Security Policy

 

1 - Purpose & Scope

This policy relates to GCI Managed Services Group Limited and all subsidiary companies, hereafter referred to as “GCI”.

It is a customer specific document, designed to provide the necessary assurance in relation to GCI’s security.

It provides a guide to GCI’s commitment to security what its customers can expect from GCI in this regard.

The Policy also details our approach to security and privacy in relation to the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018.

It also outlines key recommendations for our customers in relation to security.

2 - Introduction

GCI understands the importance of security and makes every effort to ensure that customer information held on systems and other related areas are fully protected.

GCI recognises that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information created, maintained, transmited, stored and hosted by GCI and its customers is vital.

The management of GCI views this as one of its primary responsibilities, and fundamental to business best practice. It has therefore adopted and is certificated to the Information Security Management System (ISMS) Standard ISO27001:2013. GCI is also certificated through the Cybers Essentials Scheme. It has also adopted as best practice, BS10012:2017 – “Data Protection – Specification for a personal information management system”.

The above allows GCI to manage and meet the following objectives which are to: 

  • Comply with all applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018; 
  • Implement continual improvement initiatives, including risk assessment and treatment strategies, while making the best use of its management resources to meet and improve information security management system requirements;
  • Communicate its security objectives and its performance in achieving these objectives, throughout the Company and to interested parties; 
  • Maintain a Policy and Standard Operating Procedures that provide direction and guidance on security matters relating to employees, customers, suppliers and interested parties who come into contact with the GCI’s activities;
  • Work closely with customers, business partners and suppliers in seeking to establish security standards;
  • Adopt a forward-looking view on business decisions, including the continual review of risks which may have an impact on security;
  • Constantly strive to meet, and when possible exceed, customer and employee expectations;
  • Consider security in role guides and when setting employee objectives where applicable;
  • Provide security training and awareness to all employees to ensure responsibilities, principles and practices are embedded in GCI’s culture.

 

3 - GCI’s Security Governance & Certification Framework

  • GCI is ISO 27001:2013 certificated by United Registrar of Systems (URS), GCI’s UKAS accredited Certification Body;
  • It also holds the Cyber Essentials Certification;
  • The Chief Operating Officer has overall responsibility for security within GCI, delegated from the Board who retain accountability;
  • GCI has also adopted as best practice, the requirements of BS10012:2017 – “Data Protection – Specification for a personal information management system”, which is integrated with its ISMS and overall Business Management System;
  • All departments are subject to internal audits;
  • A robust internal Information Security and Privacy Policy, supported by a suite of standard operating procedures, is in place, including a risk-based methodology incorporating Data Protection Impact Assessments and treatment plans which run across all operational aspects of the business;
  • GCI’s Documents, Records and Information Management Standard Operating Procedure addresses retention periods amongst other things;
  • GCI is also certified to ISO 9001, ISO20000, ISO 14001 and adopts the principles of ITIL v3.

 

4 - GCI Security – Key Elements

4.1 - Physical Security

  • All GCI sites incorporate industry standard security controls, covering physical perimeter, CCTV and monitoring along with logged card access systems;
  • These controls are underpinned and supported by GCI’s ISO27001:2013 certification; 
  • Unaccompanied access to data centre facilities is not permitted and is detailed in our Physical Security Standard Operating Procedure and our Access Control Standard Operating Procedure.

 

4.2 - Operational Security

  • GCI adopts a robust Configuration and Change Management process, in line with ITIL v3, ISO27001 and PCI DSS v 3.2. A dedicated Change Manager oversees all potential security-impacting changes to service. These are tracked and recorded to completion of the change;
  • GCI has adopted an ISO27001 and PCI DSS compliant vulnerability management strategy. As well as formal penetration testing, our team of engineers stay up-to-date with the latest threats and exploitation techniques being used. Any threats that warrant action will be tracked through Change Management until completion; 
  • GCI provides a heavily controlled/firewalled environment, with proactive monitoring and additional capability such as DDOS mitigation via our peering providers; 
  • Customers consume services in the form of IaaS and SaaS, which provides them access to specific applications or services. All underlaying technology for supporting / maintaining these platforms is restricted to authorised GCI staff only; 
  • Incident Management is an integral part of GCI's security procedures based upon ISO 27001:2013 and ITIL v3. Security Incident Response Teams are used to manage incidents effectively.

 

4.3 - Supply Chain Management 

  • GCI utilise Data Centres and communication infrastructure supplied and or managed by 3rd parties, details can be provided on application. None of these 3rd parties have logical access to information or management system. ISO27001 certification is still required for these sites; 
  • It ensures supplier selection and approval criteria, security and privacy requirements, and performance monitoring are utilised which are proportionate to the risk and the information processed.

 

4.4 - Secure Development & Deployment

  • GCI design all dedicated implementations in-line with current industry practice and employ a Secure Development Policy in-line with ISO 27001:2013. Throughout development, testing and deployment GCI are responsible for all software security updates on our platforms in conjunction with supplier and manufacturers. For customers with dedicated solutions, engineers manage the availability and control of security updates released to customers via approved deployment tools or processes; 
  • PEN Tests and vulnerability scans are conducted at least annually to capture new and evolving threats. Resulting actions are risk assessed, prioritised and treated in line with GCI’s Risk Management Standard Operating Procedure and overseen by the Business Effectiveness Team.

 

4.5 - Access Control

  • Access to GCI’s internal systems, hosting platform and customer servers is permitted for authorised personnel only. All users must be positively identified by providing a secure User ID and password before being given access to system resources. Incoming callers are identified using details taken from their accounts. Additional password protection can be applied for sensitive environments; 
  • All servers, routers, firewalls and network equipment are protected by multi-factor authentication technologies or with a minimum of a password. All passwords are randomly generated for optimum security to prevent intruders gaining unauthorised access to systems and information; 
  • Only GCI’s 3rd Line Engineers have full access to hosted platforms, each engineer having their own individual login for optimum security. Authorised support staff have Admin access to hosted services in order to provide technical support to customers;
  • Where Support Engineers require access to GCI’s network and systems and are external to GCI's Corporate infrastructure, they will connect via VPN technologies. Two factor authentication technologies are used to encrypt and secure the communications;
  • Solutions are accessed either via VPN or via client-side licensed software (such as Skype for Business), both requiring authentication; 
  • Accessing the internet-facing Support Portal also requires authentication and complex passwords with lockout and reset rules. The support portal gives access to customer contact information and our SLAs, but not access to the Cloud environment itself.

 

4.6 - Employee Screening

  • GCI performs the necessary background employment checks commensurate with the sensitivity, criticality, and potential liability for the job function and service which GCI is offering. All GCI staff involved in technical service provision are vetted to the Baseline Personnel Security Standard Plus; 
  • All employees are given Information Security training as part of their induction and a minimum of every 12 months thereafter, in support of GCI’s ISO 27001:2013 certification.

 

5 - Recommendations for Customers

 

The purpose of these recommendations is to help prevent unauthorised access to GCI Services, including to help ensure the security of GCI’s own network and infrastructure where this could be impacted by a breach of security in the Customer’s own network or infrastructure, or unauthorised access to the Services or administrative controls granted to the Customer in respect of these, including Customer portals.

 

5.1 - Passwords

Network and other devices (including but not limited to firewalls) should be securely configured on installation, and the default administrative password for any network and other devices should be changed to an alternative, strong password, as default passwords are often publicly known. A strong password is typically one that:

  • comprises a minimum number of characters in length (e.g. 8 characters);
  • differs from the associated username;
  • contains no more than two identical characters in a row; 
  • is not a dictionary word;
  • includes a mixture of numeric and alpha characters; 
  • has not been reused within a predetermined period of time (e.g. 6 months); and 
  • has not been used for another account.

Similarly, any default password for a user account should be changed to an alternative, strong password, and administrative user accounts should be configured to require a password change on a regular basis (e.g. at least every 90 days).

 

5.2 - User Access Control

User accounts, particularly those with special access privileges (e.g. administrative accounts) should be assigned only to authorised individuals, managed effectively and provide the minimum level of access to applications, computers and networks.

Special access privileges should be restricted to a limited number of authorised individuals and reviewed regularly.

The use of shared accounts should be avoided due to the impact these can have on auditing and post incident investigations.

User accounts and special access privileges should be removed or disabled when no longer required (e.g. when an individual changes role or leaves the organisation) or after a pre-defined period of inactivity (e.g. 3 months).

 

5.3 - Anti-virus, Malware & Patching

Ensure up to date Antivirus and Malware is installed on all relevant systems and devices. This will provide a basic level of protection against malicious software being installed on systems which may can steal sensitive information such as account credentials or banking details. Consider prioritsing patch installations such that security patches for critical or at-risk systems are installed within 30 days, and other lower-risk patches are installed within 2-3 months.

 

5.4 - Physical Security

Ensure all communications equipment is kept secure from unauthorised access to avoid the risk of tampering. If equipment must be located in areas without access restrictions, consider the use of a lockable ‘comms cabinet’ to house it.

 

5.5 - Further Guidance

The foregoing recommendations are only a small number of security measures which a Customer should consider adopting to help defend itself against cyber threats and represents guidance only. They do not represent all of the security controls an organisation needs to have in place to protect against such threats.

Useful further information is contained in the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme which sets out requirements for basic technical protection from cyber-attacks.