As a business owner, you probably don’t rely on a single computer or device to perform digital tasks associated with your business’s operations. Most businesses have multiple computers and devices. Some of them, in fact, have hundreds of computers and devices. Unfortunately, this can place your business at a greater risk of cyber threats, especially if your business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure is homogeneous.
What Is Homogeneity in Cybersecurity?
Homogeneity in cybersecurity refers to an IT infrastructure that contains computers and devices with the same software. All computers and devices run software. At a minimum, they need an operating system (OS). From desktop computers and laptop computers to personal assistants, smartphones and tablets, an OS is an essential piece of software. When computers or devices run the same software — such as the same OS — they are considered to be homogeneous.
If all your business’s desktop and laptop computers run the same OS, for example, they are considered to be homogeneous. You may use them for different purposes, and they may store different types of data. Nonetheless, running the same OS makes them the homogeneous with each other.
How Homogeneity Increases the Risk of Cyber Threats
With a homogeneous IT infrastructure, your business is more likely to experience cyber threats. Certain types of malware are designed to spread automatically. Worms, for instance, can infect other computers and devices by replicating itself. If one of your business’s computers or devices is infected with a worm, the worm may spread to other computers and devices on the same network. Assuming the computers and devices run the same OS, the worm will easily penetrate them, resulting in greater destruction to your business’s IT infrastructure.
Even if a specific type of malware isn’t designed to automatically spread, homogeneity is still a concern. A hacker may manually target other computers and devices if they run the same OS. Homogeneity increases the risk of both automated and manual infections by providing hackers with a uniform IT infrastructure.
Protecting Against Cyber Threats
You don’t have to install a different OS on each of your business’s computers and devices. There are other ways to lock down your business’s IT infrastructure so that it’s better protected against cyber threats. Ensuring all your business’s computers and devices run up-to-date antivirus software will protect them from cyber threats. You can also use a firewall to filter traffic that could otherwise cause a malware infection.