Why Choose a Digital Signage Provider with Strong IT Security

Information technology (IT) has had a profound impact on the way Australian organisations do business. It’s allowed them to become more efficient, productive, and profitable. As we continue to sort through the wreckage from COVID, IT has been instrumental in keeping operations going for many companies.

One main issue, however, is IT security. With cybercrime on the rise, and the collective costs increasing from $3 trillion globally in 2015 to a projected $10.5 trillion by 2025, IT security is a massive concern for Australian companies of all sizes. But it’s especially big for large enterprises and those in government or healthcare.

In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about IT security within a digital signage context, why you should only partner with a provider with robust IT security practices, and how to choose the right provider.

What exactly is IT security?

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You likely already have a basic idea, but here’s a formal definition: “IT security is a set of cybersecurity strategies that prevents unauthorised access to organisational assets such as computers, networks, and data,” writes Cisco. “It maintains the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information, blocking the access of sophisticated hackers.”

Simply put, IT security protects digital data through computer network security and shields organisations from a variety of different threats like viruses, malware, ransomware, and phishing. When it comes to digital signage, it focuses mainly on preventing hackers from hijacking screens or illegally accessing sensitive data.

Why is IT security essential?

As Australia’s business infrastructure becomes increasingly digitised, it naturally creates vulnerabilities for digital attacks. In fact, that’s one of the most significant drawbacks of the increasing reliance on technology. As hackers become more innovative and more sophisticated, cyberattacks are on the rise, with recent data reporting a 71% increase since the start of the pandemic.

Further, the research found that the average cost per attack to Australian businesses is more than AUD 276,000 and takes 51 days to resolve. It creates a messy situation that often takes a significant amount of money and time to sort out, and many companies aren’t fully equipped to handle it.

No one is immune to cybercrime, and small to mid-sized businesses certainly see their fair share of incidents. But larger enterprises often face the biggest risk because they have more data, and hackers stand more to gain if they’re successful in their attack.

This graph from Statista provides a breakdown of the number of IT security incidents reported by the Australian Cyber Security Centre in 2020. Large enterprises and those in government, healthcare, education, and banking are the most vulnerable.

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While IT security has been important for quite some time, it’s become essential as many companies have accelerated their usage of technology post-COVID. Digital signage, in particular, has gained momentum in Australia and shows no signs of slowing down.

What are the potential consequences of a cyber attack?

Cyber attack hacker

We’ll cover the specific issues that can arise with digital signage in just a minute. But first, let’s discuss the potential consequences of a cyber attack within a broader context. In terms of the backlash Australian organisations often face after an incident, there are four main issues.

Perhaps the most obvious is critical data being compromised. Proprietary corporate information or financial data, for example, could wind up in the wrong hands and be sold on the dark web. Another scenario could be using stolen data for corporate espionage where a rival competitor could “spy” on you.

Second is a disruption to operations. Ransomware is an increasingly common type of attack where cybercriminals encrypt information on a network, making it inoperable. The only way to regain access is to pay a ransom for data to be released. This puts organisations in a tough predicament. They have to comply with a hacker’s demands and pay the ransom or run the risk of being locked out of their network. Of course, payment doesn’t always guarantee a resolution and puts the organisation at risk of future attacks.

Third are the financial losses. As mentioned earlier, Australian businesses typically lose an average of more than AUD 276,000 per incident. Some specific contributors to this cost can include:

  • Professional IT services to resolve it
  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Lost business opportunities
  • Downtime
  • Fines

Note that fines have become quite hefty these days, with a serious or repeated fine being AUD 420,000. For large corporations, it can be five times higher, with a maximum of AUD 2.1 million.

Finally, a significant incident can result in reputational damage that’s impossible to calculate. Understandably, customers are wary of doing business with an organisation that’s had its IT security compromised, and it can quickly dissolve trust and damage relationships. Some organisations never recuperate and even end up going out of business after a cyber attack.

The role IT security plays in your digital signage network

As with any other type of technology, there’s a certain degree of vulnerability that comes with using a digital signage network. Most use a centralised management software that allows businesses to publish, edit, and maintain their network. This is how they add media files such as images, videos, audio, and so on. Eze Impress by Engagis, for instance, features a cloud-based CMS where businesses can manage every aspect of their campaign remotely and use drag-and-drop to build playlists and create campaigns.

media assets - CMS - Engagis Australia

This offers a high level of convenience and makes it possible to schedule content in advance. But to ensure your digital signage network runs safely as intended, it needs strong IT security.

One of the main concerns for Australian organisations is a hacker hijacking their digital signage network and playing inappropriate material. “Over the last few years, we have seen many cases of digital signage being hacked for fun, profit, and even propaganda,” says Viktor Petersson of AV news publication rAVe [PUBS]. “Since the whole point of digital signage is that the digital displays are highly visible to onlookers, digital signage makes an attractive target.”

Needless to say, if this happens, it could result in a damaging blow to a company’s reputation—one that’s difficult to recover from.

Beyond that, a lack of IT security in digital signage software could also serve as an entry point for sophisticated hackers to work their way into an organisation’s financial systems. This could, in turn, result in hackers gaining access to highly sensitive financial data with serious repercussions as mentioned earlier.

Choosing the right digital signage provider

There’s a lot that goes into keeping your digital signage network secure. Some examples include:

  • Maintaining physical security
  • Managing user access
  • Encrypting information
  • Keeping operating systems up-to-date

But at the end of the day, much of IT security falls in the hands of your digital signage provider. That’s why it’s essential to choose the right partner—one with strong IT security that takes every possible measure to keep your network safe.

For starters, they should use industry best practices and encrypt all traffic between your digital signage and backend devices. They should have a content approval feature on their software that allows you to maintain control of who publishes content to your screens. They should also perform routine updates and maintenance to prevent flaws from being exploited by hackers.

The ideal digital signage provider will also have ISO 27001 certification.

What is ISO 27001 certification?

ISO is an acronym for the International Organisation for Standardisation. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ISO promotes worldwide security standards for companies in 165 countries.

“ISO 27001 certification is the only internationally recognised and trusted information security management standard that can be independently certified to cover people, process, and technology,” explains ISMS.online. When a provider has ISO 27001 certification, it means they’ve been certified to be in compliance with the standard by certified auditors.

Not only does this ensure they’re diligent about keeping data safe from theft, but it also means they follow industry standards to maintain data integrity to prevent it from being manipulated by hackers or rendered inaccessible.

Therefore, it’s something that large enterprises, government entities, healthcare providers, and anyone with high IT security standards either recommend or require when working with third-party technology suppliers. Choosing a digital signage provider with ISO 27001 certification means you can be confident they’ll uphold best practices and follow rigorous standards to keep your network protected and your data safe. It gives you confidence knowing they’re consistent with their IT security practices and shows they’re at the forefront of their industry.

Note that ISO 27001 certification isn’t something all digital signage providers in Australia have. In fact, very few have it currently, which brings us to our final point.

Engagis has Accreditation

Engagis has been recently certified with ISO 27001 accreditation, which has been a huge step in proving how seriously we take IT security. We’re dedicated to providing our customers with reliable, top-of-the-line digital signage solutions, while at the same time maintaining the highest possible security standards.

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For almost 20 years, we’ve been providing solutions to enterprise clients, with some of the main industries we serve including banking, government, and healthcare. We’ve always placed a strong emphasis on security, and gaining ISO 27001 accreditation signifies us taking it to the next level. We’re routinely audited by banks, telcos, and other large companies to ensure we meet security compliance standards.

One particular type of audit we receive is Penetration (Pen) Testing, which involves a simulated cyber attack where an ethical hacker searches for security vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited. The insights gained from Pen Testing are then used to refine our network and patch vulnerabilities.

Another is application code reviews, where programming code is systematically checked for mistakes that could create security flaws. This, in turn, helps our developers identify issues so they can resolve them promptly, making the application code more secure.

Besides that, Engagis approaches staff background checks the same way police do, which provides a robust level of internal security. We have a large team of developers, and we ensure that each department has its own dedicated information security officer to oversee compliance with internal policies.

It’s this level of dedication to IT security that allows us to be a leader in Australia’s digital signage industry and why major brands like Suncorp, CitiGroup, ANZ Bank and Telstra trust us as their provider.

A Quick Recap

Technology plays an integral role in the operations of many Australian organisations, and this will only increase in the future. While technology offers a host of positive benefits, there are inherent vulnerabilities that come along with having a largely digitised infrastructure. Companies that use digital signage—especially large enterprise, government, and healthcare providers—need to prioritise strong IT security to minimise the potential for cyber attacks.

A big part of that is choosing a digital signage provider with ISO 27001 certification, as this indicates they meet stringent security compliance standards. Engagis is one of the few partners in Australia that is currently ISO 27001 certified, and we place a strong focus on security. That’s what allows us to offer cutting-edge digital signage solutions with a wide variety of applications, while giving organisations that partner with us peace of mind that they’re in good hands.

Want to learn more about how Engagis can equip you with cutting-edge digital signage solutions, while maintaining high-end security? Reach out to one of our experts today.