Secure Internet Gateways: What you need to know

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To kick things off, a secure internet gateway (SIG) is a secure Internet connection which protects IT systems, website and networks from cyber threats.  Thousands of online visitors may access a business or government website daily, requiring a system which allows legitimate visitors access, while guarding against intruders.  Obviously, this system needs to be finely tuned, to be able to repel persistent cyber attacks while welcoming and accommodating for regular, more well-intentioned guests.

Here we provide a basic introduction of what you need to know about SIGs, and how data centres work to provide the most secure online environment for their clients available.

Hidden threats

It is highly important to be aware that the exact mechanisms used by cyber threats in their attacks are constantly changing.  Similarly, the presence of these online threats, and their reach, continues to expand at an exponential rate, as the scope and intensity of online interaction increases across the globe, and smart- and mobile-devices grow in popularity.

Computer Security Threats Secure Internet Gateways: What you need to know

Of course, the internet is largely a world without borders, and so cyber threats have a global reach, compounded by the multiple forms they take.  Viruses, spam, Trojans, bots and phishing attacks, as well as many more, all have the potential to invade and compromise your software – often without you even realising it.

Keep it simple, keep it safe: BE VIGILANT

The key to insuring your own safety, and the safety of others, from cyber threats sounds incredibly simple: be constantly vigilant. The identification of true threats amid the plethora of other visitors and security events you encounter is essential – more essential is that appropriate countermeasures are then taken.  The implementation of security powerful and wide-reaching enough to meet these standards is not as simple, yet it comes down to the same idea: constant vigilance.

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Threats can range in the seriousness of their intent, from protests against a particular company’s website, to a malicious grab for personal security details and confidential information preserved on an IT system.  Regardless of intentions, however, all threats aim to shut down or defraud their respective targets – certainly a fate worth avoiding (especially when the leaking of customer information can potentially lead to litigation).

Background work

A gateway consolidation program has been introduced by the Federal Government, aimed at improving government cyber security.  In essence, a smaller number of well-managed and guarded gateways are being made available to a larger number of agencies.  With proper maintenance, this should decrease the infiltration capacity of cyber enemies (note the use of should – the chameleonic nature of cyber-threats makes the search for perfect protection inevitably unpredictable).

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The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) advises government and businesses on internet security in Australia.  In what has been called the “Catch, Patch, Match” program, they have identified the top 35 threats facing these agencies, and have outlined what the most appropriate countermeasures are.

So what are you looking for?

When seeking a best-practice gateway, it is important to focus on scale and redundancy when it comes to selecting high-quality security systems, as well as the skills to run them on a 24/7 basis.  A high level of certification is also of great significance, as the effective managed colocation of any online system is highly dependent upon the quality of its security. In the case of Macquarie Telecom, ASIO T4 is utilised for protective security, DSD gateway compliance is met, ISO29001 certification is provided for systems, as well as PCI protection for financial transactions.

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All of these are managed by an operations centre directly linked to pervasive, global cyber-policing bodies like CERT, the AFP, and DSD in Australia.  Most importantly, however, is the presence of a supplier with two individual and geographically redundant gateways within Australia, in the hands of an Australian company, under the protection of the US Patriot Act.

All in all, while cyber threats are constantly evolving, so are the security measures devised specifically to counter them.  Knowing where to look for protection, and who to trust with that protection, is the first step towards effective security against cyber crime.

Author bio: Rob Johnson is a media graduate and freelance writer who believes firmly in the importance of online security.  How else would he be certain his articles were falling into the right hands?

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