5 reasons why system hardening is more important than ever

More digitization, more remote work, more cyber attacks, more skills shortages and increased regulatory requirements: That’s why you should definitely include “system hardening” in your IT strategy.

System hardening is a fundamental part of information security

We see very often companies not taking the topic of system hardening very seriously. It is pretended that hardening is nothing of great importance. A side project. Something the IT department can do on the side. What a fallacy!

We’ll show you why hardening systems should become the focus of your IT security.

Reason 1: Digitalization is advancing in leaps and bounds

Even though some economies is said to have slept through digitization, the digital transformation is in full swing. Companies are upgrading and investing in their digital future. The number of systems that IT departments have to look after is increasing rapidly.

Traditional applications (e.g., operating systems and software suites) and systems (computers and servers) are being joined by more and more new technologies. These include cloud, IoT and smart home systems. In addition, companies are developing their own apps and e-commerce platforms, and are also experimenting with smart factories, Big Data, AI and connected cars.

IT infrastructures are getting bigger, more complicated and more complex. They are also exchanging massive amounts of data, including sensitive customer and business information. These operations need to be secure as much as possible so hackers and other “cyber gangsters” don’t stand a chance. Part of the solution is system hardening.

Reason 2: Remote work and mobile / home office take root

The Corona crisis changed our world on a number of levels – including the world of work. What seemed unthinkable for many years is now the new normal: Millions of employees no longer commute to work every day, but work remotely from their home office.

This development has undeniable advantages, but it brings enormous challenges for the IT departments. For example, because sensitive data no longer stays in the office, but employees exchange their data over the Internet. Security Boulevard comments:

“Enterprises need to be hyper-vigilant about how they secure their employees’ devices. Those devices, as we all know, are the gateways to the corporate crown jewels. That also makes them the darling of cyber attackers.”

How can data protection and IT compliance be ensured here? And taking into account that employees sometimes use not only their business computers, but also private devices? Here, too, IT security managers absolutely must include system hardening in their catalog of measures.

Reason 3: The threat situation is changing

Many billions are lost every year through sabotage, data theft and espionage via cyber attacks. And the trend is rising sharply.

The business of online crime is increasing because there are more and more IT systems that can be attacked. And because, unfortunately, many companies are sloppy when it comes to information security and data protection. On top of that, the attackers’ methods are getting better and better; they are now even using AI-based malware.

The bottom line is that the threat posed by cyber attacks is on the rise! In this “cyberwar” it is imperative that companies upgrade by bringing their systems up to the state of the art – for example, through hardening.

Reason 4: New laws and regulations

No, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is not a piece of curtailing rights. It is a really important requirement of the European Union! Among other things, companies are thereby ordered to data economy and data protection, in case of violation there are hefty fines.

The GDPR (in German: DS-GVO, Datenschutz Grundverordnung) is part of various measures that the global legislators have enacted to protect the data of citizens and companies. The end of the line is far from being reached – and probably never will be. Legislation follows IT trends and digitalization, and accordingly there are more and more measures and legal requirements.

One example: As the IoT is growing rapidly, the EU has launched the Cybersecurity Act. The situation is similar in the USA, where there is the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act.

For companies, this means that they must improve their IT security measures. Not only out of self-interest, but also because of legislation. The corset of regulations, laws and ordinances is becoming increasingly tight.

Reason 5: The never-ending shortage of skilled workers

There were 124,000 vacancies for IT specialists at the end of 2019 – only in Germany. This is an increase of over 50% compared to the previous year!

In the Corona crisis, some companies have put their IT projects on hold and stopped job searches. But the bottom line is that there remains a huge, unmet need for hardware and software experts. This demand will not decrease.

On the one hand, there are too few trained and studied IT specialists; on the other hand, digitization is growing in all areas. This means that the “war for talents” will certainly continue for a few more years.

Companies must adapt to this situation and therefore use their IT experts wisely. For this to succeed, as many processes as possible should be automated. Gartner comments:

“The shortage of skilled security practitioners and the availability of automation within security tools have driven the use of more security process automation […] leaders must invest in automation projects that help to eliminate repetitive tasks that consume a lot of time, leaving more time to focus on more critical security functions.”

System hardening is a time-consuming and complex process, especially with the growing number of systems. But it can be easily automated thanks to specialized programs – for example, with our smart #NoCodeHardening solution, the Enforce Administrator.

What does all this mean for you?

An ostrich tactic is not only dangerous, it can even become life-threatening for your company. For example, because trade secrets are leaked and customer data is stolen. Information security in 2022 is not a nice-to-have – it is an urgent duty!

Take it seriously by conducting audits (for example, with the free AuditTAP) and hardening your systems accordingly. Ideally, fully automated to keep the effort for your IT experts as low as possible.

Do you need professional advice or support for these measures? No problem: Our experts are here for you! Get in touch for a no-obligation discussion.

Please contact us!

Images: Freepik, Bitkom

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