Australia’s new data breach notification law is really about IT security not just disclosure – don’t get distracted.
In February 2018 Australia’s new data breach notification law comes into effect.
If you missed the announcement, here’s a quick summary.
Organisations already covered by the Privacy Act will have a legal obligation to notify the Federal Government and the impacted parties of any data breach. Failing to do so can result in fines of up to $360,000 for individuals and $1.8 million for organisations.
The new data breach notification law describes a breach as unauthorised access or disclosure of customer information which generates a real risk of harm to the individuals concerned. The kind of information that is deemed to be potentially harmful is fairly obvious and includes credit card details, personal contact details, credit history, health records, bank accounts and tax information.
While there’s been plenty of discussion about whether or not the new data breach notification law is good, bad, effective or ineffective there hasn’t been quite as much discussion about what organisations need to do to avoid a breach in the first place. That’s really the inferred point of this new legislation.
It’s no surprise then that the best advice is, ‘Don’t make it easy for a breach to occur in the first place.’
The fact is, all organisations are being constantly menaced by a wide spectrum of cyber criminals on a daily basis and only the most naïve have poor IT security.
That said, the advent of the new law does mean extra focus needs to be brought to bear to avoid embarrassing mistakes that could lead to costly fines – even for organisations that already do a reasonable job on IT security.
The big question is, How much security is enough?
This has always been a good question when focusing on IT security because not every business needs to protect themselves like a military spy agency.
The short answer is that how much money, time and effort you put into IT security really depends on what you’re trying to protect and what will happen if that information is lost, stolen or corrupted.
Not all information is of equal value. It’s probably not going to make sense to introduce biometric scanners at a primary school computer lab.
Even so, if your organisation falls under the auspices of the new law, you definitely need to make sure all of the security gaps and holes that might exist in your organisation are closed properly and the right monitoring and reporting tools are in place to detect breaches. (And frankly, even if your organisation is unaffected by the legislation you should close those holes anyway because they are probably being exploited).
This might be accomplished with a range of off-the-shelf technologies and revamped business processes to ensure better security practices, but increasingly organisations turn to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) who protect organisations from the outside.
The benefit of a Managed Service Provider, like our company, First Focus, are several.
- We focus on IT management and IT security for a living so we have to be up to speed, all the time about new threats and technologies that mitigate them
- We work across a variety of IT environments and know how to manage and protect them.
- We use sophisticated tools to actively monitor and manage networks, servers, devices and security around the clock, with both manual and automated responses to threats or critical events. Most organisations just can’t afford to buy or run these kinds of tools or maintain around the clock teams.
- We offer expertise and experience that is hard to find and fund within most organisations, and our teams scale as required to meet customer requirements.
- We can harden your IT security quickly by diverting your network traffic through our hosted security infrastructure.
If you are just getting considering how Australia’s new data breach notification law might impact your organisation and know you need to implement better security practices then consider the role an MSSP like First Focus could play in mitigating risk and helping you comply with your new obligations.
Starting with two people in 2003, last month we celebrated our 100th employee joining the First Focus IT team. One office has turned into presence across Australia and New Zealand. Basic IT support has turned into a national service desk, our own private cloud with compute, telephony and advanced private networking with business and IT consulting to complement our client’s needs. Thank you to all of our team and clients who work with us to achieve our vision of helping people use technology.
Another successful project and another happy customer.
First Focus was asked by Mutual Marketplace – a new joint venture between People’s Choice Credit Union and Credit Union Australia) to create a scalable IT infrastructure solution from the ground up.
First Focus engineer Dan Maker led the project and deployed a full suite of technologies including MPLS WAN with redundant 4G failover, managed cisco firewall and security services, a hosted Broadsoft PABX, our cloud desktop-as-a-service platform, office 365, private cloud server infrastructure, and unlimited ongoing infrastructure support. The whole solution has been deployed and fully contained within a single private network, and is fully managed and maintained by First Focus without relying on external third parties. This means our networking team can monitor every node from the desktop to the data centre, guaranteeing application and infrastructure performance. It means our service desk team can access and administer every device on the network meaning faster support response times and SLA guarantees. It also means our engineering team can extend or customise all hardware and software to meet Mutual Marketplace’s evolving needs.
“… Thank you for your support during the implementation phase of our project with Mutual Marketplace. We placed incredibly tight timelines on your team to deliver hardware and software infrastructure in two locations and we’re very pleased with the outcome. We look forward to a strong relationship with First Focus and Mutual Marketplace.”
– Nick Dinan
This combination of technology and services provides Mutual Marketplace with a fully GS007 compliant solution which is also highly reliable, scalable and cost effective. If you’re in the financial services industry and looking for a premium infrastructure solution at a cost effective price point, give First Focus a call on 1300 556 531.
The hype and buzz around cloud computing has reached business boardrooms over the last few years, but there still remains a lot of confusion around how it is used and what exactly it means.
In August 2014 several hundred private celebrity photos including nude pictures were published after hackers attacked Apple’s iCloud storage service. This kind of high profile and very public security breach has only added to the confusion around the security and safety of information in the “cloud”.
Cloud Computing essentially involves pooling servers, storage and networking resources together to offer centralised computing infrastructure that can be shared by several people or organisations. This can range from simple file storage services, or online backup services to comprehensive corporate infrastructure solutions, and these services can be made available for access by any internet connected device.
The key to most cloud services is to share computing resources across a large numbers of end users, spreading out the cost and in some cases enabling free access to a sufficiently large customer base, where revenues to the cloud provider are derived from upselling additional services, advertising or other sources. These services tend to be very easy to use, with simple security, broad accessibility, and the ability for end users to create new accounts or enable access without any special knowledge or experience.
However, when applied to a corporate environment, while there are some cases where this can work well, this approach can also cause several issues. An organisation’s data can suddenly “sprawl” across a variety of Cloud platforms, and different jurisdictions. It can be controlled by end users who may not secure their accounts well or who may even leave the organisation. Inter-departmental access controls can be difficult to regulate, and a number of backup and data integrity issues arise. There is significantly enhanced risk of data loss, and data theft.
The First Focus Smart Cloud is a private cloud service that is adapted and tailored to suit each of our customer’s needs. Like a public cloud, First Focus operates large pool of servers, storage and networking equipment available for use by our customers. However, unlike a public cloud service our infrastructure is carved into small “modules” which can be completely tailored and dedicated for use by just a single customer.
As a private cloud service, access levels can be tightly controlled, and centralised professional administration ensures that there are no security “back doors”. Our Smart Cloud provides the highest levels of management, visibility, control, security, privacy, and physical data proximity as well as the peace of mind of knowing exactly where your key business data resides at all times.
First Focus Smart Cloud can deliver custom-built private clouds and hybrid clouds from infrastructure that is locally hosted at secure data centres in Sydney and Perth and which are instantly scalable to meet your growing data requirements.
Because our modular approach simplifies ongoing management and greatly improves performance, the First Focus Smart Cloud service is available at the same price points as large multi-tenanted public cloud offerings, with the added benefits of access to First Focus’ comprehensive help desk and on-site support options. This provides a cost-competitive alternative without the public cloud’s disadvantages.
First Focus is proud to announce that we have been awarded a Platinum Award for Customer Service from Australian Customer Service Awards.
The Australian Customer Service Awards has been designed to recognise, encourage and reward small and medium-sized Australian businesses for their excellent treatment of, and positive attitude towards, their customers.
Following a recent survey of our clients, First Focus has attained a Net Promoter Score of 85. This ranking states that over 85% of our clients would recommend us to a close friend or colleague.
This, most recent, award follows a host of industry acknowledgements for First Focus including the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 and CRN’s Fast50 for 2013.
“This award is such a great acknowledgement of the effort we put in to exceeding our customers’ expectations. The two “Fast 50” awards acknowledge our business success. However this award speaks directly to why we are so successful. Our growth so far has been entirely due to our customer’s recommendations.” – Peter Paddon, Managing Director
For more information please contact First Focus at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1 300 556 531.
First Focus has again qualified for two top IT industry award programs; the CRN Fast 50, and the Deloitte technology Fast 50.
Reflecting both our sustained growth over several years as well as significant growth in the last year, for the fourth time in the last 5 years First Focus has been recognised as one of the fastest growing IT companies in the country, being placed on two “Fast 50” lists for 2013.
With revenue growth of 85% over the last 3 years we were recognised in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 which looked at revenue growth in the IT sector over the period 2011-2013. Not surprisingly the Deloitte survey confirmed that pure play internet companies and cloud based software-as-a-service companies continued to gain momentum, while, more pertinently for First Focus since we have just re-launched our website with a range of new cloud and other services offerings, significant growth opportunities are to be found for managed service providers, cloud based hosting providers and infrastructure players.
First Focus was also awarded a place in CRN’s Fast50 for 2013, which uses a strictly numbers based approach on revenue when compiling their list of top resellers.
Richard Marlow, First Focus’ General Manager commented that it was “particularly pleasing to be recognised by both Deloitte and CRN thereby effectively recognising both our services and reseller business units. While comprising a significant part of our business, our reseller division is really a business unit that we operate to support our services business which has actually been our largest growth sector over the last year”.
Having just re-launched our website with a range of new cloud and other services offerings, this is a very pleasing way to be ending 2013 and we are very much looking forward to further significant growth in 2014.
For more information please contact First Focus at email@example.com or call 1 300 556 531.
We are very pleased to finally launch our new website and brand. The design process has been helped immeasurably by comments, suggestions and feedback from our staff, our clients our business partners, and friends.
Peter Paddon, First Focus’ Managing Director said:
Our new website and our brand now accurately represent who we are as an organisation; Australia’s leading provider of smart cloud, infrastructure projects and IT support solutions.
The new website offers a more comprehensive outline of the services we offer along with quick and easy access to pricing calculators for both Smart Cloud and IT Support solutions. We’ve also simplified navigation and updated the entire website look and feel.
Peter Paddon added:
Although we’re very pleased with our new website and brand, the site alone can never convey the level of customer service and support that our clients expect from First Focus.
Our clients enjoy solutions that are delivered at the highest standards, based on our gaining a detailed understanding of their needs and then designing customised infrastructure solutions to fit.
Our new website is simply the start of the conversation.
Along with the new website and brand, First Focus has released a range of new Smart Cloud hosting products and services, and we would encourage you to browse throughout the site and get in touch with one of our consultants for a chat about how we can help your organisation.
For more information, please contact First Focus at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 556 531.
Australia Post subsidiary First Direct Solutions has enlisted First Focus to host the majority of its server and storage infrastructure on our new Smart Cloud platform.
The infrastructure migration is part of a long term relationship between First Focus and Australia post that has included a variety of infrastructure projects, services and support delivered over the last 5 years. Our Case Study outlines some of these services in more detail.
About the recent Smart Cloud hosting project, Australia’s Post FDS’ IT operations manager Chen Chen said:
The level of support they provide for our cloud infrastructure is second to none, which is crucial to the continued day-to-day operations of our business
First Focus continues to deliver market leading private cloud hosting solutions by combining leading infrastructure with our traditional comprehensive support services, from the data centre to the desktop. First Focus Victoria State Manager Paul Whiteoak said:
For customers like Australia Post its not just about meeting an SLA, it’s about the whole solution. We’ve consistently shown them that we’re prepared to go the extra mile and deliver solutions that combine leading infrastructure with comprehensive service and support. FDS know that our solution will deliver and that’s why they’ve trusted us with their infrastructure.
In a further demonstration of our commitment to deliver end-to-end support to our clients, First Focus has expanded our on-site support coverage into South East Asia via our partner network.
We are pleased to announce that we are now able to provide on-site support in Singapore, the Philippines, PNG and Fiji with SLAs that range from Next Business Day right up to 4 hour on-site 24 x 7 in some areas.
First Focus currently delivers on-site support to over 70 locations across Australia and New Zealand through a combination of our own full time staff in major cities, and a network of contractors in rural and regional areas.
Our contractors undergo a rigorous technical, service level, and administrative pre-qualification process and if successful, they’re then subject to ongoing SLA testing and evaluation. This enables First Focus to provide our clients with the same consistently high level of on-site support in all of the locations we cover.
First Focus Engineering manager Karl Richardson said:
IT support is increasingly becoming a remote based service, but the on-site component is still an essential piece of the puzzle for a lot of businesses. There is often no substitute for having an engineer on the ground eyeballing a problem or helping end users.
Our expanded international coverage was driven by customer demand. First Focus General Manager Richard Marlow said:
Traditionally multi-site businesses would have separate local suppliers for IT services in each site, but this creates an administrative overhead and results in inconsistent service levels and often finger pointing. Our wholesale relationships with local vendors deliver a unified solution with a consistent SLA, a single point of contact and a single bill.
For more information about First Focus regional coverage and on-site support solutions, please contact First Focus at email@example.com or call 1300 556 531.
Anyone that has experienced slow Citrix, Terminal services or VMware performance when hosting on large scale cloud infrastructure will tell you how frustrating that can be. One of the key components to delivering quality performance is the speed of the SAN (or storage area network)
SAN performance is critical for delivering high quality end user experiences particularly when combined with desktop virtualisation.
First Focus storage strategy across our Smart Cloud is just that: Smart. Instead of investing in a single large SAN, and then subscribing hundreds of customers to it (and thereby contending performance across all users), our approach leverages Hewlett Packard’s leading StoreVirtual technology, consisting of multiple smaller flexible SAN nodes joined together into several larger virtual SANs.
Each small SAN node offers 99.999% uptime reliability, and contains its own array of disks configurable in RAID/6 for capacity or RAID/10 for performance, along with its own controller pair delivering dual 2Gbit or dual 10Gbit throughput. This approach means the overall performance of our SAN increases as more customers are added, removing bottlenecks, and ensuring that the system is never over-subscribed.
This also means customers with larger SAN requirements can be allocated entire dedicated SAN nodes offering the highest performance IOPS, and dedicated 10Gbit / sec throughput, for extremely competitive prices.
It is this technology that drives our market leading CloudDESKTOP and CloudCOMPUTE products, and this is one more reason First Focus offers Australia’s leading private cloud solution.
For more information about HP’s StoreVirtual products please see http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/data-storage/data-storage-products.html?compURI=1225885
For more information about our Smart Cloud or arrange a demonstration of our SAN performance and how it can benefit your organisation, please contact First Focus at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 556 531.
At Citrix’ Synergy industry conference in LA, Citrix announced the next major release of their desktop virtualization software: Citrix XenDesktop.
First Focus customers benefit from our partnership with Citrix as we deliver the best possible suite of technologies to address their requirements. Citrix XenDesktop 7 delivers significant advantages over XenDesktop 6 in a number of ways and in particular an improved mobile user experience.
Enterprises are under mounting pressure to respond to the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce. However, most businesses use Windows apps that were never meant to be mobile. Breakthrough technologies in XenDesktop 7 enable any Windows app to function intuitively and transparently on mobile devices, providing a seamless experience on devices of any type
For more information please see http://www.citrix.com.au/news/announcements/may-2013/citrix-extends-enterprise-mobility-strategy-with-xendesktop-7.html
First Focus’ Smart Cloud continues to leverage the best technologies to deliver our clients the best private cloud solution available in Australia. We look forward to the new functionality of Citrix XenDesktop 7 due for release in June 2013.
For more information about our Smart Cloud or arrange a demonstration of XenDesktop 7 and how it can benefit your organisation, please contact First Focus at email@example.com or call 1300 556 531.