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    Sabercom's blog

    Digital Signage Security: Benefits of an On-Premise Solution

    By Oliver Candy | 15.02.24


    In this digital age, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to communicate effectively with their employees and clients. One such method is digital signage. Although this communication tool has revolutionised information dissemination, digital signage security, especially for cloud-based systems, has become a pressing concern. As such, many companies are considering on-premises digital signage solutions as a more secure alternative.

    man working in comms room on a secure digital signage solution

    Understanding Digital Signage Security

    Digital signage, a subset of electronic signage, employs technologies such as LED, LCD and projection to showcase digital content like images, videos, web pages, weather information, restaurant menus and text. This innovative mode of communication does, however, introduce its own unique security issues. The term digital signage security encompasses the measures put into place to safeguard the data displayed and stored in these systems against unauthorised access, manipulation or elimination. Any system compromise can lead to data loss or theft, malicious software infiltration, and even operational shutdown, hence why maintaining strong security protocols is vital. The main objective is to ensure the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data while preventing potential cyber threats.

    The Concerns Surrounding Cloud-Based Digital Signage Security

    Whilst cloud-based digital signage systems have captured the business world’s interest with their flexibility, remote administration capabilities, and limited hardware requirements, there is increasing unease regarding their security robustness. In 2020, 86% of data breaches were financially motivated and so the key concern arises from these systems’ online nature, which leaves them vulnerable to various cyber risks. Predators lurking on the internet can exploit potential weaknesses in the system’s defences, leading to hacking attempts, data heists, and insidious malware infiltrations.

    These cyber threats pose significant risks to companies, particularly those with sensitive or proprietary information displayed or stored in their digital signage systems. The virtual environment of cloud-based platforms, combined with the remote access features that make them so appealing, can sometimes provide potential loopholes for cybercriminals to access and manipulate crucial data. This exposure can lead to disastrous consequences for businesses, from data loss and reputational damage to operational disruptions and financial penalties due to non-compliance with data protection regulations.

    Whilst cloud-based systems typically come with their own security protocols, the responsibility for maintaining secure digital signage is ultimately shared with the service provider. This scenario often limits the business’s control over the data and its security, making it imperative for companies to thoroughly assess the security measures in place by their cloud service provider. Ultimately, the perceived security benefits of cloud-based solutions must be weighed against the potential risks, pushing many businesses to explore alternatives, such as on-premises digital signage.

    Exploring the Security Benefits of On-Premise Digital Signage

    On-premises digital signage solutions, working within an organisation’s internal network, bestow an enhanced level of control over security procedures. The notable advantage with these systems lies in their localised data storage, dramatically decreasing the likelihood of external system compromises. Organisations have the freedom to design security measures that meet their bespoke needs, thus boosting the overall safety of their digital signage.

    On-premises solutions provide organisations with the capability to fully manage their data and the measures used to protect it. This allows the flexibility to specify which employees have access to specific data, when they can access it, and their location at the time of access. The system’s firewall and antivirus software can also be customised according to the business requirements. Unlike cloud-based solutions, which typically offer standard data encryption, on-premises solutions offer the flexibility to select different encryption levels depending on the data sensitivity.

    Nevertheless, with an on-premises solution, the responsibility of ensuring the system’s security lies entirely with the organisation’s in-house IT team. This includes regularly updating security protocols, installing software patches, and vigilant system monitoring for potential threats. While this provides businesses with greater control over their security, it’s also worth noting that the system’s security effectiveness is proportionate to the capability and diligence of the internal IT team.

    Leveraging Full Control and Customisation

    On-premises digital signage systems empower businesses with unparalleled autonomy over their data protection. They grant the ability to fine-tune security protocols according to individual needs, allowing for specific access control rules to be set. For instance, the organisation can decide which staff members can interact with which sets of data, and stipulate the timing and location of the access. This approach offers an advanced layer of security, limiting data exposure and decreasing the probability of unauthorised access.

    Furthermore, an organisation can modify its system’s firewall and antivirus software settings to address their specific risk factors and security requirements. Unlike cloud-based solutions, which offer a one-size-fits-all approach to data encryption, on-premises systems allow for a flexible selection of encryption standards. This flexibility can be adapted to cater to the varying degrees of data sensitivity, offering a higher level of data protection where required.

    While offering full control and customisation, an on-premises digital signage solution also provides the opportunity to stay abreast of emerging security trends and to adapt the security measures accordingly. This can bolster the effectiveness of security protocols over time, offering peace of mind knowing that the system’s defence mechanisms are as robust and up-to-date as possible. Therefore, an on-premises solution offers not just the advantage of customisation, but also the potential for ongoing security enhancement.

    Dependence on Internal IT Team for Robust Security

    It’s crucial to acknowledge that with an on-premises digital signage solution, the safeguarding of the system is entirely dependent on the expertise and vigilance of the company’s in-house IT staff. These individuals carry the weighty responsibility of ensuring the system’s robustness against potential threats. This is achieved by consistently updating and reinforcing security protocols, implementing necessary software patches, and continually scrutinising the system for any signs of potential risks.

    Such reliance on the internal team places a heightened level of control in the hands of the business, allowing them to tailor security measures to their specific requirements. However, it’s worth noting that this approach also increases the risk that the system’s security is only as strong as the competence and alertness of the IT team managing it.

    Therefore, having a proficient and dedicated IT team is an essential prerequisite when opting for an on-premises digital signage system. The team must be up-to-date with the latest advancements in digital security, equipped to anticipate and counter potential threats proactively. They should also have the necessary skills to tailor security measures, making them fit for the specific needs of the organisation.

    The successful execution of these tasks can greatly enhance the security of the on-premises digital signage system, providing the organisation with a reliable and robust communication tool. Conversely, any lack of expertise or complacency in these areas could render the system vulnerable to cyber threats, compromising its overall security. Therefore, the effectiveness of on-premises digital signage security is significantly contingent upon the skills and dedication of the internal IT team.

    Taking a Holistic Approach to Secure Digital Signage

    The journey towards securing your digital signage system shouldn’t be seen as a black and white decision between cloud-based and on-premises solutions. Each alternative presents its own advantages and challenges, and the optimal choice hinges on the unique necessities and capabilities of the organisation. A comprehensive and balanced approach that considers aspects such as data confidentiality, budget limitations, technical prowess, and the level of control desired, can aid businesses in formulating a digital signage strategy that is not only effectual but also secure. This perspective allows businesses to identify and leverage the strengths of both options whilst mitigating potential drawbacks, thereby ensuring a robust digital signage security that is customised to their specific needs. It’s a journey of balancing risks, costs, and rewards, underpinned by a keen understanding of the organisation’s objectives and the security landscape.

    Sabercom offer both on-premise and cloud based digital signage solutions. Contact us today to book a demonstration.