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Tackling Cybersecurity & IT Governance Challenges in the Housing Sector

With the rapid adoption of remote working following the pandemic, cybercrime is rising across many industries and the Housing sector is no exception. A recent survey by RSM also reveals that in the last 12 months, a quarter of social housing associations have suffered a cyberattack.

 

Effective IT governance is essential to mitigate increasingly sophisticated cyber threats across systems, software and applications and promote long-term remote working. But with roadblocks along the way, how can housing organisations realistically achieve this?

 

Manage endpoint security

If staff use personal devices for work, it’s likely they don’t have the latest security patches and antivirus software in place, increasing the risk of a data breach. A 2020 Ponemon Institute study shows that 68% of organisations experienced one or more endpoint attacks that successfully compromised data and/or IT infrastructure.

 

Microsoft Endpoint Manager is recommended because it allows IT teams to deploy updates and patches and manage remote devices in a central dashboard, so you know your data is safe no matter where your team is working.

 

Plus, Endpoint Manager can use Azure Active Directory (AD) to set up Multifactor Authentication which requires proof of identify before users can access apps and files. Azure AD can also be used to implement controlled identity management which helps to prevent malicious outsiders from accessing systems through unsecure devices, promoting safer remote working.

 

Forrester Consulting reports that organisations who deploy Endpoint Manager achieve up to 278% ROI, with improved security and reduced support needs.

 

Consolidate files and applications

Transitioning to the Cloud is particularly crucial in the case of acquisitions, where duplicate data may exist across multiple systems. We worked with Abri Homes, a longstanding Housing Association with over 1650 employees from previous mergers, to configure a consistent, unified approach to IT governance.

 

We helped Abri consolidate their Microsoft 365 tenants and licensing to unify their communications. To make staff access easy we implemented Azure AD to set up Single Sign-On functionality to give staff access to all their Microsoft 365 apps with one set of credentials.

 

To modernise Abri’s customer communications we deployed Teams Cloud Voice and Anywhere365, bringing a host of benefits to customers and Abri management. Teams Cloud Voice allows Abri’s customer service team to respond to calls from anywhere via the cloud. This was essential to enable staff to support customers throughout the COVID-19 restrictions. With Anywhere365 integrated into Teams, management can stay informed about call volumes, workloads and customer interactions.

 

This cost-effective, Cloud-native solution eliminates Abri’s reliance on legacy infrastructure, cutting costs without compromising on productivity and security. All staff have access to the latest patched software and are protected against malicious links, attachments and malware. The housing association is now set up to protect confidential data and remain GDPR-compliant, while providing users with remote access to the files and applications they need to work and collaborate from anywhere, all in one place.

 

Integrate powerful Microsoft applications

Creating apps and automated processes in-house is a cost-effective alternative to outsourcing that helps organisations to save time, reduce spend and improve IT governance. Microsoft Power Apps let you quickly build customised apps to support specific operational needs, whilst Power Automate streamlines and modernises tasks across devices for simplified project delivery in a secure Cloud environment.

 

A Forrester Consulting study states that Power Apps reduces app development costs by 74% and delivers 188% ROI over 3 years – proof that it’s a worthwhile investment for organisations looking to manage more internally. In terms of acquisitions, these tools also help to unify IT operations and solidify new ways of working.

 

Learn from Microsoft funded workshops

We offer six Microsoft funded security workshops providing in-depth guidance from our security experts. Explore Microsoft’s extensive security toolset, analyse current threats and create a strategic security plan to protect and govern your organisation data. Get actionable next steps to improve your security posture and put your questions to our experts so you walk away with the insights you need.

 

Our security workshops are:

  • Securing Identities
  • Microsoft Threat Protection
  • Hybrid Cloud Security
  • Manage & Investigate Risk
  • Discover Sensitive Data
  • Microsoft Sentinel

 

We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner and hold multiple Advanced Specialisations, including:

  • Threat Protection Advanced Specialisation
  • Identity and Access Management Advanced Specialisation
  • Information Protection and Governance Advanced Specialisation
  • Cloud Security Advanced Specialisation

 

To learn more about how Microsoft solutions can improve cybersecurity and IT governance in your organisation, register for a 3-day workshop with Transparity’s expert consultants.

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