In recent years, the way we work has transformed. The rise of ever more powerful mobile devices has freed us from our desks. Our Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets allow us to remain constantly connected even while we are on the move. Sensing a business opportunity, carriers have responded by providing Wi-Fi hotspots for our convenience in public spaces everywhere – from coffee shops, restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and exhibition halls to trains, airports and even airplanes. Tempting as it may be to use them to reduce any idle time, public Wi-Fi hot spots are not without risks. There are over 100,000 unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Furthermore, employees often fail to follow best practices. It only takes one mistake for sensitive company data to be jeopardized. However, by deploying VPNs and following some simple guidelines it is possible for organizations to overcome these risks and ensure all employees are equipped to secure their mobile client connections.
The RSA Conference (RSAC) is always a major highlight in the IT security professional calendar and this year’s show was no exception. In this blog, NCP engineering reviews some of the standout enterprise machine-to-machine (M2M), mobile client and cloud security trends to emerge from RSAC 2017. The show is also a win-win for NCP. Our strong track record with US technology partners means that NCP is well-known to US-base customers and prospects. At the same time, our experience in fulfilling Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0 projects in Germany means we had a great deal of knowledge and insight to share with prospects in this security segment, one that is in its early stages in the United States.
Most IT devices have some form of remote access, whether via web browser or app. As long as devices are accessed by an authorized user from within an internal network, this isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, many devices, especially routers and smart home gateways are also accessible from the internet. And that’s where the problems begin. In fact, they have never stopped. Open remote access is among the greatest yet unfortunately inevitable threats of IT devices. Anybody who can access the management interface can control the device and usually the owner will not notice. Devices that are connected to the internet are constantly scanned and scrutinized for vulnerabilities. Open remote management interfaces should be treated as the digital equivalent of a loaded gun. It can be used but you need to know exactly what you are doing and take every possible precaution.
Energy plants and factories have always been prime targets for delivering a devastating setback and psychological blow against an enemy. Today, successful attacks against critical infrastructure can be launched in cyberspace. In 2015, a cyber-attack on a Ukrainian power station caused a loss of power affecting 225,000 customers and the world took note. In the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has raised concerns over the growing number of cyber attacks on industrial control networks. In response, they recently published guidelines to “provide a strategic focus on security and enhance the trust framework that underpins the IoT ecosystem.” The document calls for a combined approach. Among the measures discussed are considered connectivity and defense in depth. Managed Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections and two-factor authentication can help secure critical connections to give IIoT data traffic the in-depth protection it needs.
The research and analyst firm techconsult issued a summary of the five major security vulnerabilities in SMEs and public organizations in Germany at the start of 2017. Their annual study Security-Bilanz Deutschland reviews IT and information security based on a representative survey of more than 500 interviews in companies and non-profit organizations. The results are sadly not that surprising each year. Although the organizations surveyed are aware of the problems and have the resources to deal with them, unfortunately they either approach issues through the wrong channels, inconsistently or too late.
In 2017, 69% of all applications will reside in the cloud according to Cisco. As we rely increasingly on benefits made possible by further advances in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and mobile devices, it’s a statistic that will continue to rise. The challenge for enterprises today is how to protect data as it streams constantly between physical mobile/IIoT devices to virtual repositories in the cloud and back again. Until corporate IT departments fully manage and stay on top of security, large breaches will continue to make the headlines. Statistics revealed in the Ponemon Institute 2016 Global Cloud Data Security Study show there is still much to do. The study found that nearly half (49%) of cloud services in the enterprise are outside corporate IT’s domain, while around 47% of corporate data stored in cloud environments are not managed by the IT department.