How cybersecurity solutions are shaping the future of secure social homes

02/02/24 Wavenet
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The housing sector may not be the most obvious target of cyber criminality, but 25% of housing associations have suffered from a cyberattack in the last 12 months.

With over 1,600 housing associations in the UK, these authorities hold a wealth of personal information, and data thieves want access. An increasing reliance on technology to streamline admin tasks and tenant services means the risk of breaches and cyber threats is growing by the day. Combined with disparate systems, legacy tech and gaps in the network, housing associations are at risk of losing trust and credibility – and putting tenants’ privacy at risk.

So, how can the sector safeguard data and stay secure?

Threat detection systems

There’s no better way to counteract a cyberattack than by stopping it before it actually happens.

Whilst AI is often used by housing associations to enhance efficiency, perform predictive maintenance and enhance the tenant experience, its powers extend to cybersecurity too. Feeding it consistently with rich data, including previous learnings and current information about cybersecurity trends, means it can forecast more than the need for a fresh coat of paint – it can predict what kind of attacks are coming, and from where. Not only that, but it can also quickly assess and analyse how best to neutralise the threat.

AI and machine learning are used by Network Detection and Response (NDR) systems to provide proactive threat detection. In an increasingly AI-driven world, NDR is the ideal answer solution for pre-emptively detecting and addressing suspicious cyber activity such as phishing, malware, data extraction and unauthorised access.

Early threat detection gives security teams the ability to act quickly, reducing the chance of breaches and enabling mitigating action to be taken before it’s too late. In essence, these solutions fight fire with fire – using AI-based security to thwart AI-based assaults by employing advanced software, specialist processing engines, and intelligence gained from machine learning to automatically detect and react to threats in real-time.

Cloud computing

Legacy tech is perhaps the biggest hindrance to the social housing sector. Not only does it lack advanced cybersecurity features, but its scalability falls short too. Ever-increasing demand for housing is generating unprecedented amounts of data, sparking a need for robust, fit-for-purpose solutions designed to manage and store such a wealth of information.

It’s no wonder that 40% of housing associations and councils already have a digital transformation strategy in place, and 30% are developing one.

With cloud computing, data and services can be remotely managed, maintained, and stored over the internet as opposed to being kept on a local hard drive or on-site server. This is a highly scalable solution that leverages a global architecture to provide dependable, secure data storage. All hosted solutions are run from globally distributed data centre locations that are available all day, every day, offering unparalleled uptime and reliability.

By layering security across the entire infrastructure, housing associations can benefit from network access solutions, interface protection, diagnostics and troubleshooting. And, with cutting-edge network solutions that link on-site infrastructure, data centres and the cloud, housing associations can offer their staff seamless connectivity and an enhanced user experience.

Mobile device management

The UK housing sector is estimated to own 4.4 million homes across the country. With housing associations often spread across large areas, staff are increasingly reliant on technology to enable them to do their jobs – and mobile devices make it possible to complete work on the go, from afar, or out-of-hours.

Yet equipping every employee with a mobile phone is a huge undertaking, with a requirement for thousands of interlinked devices across a range of different locations. But while this enables data sharing and easy, on-the-go access to corporate systems and information, connecting devices on such a large scale increases the risk of a network-wide breach.

Mobile device management (MDM) allows housing associations to efficiently manage and secure their fleet of mobile devices. With a single, centralised platform, MDM enables IT administrators to control device configurations, enforce security policies and distribute applications and updates.

IT administrators can remotely configure device settings, maintain control over the applications installed on mobile devices, track device usage or prevent the use of unauthorised or malicious applications. Most importantly, housing associations can rest assured that when their staff are accessing sensitive data on the go, their devices are secure – and if something does go wrong, they have the capability to step in remotely and fix the issue quickly.

Long-term security for the housing sector

With the help of Wavenet's solutions, housing associations can increase productivity, simplify operations and safeguard sensitive tenant information.

By being able to assess the advantages of switching to cloud-based networking technologies, housing associations gain an enhanced digital strategy that reduces costs, boosts efficiency and enhances quality.

Contact us to discuss how we can support your organisation here.

Cloud, Housing, Mobile device management, Threat detection

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