The cyber security iceberg: What lies beneath your IT infrastructure?

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Cyber security incidents in Australia continue to grow. Between July and December 2023, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) witnessed a 12% increase in malicious cyber attacks, with breaches caused by human error and system faults rising by 36% and 21%, respectively. These stats accentuate the need to scrutinise your IT infrastructure and question what vulnerabilities lie beneath it.

Overlooking cyber security can become costly for your business, with downtime, staff attrition, financial losses and legal repercussions. In this blog, we have covered the hidden dangers to your IT infrastructure and what is needed to remediate them.

Cyber incidents reported to the OAIC between July and December 2023

Source: OAIC.

1. Unpatched software and systems

Unpatched software creates significant vulnerabilities for your organisation. It is also incredibly easy to overlook because people feel they do not have time to run a system update. Instead, they delay it and leave systems vulnerable to exploitation. The ACSC’s 2022 Top Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities report highlighted that unpatched systems were responsible for many routinely exploited vulnerabilities. Encouraging your team to run updates as they become available is a good way to reduce these risks.

2. Misconfigured systems and devices

Improperly configured systems and devices create significant security gaps. Misconfigurations often occur due to complex setups, lack of expertise, or oversight, providing threat actors with easy entry points into your network. Your organisation should conduct regular reviews to find and resolve misconfigurations before they give way to larger problems.

3. Inadequate access controls

Giving everyone in the business the same level of access to all information does not make sense. Without access controls, unauthorised people can view or alter sensitive data and critical systems. Access controls – such as least privilege principles – protect from internal and external threats. Regularly auditing and updating access controls can further strengthen your security posture.

4. Legacy systems

Organisations often retain legacy systems for operational continuity. However, legacy systems lack modern security features and create substantial security risks as they age. Migrating or replacing systems when they become outdated helps your organisation maintain a secure IT infrastructure. 

Legacy systems

5. Endpoint devices

Hybrid work has greatly increased the number of people using endpoint devices to access work resources. Endpoint devices include laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These become easy targets for threat actors when connected to unsecured or public networks and left without cyber security measures. Endpoint protection solutions and regular updates improve security for the devices and the business. Additionally, enforcing strict security policies for remote work can further improve endpoint security.

6. Network infrastructure

Threat actors can exploit improperly secured network components, including routers, switches, and firewalls. Vulnerabilities in these systems enable threat actors to intercept data, disrupt services, or gain unauthorised access. Regularly updating firmware and leveraging network segmentation can enhance security. Continuously monitoring and auditing network traffic can also help identify and mitigate potential threats.

7. Cloud services

A whitepaper by IDC forecast that cloud spending in Australia would increase by 83% between 2022 and 2026. The increasing adoption of cloud services introduces new security challenges. Misconfigurations, inadequate access controls, and insufficient monitoring can expose sensitive data stored in the cloud. Adopting cloud security practices and continuous monitoring will improve protections for cloud-based resources. Your organisation should also ensure cloud providers adhere to stringent security standards.

8. Third-party services

Third-party services and vendors can introduce additional risks to your IT infrastructure. Threat actors could use third parties as a gateway into your organisation if these companies do not have robust security standards. Thoroughly assessing third-party services and implementing stringent contractual security requirements can mitigate these risks.

9. Internet of Things (IoT) devices

IoT devices can expand your organisation’s attack surface. These devices could be internet-connected security cameras to monitor your business premises or someone’s voice assistant in their home office. Many IoT devices lack comprehensive security features and can become gateways to compromise business or home networks. Securely configuring IoT devices and keeping them updated can prevent attacks. Network segmentation can also limit the potential impact of a security breach.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices

The four levels of infrastructure security

1. Physical

Physical security involves protecting the hardware and facilities of your IT infrastructure from theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. It includes secure access controls, surveillance systems, and environmental safeguards to protect physical assets from damage or unauthorised access.

2. Application

Application security secures software applications from threats and vulnerabilities. It includes regular software updates, secure coding practices, application firewalls, and rigorous testing to identify and mitigate potential security flaws that attackers could exploit. Regular code reviews and vulnerability assessments help maintain application security.

3. Network

Network security protects the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data transmitted across your network. It includes implementing firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, secure VPNs, and network segmentation to prevent unauthorised access and secure communication channels.

4. Data

Data security protects the data stored within your IT infrastructure. It includes encryption, access controls, data masking, and regular backups to protect sensitive data from unauthorised access and potential data breaches. Implementing data loss prevention (DLP) strategies and regularly reviewing data security policies can further protect sensitive information.



Understanding and mitigating the hidden risks within your IT infrastructure is critical to protecting your organisation. By addressing these vulnerabilities and implementing security measures at all levels of your infrastructure, you can enhance your cyber security posture and protect valuable assets from evolving threats.

Productiv can secure your organisation’s IT infrastructure

Do you understand what’s needed to strengthen your organisation’s cyber security posture? Our cyber security assessment tool guides you through evaluating your company’s cyber readiness to identify key areas for improvement and strategies for enhancing defences against potential threats.
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