled only through authorised, secured communication links.

Businesses will have to adopt a layered and data-centric approach to security controls, said Bamforth.

These layers should be aimed at checking the source of network traffic and the security, anti-virus and intrusion prevention status of the devices being used, said Andy Zollo, regional director for northern Europe at SonicWALL.

"Businesses will have to conduct more checks on incoming traffic before allowing access to business networks," Andy Zollo said. According to the report, controlling a connection with a firewall is no longer adequate.

An amnesty is the best approach to enable the business to look at what devices employees are using so that the appropriate policies and security technologies can be put in place, he said.


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