Mobile payments and security — money walks, money talks

Once upon a time a mobile phone was something we used for talking. Today making a call ranks sixth on the list of most common uses for a mobile phone. Now there’s a new kid on the block that, in time, will push making a call even lower down the list. Mobile payment, or m-payment, is taking off. Early adopters like Starbucks already attribute significant revenue gains to their investment in mobile. Although overall mobile payments adoption and usage rates are still a fraction of standard credit/debit card transactions industry watchers expect this to change very quickly.

Internet of Things raises fresh security challenges for industry

For many years industries like oil and gas, electricity, agriculture and utilities have relied on operational communications infrastructure outside the main corporate network to collect data and provide supervisory control. Known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems the data they collect leads to efficient allocation of resources, monitors safety conditions and improves operational decision-making. But now, with the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, industrial organizations are eager to deploy new wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) devices to collect even more data from field assets in remote, geographically dispersed locations. The number of sensors and data points in industrial networks looks set to multiply exponentially overnight. As a consequence, there will be more access points than ever before. Security, therefore, will be an important factor in determining the overall success of IoT deployment.

Web of Spies

Ever since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of state-sponsored espionage over the Internet in 2013 businesses have been acutely aware of just how vulnerable data communications are to being intercepted. It is no coincidence that in the same period cybercriminals have also stepped up their attempts to spy on organisations. For example, the use of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) malware and ransomware to try to capture valuable financial or customer data for financial gain has risen dramatically. While no defense method is ever 100% impregnable the risk of snooping and theft of sensitive data can be significantly reduced by encrypting it using VPNs.

Staying Safe at Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels, railway stations and airports have become a welcome resource for any business traveler, providing them with a convenient means to carry on working while on the move. Employers, in turn, are increasingly happy to embrace the accompanying productivity benefits. Over 80% of enterprises now allow employees to use personal devices to connect to corporate networks.

Yet public Wi-Fi has a dubious security reputation. Even with password protection, public hotspots are an open invitation for anyone with illicit intentions to snoop and intercept data communications to their heart’s content.

Endpoint Security: The Cornerstone of the Cybersecurity Puzzle

Some enterprises occasionally fail to realize that many of the differing cybersecurity services available today aren’t optional add-ons but necessary, oftentimes critical, pieces of a complete security strategy. There are a suite of unique security protocols and services that all work together to protect a network and safeguard valuable business data from intrusion. Cybersecurity is a holistic process that requires multiple moving parts working in tandem; failure to do so could leave networks with painful vulnerabilities, not to mention wasted resources. Endpoint security is one such critical piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. While it’s difficult to rank security systems in order of importance, it’s hard to imagine any of the other measures used to secure a network being functional without this one in place. It works like this: Endpoint security is installed on a client/server and may be managed by a central server, or gateway, that runs a security program to verify a network device. VPN and anti-virus software installed on an approved system requires the user to comply with policies before accessing the network. Without the permissions, a user can’t get into the shared network. Without this safeguard in place at the outset of network access, it’s hard to imagine many of the other potential security systems being fully capable of doing their job. Endpoint security is a proactive prevention method, while almost all other security systems are reactive, after-the fact measures. Incident response, for instance, functions as damage control. If endpoint security isn’t in place, the likelihood of a data breach happening is higher all around. An incident response strategy can’t predict a security failure ahead of...

How a Remote Access VPN Extends the Reach of Your IT Staff

What do the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Ashley Madison and Target have in common? They may seem entirely unrelated on the surface, but each organization has been a target of a high-profile data breach within the last year. Each new cyberattack is more proof that the threat landscape has diversified, leaving no industry, system or organization immune to vulnerabilities. The landscape would suggest that, now more than ever, organizations need nimble network security systems, supported by a disciplined IT staff that can keep up with the shifting state of cybersecurity. Unfortunately, while the threat landscape has clearly expanded in recent years, the IT security industry has yet to catch up and adapt to the quick rate of change. Across the board, there is a clear security skills shortage that has left IT professionals and their organizations without the necessary talent that they now require. In fact, 44 percent of organizations say that they have an inadequate number of networking and security staff with strong knowledge of both security and networking technology. Looking beyond these numbers, the problem is not necessarily a lack of skills, but rather, many organizations do not have ample personnel to field growing IT requests and security needs within their companies. To overcome this shortage, many organizations are seeking technologies that can augment their IT departments, without requiring extensive management by IT staff. Companies need easy-to-use solutions that largely run on their own and can be managed seamlessly – whether they are preventing a network hack or data breach, or merely enabling a company to function on a daily basis. Let’s take a...