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Celebrating our Security Heritage

As a founder of Intercity Managed Services, Ian Jackson, our Chief Commercial Officer, reflects on our proud security heritage, which has been providing managed security services to commercial businesses, public and third sector organisations for over 14 years. Ian also talks about how Touch Secure is set to transform the cloud in 2019.

Back in 2007 a somewhat younger version of myself was asked:

“How did Intercity Managed Services become so pivotal to the security strategy of our central government?”

Our story began when the division was founded in 2004 as a systems integrator with a focus on security and an intent to shape the compliance landscape. We positioned ourselves as a trusted partner, with a passion for customer focus and we earned a reputation for doing things differently in an agile way.

This agility began to pay dividends.

We delivered our first Firewall Perimeter Managed Service in 2005. This was followed by rapid growth in our capability and reputation, which lead to our appointment by the Cabinet Office to design and support the implementation of its ‘Government Connect’ Secure Connectivity Programme.

This was just the start. We became participating members of the government’s Security Council and were engaged to complete technical trials of secure public sector infrastructure across London. We were advisors to the Department for Work and Pensions on its initiative to connect securely to all 388 local authorities in England and Wales and we provided a ‘technical first’ hardened home working solution for the government’s Electronic Delivery Team in Warrington.

On reflection, we had indeed become pivotal to the security strategy of our central government, but we didn’t stop there, acquiring more customers from the commercial and third sector. Each customer’s unique data security requirements drove the pace of our development, engaging our Professional Services Team to advise in areas such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and information security management (ISO 27001).

Intercity Managed Services has continued to demonstrate the capability to develop innovative products and services whilst remaining up to date with the prevailing cyber security threats. We have successfully developed and taken to market a range of secure, cloud-based solutions including: Internet perimeter, URL filtering and proxy services; secure email hygiene; remote access with two-factor authentication; video conferencing; and complex resilient ‘landing zone’ solutions.

We have wrapped all of these within the assured Managed Service capability of our in-house ISO 27000 certified, 24/7 Intercity Secure Operations Centre (ISOC).

This is the base from which we are taking the next steps in the development of our Managed Services portfolio. Ever since we deployed the first ‘landing zones’ our customers have shown an interest in the concept of Security as a Service, with flexible capacity and features available to secure Internet access, cloud computing, email and remote users. Touch Secure is our response, combining our security service experience and pedigree in one simple market proposition.

It is the next chapter in our proud security heritage and I for one am immensely proud of the capability we now bring to the cloud.

In 2019, we will be delivering Touch Secure directly and via the government’s Digital Marketplace G-Cloud 10 Framework. We have delivered it to many of our commercial and third-sector customers already and naturally, we use it to protect our own network and users, keeping our critical applications and data secure.

Learn more about Touch Secure and the ways Intercity is pushing the boundaries of traditional network security.

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7 Cybersecurity trends to watch in 2019

Cyber solutions are becoming big business as attacks continue to rise. Discover the 7 cyber security trends you need to watch this year.

In 2018 there was a staggering 46% increase in the number of ransomware attacks. We also saw some of the big players such as Google and Facebook finally enter the spotlight for major cyber-security breaches. Breaches led to personal data leaks, huge damage to their reputations and falling consumer trust.

As businesses continue to reel from the after-shock and as attacks become a regular day-to-day occurrence, which cybersecurity trends should you be looking out for in 2019?

Here are a few of my predictions:

1. IoT based attacks: No time to lose

The market for IoT is booming and is set to reach over $160b by next year. It also feels like every manufacturer under the sun now offers some form of ‘smart’ device. Sadly many of these devices have glaring security vulnerabilities that cyber criminals will look to exploit.

The number of IoT endpoints and devices has already vastly outgrown the number of IoT security products available.

I expect the number of IoT attacks to double in the next 12 months. However the majority of these will still come from simple Telnet and SSH password brute force, which highlights the need for immediate IoT endpoint security measures. Don’t wait for the tech to catch up.

2. Supply Chain Attacks are on the rise

A report from suggests that organisations supply chains are the ‘next frontier in cyber risk’. In this strange new world consider a Bloomberg report that identified a Chinese manufacturer using small microchips to spy on companies. This included Apple and Amazon whose supply chain was infiltrated. Oh dear, oh dear.

Just how closely are you inspecting those shiny new servers before flicking the switch?

Even as organisations look to improve their posture and build perimeter defences, attackers are increasingly changing tact. They’re moving towards compromising third party vendors or customers with the intention of gaining access to your IT network.

3. GDPR was just the gateway to even more regulation

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Australia’s encryption-busting law, Google’s capitulation toward a Chinese censored search engine. Increasingly we’re moving toward more ring fenced areas of the internet in what was once a location-agnostic world.

This new Compliance as a Service market will mean you need to increasingly be sure your data, cloud compute hardware and data backups are all stored within the same regulated geo-zone. Ignorance is no longer a (legal) option. This means more staff costs, stricter training and greater headaches for businesses small and large.

Fortunately things might not be as stressful as they first appear. You can reduce the stress by moving or renting your infrastructure from a compliant UK based Data Centre.

4. BYOD becomes more strictly policed

Bring Your Own Device is increasingly becoming a security problem. Wandera reported a staggering 95% growth in mobile security breaches in 2017, alongside an 88% rise in the number of businesses targeted by ransomware. Yikes!

Whilst allowing your employees to use their own devices sounds like a mecca for productivity and cost saving; businesses adopting this across the board are opening themselves up to new threats and increasing their attackable surface area.

We expect to see more and more workplaces stamping down on BYOD in 2019, either by limiting the use of personal devices or by enforcing greater policy control through tools such as Wandera and Airwatch.

5. More ransomware, less ransom

Ransomware certainly isn’t disappearing into the sunset I’m afraid. In fact we predict a significant rise in the number of attacks in 2019. However as the value of Bitcoin, which maxed out at $20,000 in 2017, continues to decline to new lows ransomware attacks will become less profitable to criminals.

This may also signal to attackers to shift efforts towards other threat vectors such as phishing emails, malware and botnets – which in many cases are even harder to detect.

6. Blockchain and the winter of discontent

Blockchain, or the increasingly preferred ‘distributed ledger technology (DLT), will undergo its first mini ice-age since 2008. In the absence of revolutionary new products and services this ‘miracle child’ of the tech world will see little or even reduced investment. This could cause a serious setback for the development of enterprise-grade security solutions.

For the time being organisations will either need to stick to existing security solutions to encrypt and protect their networks, or adopt new technologies. This includes Intercity’s Touch Secure ‘next generation firewall service’. –  providing off-perimeter cloud security across networks, cloud and internet services. (Hint: we think option 2 is the way to go!).

7. Introducing the zero trust model

In 2019 ‘zero trust’ cloud security will evolve into the enterprise standard.

Traditional perimeter security solutions have failed to provide adequate visibility, protection and control of user and application traffic. A zero trust model applies the principles of “seek permission, not forgiveness” to all devices, users, applications and packets – regardless of what they contain or where they come from.

“Seek permission, not forgiveness.”

As vendors increasingly offer zero trust cloud security solutions, those products will gain widespread acceptance and many global enterprises will start to adopt them.

Tip: Intercity’s Touch Secure cloud security solution takes a zero-trust approach through our in-built sandboxing service. We ensure that every packet is analysed and checked before being allowed onto the network. This allows us to not only protect your perimeter network, but also public clouds and the internet, which are inherently at risk.

Well there we have it. Seven of my cybersecurity trends for 2019. Here’s hoping this year will be a merry year for you all and we all make it through another 12 months of stormy cyber-seas together.

Some of those less prepared will sink like a proverbial lead-ship, but by staying ahead of the game and keeping well informed you’ll surely stay afloat until 2020.

If you have any questions about any of the threats (or solutions) discussed above – don’t act like Google or Facebook. Reach out to one of our cybersecurity experts now so we can help you proactively define and resolve your issues.

We don’t sell sell sell – so don’t be shy.

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