The workplace today is dominated by mobile devices. Employee interaction via smartphone or tablet has become second nature. They will very likely use them to check work emails, download files containing customer information or access privileged network content remotely without a second thought. Unfortunately, accessing information in this way is inherently insecure. Whether it’s Internet snoopers at the airport, a stolen or lost device or state-sponsored surveillance company, confidential information can all too easily fall into the wrong hands. For this reason, implementing secure business communication techniques that protect the privacy of mobile data – on the device, in transit and at rest – has become essential. The answer lies in a combination of security best-practices and encryption-based technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs).
The growing use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) worldwide is in the process of turning the concept of smart factories into reality. The phenomenon has been described by observers as the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 for short. Big things are expected. Analysts at Gartner expect manufacturing to account for 57% of total IoT spending in 2017, while total enterprise IoT investments will reach $964 billion. Industry 4.0 promises to combine digital technologies with all-pervasive internet connectivity to produce valuable data. Companies then mine, analyze and convert the information into a wealth of insights. The knowledge will then be used to boost factory productivity, increase supply chain efficiency and make cost savings. As always, new trends bring fresh challenges. Connecting industrial machinery to the outside world can lead to new security risks. Deployment of virtual private networks (VPNs) can help reduce such risks significantly, ensuring that Industry 4.0’s data treasures stay hidden from unwelcome observers.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to overturn Net Neutrality. The decision gives internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom companies the right to prioritize services according to customers’ ability to pay and to sell customer data to third parties. One industry likely to feel the effect of this is the automotive sector. Connected cars depend on consistent data transmission. It’s estimated that by 2021 over 380 million connected cars will be on the road, more than double the number now. Today, the motor manufacturing industry is still in the very early stages of figuring out how to make money from connected car data. The relaxing of Net Neutrality rules makes it likely that auto manufacturers will team up with telcos and ISPs to offer customers a range of data-based services. Ultimately, this could be even more profitable than actual vehicle sales. One of the biggest challenges for motor manufacturers will be to convince customers that their privacy is assured and that it will not be open season for their data. One sure fire way to secure driver data is to use virtual private networks (VPNs).
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a useful tool that encrypts data before it passes across the public Internet and then decrypts it when it reaches its destination. Rather like shutters on the windows of a house, it shields what goes on inside even though the outside can be seen by everyone in the street. The process, often referred to as tunneling, is particularly useful for businesses whose workers have to use the Internet in public places like coffee shops or airports. It is also helpful for those who want to keep confidential customer information or intellectual property safe from the prying eyes of hackers and spies. In 2017, the U.S. Trump administration overturned regulations preventing ISPs from making money from users’ browser data. At the same time in the UK, the Investigatory Powers Act served to increased government surveillance of Internet activity in response to a heightened threat of terrorism. Both led to a surge in interest in VPNs. A VPN is an established technology that has traditionally been seen as the province of technical specialists. Perhaps because of this, and in spite of VPN services becoming easier to deploy, a number of enduring myths persist.
Two of the biggest technology trends today – IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (machine-to-machine) communications – are changing the business world beyond all recognition.
Companies of all sizes, from major manufacturers to small-and medium-sized services companies from all sectors, now have a golden opportunity to derive new revenue streams from managing and servicing their customers’ equipment remotely.
According to leading industry analysts, the IoT market already accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in 2017 – a figure that is set to be in the trillions by 2021. But new research reveals IoT is also a major headache for enterprise everywhere because of limited information and inadequate security measures. Legislators in the U.S. and in Europe are working to bring in standards compelling designers to do more to make their devices secure. But the signs are that even then they may be limited in scope. The good news at least is that remote connections can be reliably secured so that M2M communications remains private and confidential using virtual private networks (VPNs).
Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning are coming together to bring about a sea change in how we use buildings, at home and at the office. Smart infrastructure makes domestic households more energy efficient and allows companies to optimize their real estate. Almost every large enterprise and government organization is currently working on smart infrastructure projects at some level. It’s no surprise that the market for smart buildings is expected to increase four-fold by 2021. The pursuit of greater efficiency and convenience, however, introduces new risks. Many IoT devices and management systems still run on legacy software and lack any kind of security standards. This makes them vulnerable to attacks by hackers. The answer is to build-in cyber-resilience from the beginning starting with securing all connection points using virtual private networks (VPNs).