In the third of a series of articles about the benefits that can be had off the back of leased line infrastructure, FlexFibre highlights the security benefits that your organisation can take advantage of with a dedicated line and bandwidth on demand.
Having a leased line for your SME business can allow access to a number of key benefits. In this series of articles, FlexFibre have focused so far on the ability of Voice Over Internet Protocol to give you advantages in flexibility and cost saving, and how gaining access to the Cloud can bring with it a host of benefits from security to Enterprise level software at a cost suitable for your use. In this article, we delve deeper into the security aspect of a leased line, and the benefits that having an FlexFibre connection can give you with regard to disaster recovery and protection from malicious attacks.
What security benefits can a leased line from FlexFibre give my SME business?
The benefits of a leased line over shared lines.
A leased line that you rent space on will have far fewer users than a traditional broadband line that is offering connectivity to the wider public (and a dedicated leased line will be exclusive to you). What this means is that there is less opportunity for an attacker to gain access to your traffic, as the ports on the leased line are private, rather than public as they are on a public network provider. It is also true that should a denial of service attack be employed, then the bandwidth on a public line can slow down as infected third party computers can unknowingly be involved in the attack. If your traffic runs down that same highway, then it too will find itself amongst a lot of artificial traffic designed to cripple a server and your company’s connectivity could grind to a halt.
2. The FlexFibre advantage: quick installation time for a backup connection.
Connections to the Internet are physical things involving miles of infrastructure and fibre laid down just a few metres below our feet. Sometimes these lines can be damaged by ongoing road and building works, or through the impact of natural disasters like fire and flood. In these cases, it pays to have a backup leased line ready to switch on should the worse case scenario come to pass.
Installing a leased line can often take weeks to months, so if damage should occur then you will need to plan in the costs that such a delay would incur for your business. With FlexFibre, it’s a different concept however. With our lines already laid in areas we can cover, we can install a leased line service in a matter of days so long as the office building has the port infrastructure to connect to. But even this is too late to save you from any disaster that might have happened to your line, so we have a tailored solution that allows you to install our leased lines in preparation for any existing lines being severed. With 30 day contracts, it’s a peace of mind that might become an absolute saviour.
3. How a leased line can enable disaster recovery systems.
Backing up data is something every business should be doing, but they should especially be carrying out off site backups as well. If a fire or flood strikes, then locally hard drives are vulnerable to the danger, whereas off site backups are far enough away to be protected. A leased line has the bandwidth capacity to enable frequent and near real time back ups for certain important files, with a general backup perhaps being scheduled for a weekly operation.
This ‘colocation’ strategy of having a company’s work history and intellectual property backed up off site to a Cloud server is a key component in disaster recovery strategies. Should your premises be lost due to fire, flood, or deliberate sabotage, then the data and emails from your employees can be downloaded again and accessed as they were on their last backup, enabling you to resume work with just a few days break.
4. Bandwidth control and dynamic enforcement: how a leased line from FlexFibre can channel any attack and slow down any attempted hack.
FlexFibre’s leased line is controlled by a graphical visualisation of the hardware involved. This allows our teams to alter switches and routers remotely to increase the bandwidth required between two or more locations, or, in some cases, to divert any suspect traffic away to a dedicated server that can absorb any attempted denial of service attacks that attempt to bring down your website and communications by inundating your servers with automated requests. This controller unit acts as a gateway through which your data and communications enters the wider world, and as such it is armed with tools to defend against any attacks in real time. With constant traffic analysis monitoring for any indicators of a malicious intent, the controller on the leased line represents cutting edge dynamic enforcement, intercepting threats and containing them before they can do too much damage.
5. Software upgrades fills any holes in your security software.
Recent attacks on both public sector and private sector networks have mainly been so disruptive because simple security procedures were not followed. Software was not updated, so old security flaws that were identified by attackers could be exploited and used to spread the malicious code to other devices. In 2017, this happened across the world with the Wanna Cry worm, that infected systems and prevented users accessing their data, demanding a ransom to be paid in Bit Coins before their information was released. It caused disruptions across the National Health Service in the UK and many large organisations around the world.
With the controlling unit acting as a gateway to your systems and data, then it only takes a single upgrade to ensure you are protected with the latest patches against any vulnerabilities and flaws in your network software, rather than having to install multiple upgrades across different platforms.
A case study in how a leased line connection saved a charity from disaster.
A charity had launched a new appeal using their VOIP communications system linked to their CRM system. This integrated approach allowed a call agent to deal with enquiries and donations from telephone and email in a response to a month long dedicated television campaign. Fortunately, the charity had heeded the warnings of the Charity Commission issued in 2016, about a specific group who were targeting charities in order to extort money from them. The threat: if you don’t pay us, we will knock your communications offline with a denial of service attack.
But with a leased line set up between the charity’s HQ and the Cloud, the attempted attack was doomed to failure. As the suspect traffic was detected, systems were employed to counter the attempted shut down and the Cloud was used to absorb the fake traffic.
So having a leased line with SDN controlled on demand, scalable bandwidth in near real time can provide your organisation with several advantages. As 2019 forecasters warn of cyber attackers turning their attention to infrastructure and ever smaller, less protected organisations, perhaps its time you considered how a leased line could help with your security and back up plans?