There are a lot of “smart” devices out there—over 35 billion and counting—and more and more are being connected to the Internet all the time. These endpoints, often called the Internet of Things, are known as vulnerabilities to hackers, as most devices don’t offer the type of comprehensive security that they need to keep from being problematic. What might surprise you, however, is that the primary exploit comes from devices that ironically are thought of as security devices: The ones found in a smart home.
Many people use smart speakers throughout their day-to-day lives, whether it’s as a personal assistant or to control their home entertainment system. However, one of the topics up for discussion is how secure these devices actually are and whether or not we should be concerned about them. Just how secure are your smart speakers and what can you do about their security?
Smart devices have enabled individuals and businesses to push the limits of connectivity, allowing them to have unprecedented amounts of control over their offices and homes. People can turn down their thermostats or lock the front door with the click of a button, as well as control how much power their homes consume. However, security is a pain point for these types of connected devices.
A lot has been made about smart technology over the past few years with one major takeaway: it is far too risky to deploy. Security problems with Internet of Things (IoT) devices have been widely discussed and it has kept organizations from deploying technology that can really help their business. Let’s take a look at some of the technologies that your business can use to streamline your operations.
One of the biggest questions that was routinely asked to IT administrators before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted everything was, “How can we use the Internet of Things to Improve Your Business?” The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Today, we will look at what benefits the Internet of Things can present to you and whether or not they can make a difference for the average small business.
A few years ago, there was a decision made to make a concerted effort by manufacturers to create their products, but to also create those same products with “smart” technology inside. Basically, because of the rampant innovation of Internet-connected systems, devices, appliances, and knick-knacks of all types we have to ask the question: Are we being dumb for using all these smart devices?
For the amount that you hear the phrase “the Internet of Things” you’d think that it is the newest Ben and Jerry’s flavor. We hear it everywhere. On the television: “the Internet of Things”. In the stores: “the Internet of Things”. Even on the Internet there is this constant stream of consciousness that references the Internet of things. Well, today we are going to look at the Internet of Things as it is, and why you need to listen to what everyone is saying about the Internet of Things.
Do you remember the days when wireless connectivity was primarily associated with computers, or laptops? With today's advancing technology, virtually anything is able to connect to the internet. We call everything in this category the Internet of Things, or IoT.
The Internet of Things has forced businesses to think about the threats that countless mobile devices pose when they access a network, and it’s not something that is going away anytime soon. How can your business be as prepared as possible for the Internet of Things? We’ll give you some ideas for how you can address Internet of Things devices on your company’s network infrastructure.
In order for an individual to properly learn anything it has to be taught in a fashion commensurate with how he/she will use it in everyday life. For two decades schools, because of a myriad of factors, have been lagging behind society with the integration of technology. Nowadays, with four-of-five high school students coming to school with their own smartphone, it’s imperative that educators make adjustments to their curricula that sufficiently integrates the technologies and practices that people of the present utilize in practical life.
The Internet of Things is currently one of the most promising, yet risk-laden, information technology trends that we have today. The combination of the push for more connected devices with the lack of the security they need to remain protected, presents a considerable issue for a business’ network security. Here, we’ll examine some of the IoT’s latest trends, and how they could impact your business.
The Internet of Things is no longer a pipe dream that could become a major influencer in the technology market. It is now a reality, and as such, you need to take measures to ensure that it doesn’t become a major issue for your business. How big is the Internet of Things, truly, and how does this influence your business? Is there even any hope that you can protect yourself from it? Read on to find out.
In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that the Internet of Things became a notoriously dangerous entity, and it’s all thanks to a little something called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack is an attack that uses many hacked devices to target a system. In this case, the devices were infected with a malware variant known as Mirai. Together, the devices created a massive botnet that was used to attack Dyn, one of the largest domain name providers out there. But the real victims of this attack were much more widespread than just Dyn--any services that relied on its services, including Amazon and Twitter, were also influenced by the attack.
This fear of a major mobile device botnet is what fuels the debate about the future of the Internet of Things and brings into question whether or not its rapid growth is something to be concerned about. When millions of devices can be connected to create a malicious network and orchestrate a massive attack that downs even the sturdiest of networks, you know that you’re dealing with a formidable force. The Mirai botnet specifically targeted devices that haven’t changed their default passwords and considering how few users actually change them in the first place, it seems that this tactic was quite successful.
If you take a moment to consider this, it seems likely that the more devices are out there, the more contentious security becomes - not just for the business environment, but on a personal level as well. Most of the devices used in this way aren’t devices that you would typically think of as having connected features. Some examples are automobiles, kitchen appliances, and even home controlling devices such as lights or thermostats. Naturally, the more devices you have in any given area, the more likely it is that there will be security issues in regard to them, so how can your organization ensure that it’s not going to be taken advantage of by a rogue botnet?
It’s incredibly important that your business prepare for any instances of potential malicious activity both on and around your mobile devices, including any connected devices on your network. If possible, change any default passwords found on your devices, and protect your devices with a mobile device management solution. All of this should be in preparation of a worst-case scenario--a device being controlled remotely by an external threat.
Does your business need security solutions? PCSOFT can help. To learn more, reach out to us at 02 98730080.
There are a lot of connected devices nowadays, but not all of them have a very practical purpose. Some of the more practical uses of connected technology range from security systems to thermostats, but other technologies can’t necessarily be justified so easily. Why would a blender need to connect to the Internet? There are many more that are being added every day, which is why a lot of companies are concerned about this rise in connected technology.
In 2018 there are certain technologies most businesses have begun to embrace. Cloud computing, high-end network security, collaboration technologies, and some others have begun to be utilized by businesses, large and small, to build a more productive enterprise. Apart from these technologies, there are a few that every business person should know, if only to understand what is possible; and what is on the horizon for their company.
While the Internet of Things has increased in use, that doesn’t mean that its users necessarily trust it just yet. Furthermore, many of these users aren’t fully aware of the actual extent that the IoT has in their lives. These results, from a recent survey by Cisco, could be pertinent to your business and how you manage it. With so many new devices connecting to your network, how can you expect them to affect operations?
Your business has always used technology as a way to move forward and differentiate itself from other businesses, but you can’t take full advantage of the benefits that technology brings if you don’t take a chance with new devices. Here are four new technologies that may have exactly what you need to make a significant improvement in your business operations.
Smart Virtual Personal Assistants (SVPAs)
SVPAs are apps that make use of predictive intelligence as well as voice recognition to find specific information from personal data, like email messages, address books, calendars, and task lists. This has the potential to give your organization an efficiency boost. Apple, Google, and Yahoo have all acquired SVPA apps that can be used in their products, such as mobile apps and smart speakers. This type of technology can let people really hunker down and get work done, especially since they don’t have to remember tasks, and the fact that they will be given a sense of direction means they can finish tasks in an easier way.
Privacy and Security Technology
According to a poll by Pew Internet and Society, approximately 91 percent of consumers have, at some point, lost control of their personal data. Just look at these major data breaches as a starting point; Adobe, Dropbox, and Snapchat have all experienced huge password breaches, while major retailers like Target and Home Depot experienced credit card breaches. Of course, when big companies deal with data breaches, they enter damage control mode and spend millions of dollars mitigating public scrutiny from the media and consumers alike. To avoid this fallout, businesses tend to invest heavily in security solutions like encryption and two-factor authentication.
Internet of Things Devices
The Internet of Things has brought with it an immense number of connected devices, many of which have somewhat limited practical use in the modern office. Although, there are some devices like a connected coffee maker or a security camera system which can provide some value for your business. If you want to run a modern business, your organization shouldn’t fear the Internet of Things, and should instead focus on embracing it in a cautious manner.
Many software providers are hoping to take advantage of the increasing amount of collaboration that’s being done in the workplace, and they do this by making it easier than ever to communicate and work on projects together. Through the use of email, instant messaging, intranet solutions, and cloud storage, employees can take full advantage of one single platform for all of their communication needs. Some examples of these are Salesforce’s Chatter and Microsoft’s Yammer, but other apps like Facebook for Work could make some splashes in this industry.
With these four technologies, you could improve the way that your organization functions. PCSOFT wants to help your business fully leverage the power of technology and improve your operations. To learn more, reach out to us at 02 98730080.
The Internet of Things is well under way, and it’s all around you. Just take a look around your office and take note of any connected gadgetry that you see. All kinds of connected devices are entering the market, many of which you might never consider connecting to the Internet. However, it’s your responsibility to take these devices into consideration, especially if you want to keep your business--and its users--safe.
Security experts have expected the Internet of Things for quite some time, and much has been said about how it will affect cyber security. Gartner predicts that an average of 5.5 million “things” are added to the IoT every single day, which includes devices that might not normally connect to the Internet. Think consumer goods that wouldn’t normally have any network connectivity or functionality. It’s been predicted that by the end of this year, there will be approximately 6.4 billion IoT devices on the market. You don’t need us to tell you that it’s virtually impossible to secure billions of devices.
The main concern of these professionals is that these numbers are growing at an alarming rate. If the IoT’s growth is any indication, this growth isn’t going to slow down. In 2014, there were only 3.8 billion devices. In 2015, that number rose to 5 billion. It’s not a stretch to suggest that the number of “things” in the Internet of Things will far surpass 20 billion by the time 2020 comes and goes. Much to the dismay of IoT advocates, researchers believe that the first IoT data breach can happen as early as within the next two years.
At first glance, these Internet of Things devices seem to be of little consequence. However, on a cyber security level, these devices might be surprisingly dangerous. Appliances like blenders and toasters that have smart capabilities might not seem valuable to hackers, but their value lies not in their connected functionality, but how they communicate with other networks and devices. If a hacker can sneak past the security features of a smart device, they can take over the network it’s connected to--and all of the devices connected to it.
To understand the danger of this situation, you have to think far beyond the scope of just your business. There are computerized cars and physical infrastructure components, like dams and power plants, that are reliant on network connectivity. Suddenly there’s a huge potential for sabotage on a massive level. What if a hacker disabled a car’s brakes, or they override critical systems of a dam and flood the surrounding area? As long as the amount of damage possible increases, hackers will continue to grow more interested in a hacking target.
Why Aren’t Vendors Doing Anything About It?
One of the biggest reasons why vendors are creating devices with significant security vulnerabilities is because there aren’t any regulations put into place to demand a higher standard. Their reluctance to improve their product makes sense in a way; after all, why bother improving something that doesn’t need to be improved upon? More than this is the organization's’ reluctance to make devices that can’t turn a profit. This leads to popular devices from all types of markets, including business, consumer electronics, and home improvement, having major vulnerabilities.
Then you need to consider the complications involved when applying patches and updates to these devices. There are only two real ways to resolve a patching problem on IoT devices: either download the patch or replace the device entirely. The problem is that all of these devices are different, making patches somewhat difficult to issue, and the cost of these devices makes them hard to replace in general. Purchasing new devices just to retain security isn’t reasonable in the long run, as it provides consumers and businesses with unnecessary economic hardships.
What You Can Do
Since the Internet of Things is so all-encompassing, managing these devices might seem intimidating. However, enterprise-level security solutions can afford you some leeway in protecting your organization’s infrastructure. These solutions can keep unapproved devices from connecting to your infrastructure, and you can control how these devices share and connect to information within your business. In fact, it should be argued that this type of IoT management is necessary in the face of such threats.
PCSOFT wants to help your organization ensure the security of your network. Through comprehensive security measures like enterprise-level firewalls, antivirus, spam blocking, and content filtering, you can keep your in-house network locked down. Furthermore, we can help you set up a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that keeps unapproved devices off of your network. For more information, reach out to us at 02 98730080.
Mobile devices are important components of any modern workplace environment, and this trend is only growing more popular with time. Workers love the opportunity to use their own devices, like laptops or smartphones, and doing so is a trend known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). While this is a huge benefit for businesses that have trouble procuring equipment, it also presents several risks, many of which are associated with the Internet of Things (IoT).
As reported by Tech Pro Research, 59 percent of businesses currently allow the use of personal devices in the workplace. Only 28 percent of businesses refuse to let their workers use their personal devices for work purposes, and only 13 percent of business owners are planning to make the change to BYOD over the next year.
It’s safe to say that this trend has caught plenty of traction, and that it’s likely to continue growing in the next few years. However, the number of businesses that aren’t willing to embrace BYOD do have a solid reason for not doing so. BYOD needs to be regulated on a corporate level if it’s going to be allowed, and the Internet of Things doesn’t help this endeavor. With so many new devices entering the market, it’s no surprise that your employees might pick up a few of these connected devices for themselves.
Even if businesses don’t want to embrace BYOD and the Internet of Things, they might not have a choice if workers bring their Internet-connected devices to the office with them anyway. In this case, it’s best to have a plan for managing the risks of the Internet of Things and BYOD, while also permitting workers to use their own devices.
Benefits of BYOD
Bring Your Own Device presents several unique benefits for the average SMB, many of which are capable of improving your business’s operations and bottom line.
- Lower your up-front hardware costs: Allowing employees to use their own devices saves your business from going through the trouble of providing them with tools needed for their jobs. If they already have the hardware necessary to handle their duties, why should you have to invest heavily in providing them with the same tech?
- Increase workforce mobility and satisfaction: Employees are bringing their laptops, smartphones, and other technology to the office for work purposes. This means that they can take this technology home with them, effectively allowing them to work remotely if need be. These employees can put in more hours and achieve greater productivity. Furthermore, they’ll be happier knowing that they have the choice of using their own devices. Allowing your team to work on their own terms can be empowering, and it can lead to greater workplace satisfaction.
- Decrease your reliance on IT for maintenance: At first, you might look at this statement and wonder how true it is, but we urge you to think of it this way; would you be more likely to take care of a device you own, or one that’s provided to you for the purpose of working with it? Your employees want to make sure that their devices stay updated and in tip-top shape, so it makes sense that they’ll take care of this maintenance themselves, rather than having to resort to your IT department handling it. Your IT department, if you have one, can instead spend time innovating and integrating new solutions that can save your business money or streamline operations.
Risks Presented by the IoT
Even with the major benefits of BYOD, there are a number of risks involved with implementing it, including the Internet of Things. Your business handles sensitive data on a daily basis, and having countless Internet-connected devices that communicate with each other near your data is a recipe for disaster. Devices included in the Internet of Things are smart building components, like thermostats and light fixtures, smart appliances, and even smart automobiles.
The main issue presented by the IoT is security. If any IoT devices that has access to your network were to become corrupted or infected by a virus, it could potentially spread to your entire data infrastructure. While this might be a worst-case scenario, and it’s not like you should have to worry too much about a Fitbit fitness tracker bringing down your company, it’s still imperative that you take into account everything that accesses your network, and know if it’s storing data and who’s controlling it when dealing with any and every mobile device in the office.
BYOD is helping businesses all over the world embrace a more mobile industry, and you can take advantage of it, too. PCSOFT can help your organization manage the risk associated with BYOD and the IoT by integrating mobile device management solutions, and by helping you prepare yourself for the inevitable arrival of the Internet of Things.
For more information, give us a call at 02 98730080.
Professional sports have a unique relationship with technology. On one hand, the games are steeped in tradition and one doesn’t make a change to the rules without risking a fan uproar. However, the latest technology has always been a part of the sporting world, enhancing the fan experience and changing things for the better. The National Football League provides us with a great example of this dynamic.