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IoT & Remote Workers Can Threaten Businesses

Technological advances of recent years like the Internet of Things (IoT) and the remote workforce have given us opportunities for new business and growthTechnological advances of recent years like the Internet of Things and the remote workforce have given us opportunities for new business and growth. Yet with these advancements comes risk, and as such, we need to consider how our networks are set up in order to get the most out of these new developments. Simultaneously, we must protect what they currently have.

What Risks do IoT Operations Have For Business?

IoT systems can offer us remote monitoring and the ability to gather new information. With that, however, comes substantial risk to the network.

IoT means a lot of new data. A network needs to be ready to accommodate new data when an IoT system is put in place, and that means stepping up bandwidth accordingly.

IoT systems are inherently insecure. IoT systems are largely simple, built with little more than necessary sensors and a connectivity mechanism. This doesn’t leave much room for security tools.

IoT systems demand a stronger network. IoT systems both contribute to a network’s value and compromise its security. This requires a stronger overall network to survive the new attacks.

What Risks do Remote Workforces Have For Business?

The remote workforce allows us enormous flexibility, improved morale, and the ability to address issues regardless of time zone matters. Yet here, a new set of problems emerges.

Remote workforces mean local device problems. The information that remote workers require to operate ends up on their devices. Should the device be lost or stolen, the data could be gone with it.

Remote workforces are a fake key to the network. A lost or stolen device still has its network credentials in place. With those, the potential hacker can walk right into the network and gain access as though he or she worked there.

Remote workforces don’t always use best practices. A remote workforce, particularly one operating on its own devices, can be a huge threat when it opens emails it shouldn’t or installs apps hiding malware.

How Can You Protect Your Network?

T2 can offer protective measures for networks to address both IoT and remote workforce threats. From data encryption to improved network security and beyond, we can help you improve your security. Drop us a line today.

How Businesses Benefit from Fast Data Analytics

shutterstock_328634297As the Internet of Things (IoT) expands in popularity, people are using more devices with interconnectivity. This includes using smartphones and tablets to control home security systems, appliances, fitness tracking devices, televisions, and many other systems to maximize convenience. Because of this interconnectivity, IoT has given businesses access to better raw data that helps them understand their customer base and the performance of their products.

Fast data analytics can allow many companies across a wide variety of industries to develop better processes for customer service, marketing, and other aspects of their business.

Following are some examples of how certain businesses can utilize fast data analytics to their benefit.
Financial Companies Can Closely Monitor Business Transactions

Many financial firms handle millions of transactions with customers on a daily basis, which means it can be difficult to effectively detect delays or breaks at any given moment.

Fast data analytics has allowed financial companies to more easily monitor business transactions, from specific processes to complete transactions. Firms can use automated algorithms to make sure that every moment of every transaction receives the same level of attention through monitoring software. These algorithms can determine if flows have any issues that need to be addressed, allowing for quicker responses.
Insurance Firms Can Experience Faster Processing of Claims

Similar to financial firms, insurance companies often deal with millions of claims every day. In some cases, insurance companies might work with monitoring systems that are outdated, causing them to potentially miss certain issues and spend more time and resources identifying and solving them.

A faster data monitoring service can help insurance companies detect delays in claims processing, bringing issues to the attention of IT professionals who can address them faster.
Securities Firms Can Meet Industry Compliance Requirements

2010 saw the introduction of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which is a U.S. federal law that was intended to regulate financial institutions and help avert crises in the industry. To avoid legal troubles, securities companies must remain in compliance with this Act.

Dodd-Frank compliant businesses will have the ability to report SWAP trades within minutes, which is made possible by fast data analytics. This technology provides securities firms with the real-time monitoring they need to say within Dodd-Frank regulations.

These are only a few of the many instances where fast data analytics can help businesses in both customer experience and accountability. Fast data analytics implementation helps companies make positive change.

Security, Endpoints, and the Internet of Things

shutterstock_277469792In information technology, an endpoint is any device or node that is connected to a network over which it is able to communicate. When it comes to security, endpoints are one of the most important aspects of the network to protect. The goal of almost any attack or attempted breach is to gain control of an endpoint and use it to siphon off information.

In the past there were a limited number of endpoint types, and hardening a network was a relatively simple task. That simplicity has all but disappeared with the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Weakest Link

Every endpoint on a network is a potential security weakness. The IoT is all about turning everyday items into network endpoints. This has two main repercussions in terms of keeping a network secure.

  1. The number of endpoints on the network increases exponentially, and tracking and managing them all becomes significantly more difficult.
  2. Rather than a few endpoint types running standard software on standard operating systems, almost every IoT-enabled device is running its own custom operating system and software package.

As a result, one-size-fits-all security is no longer effective and custom solutions have become the norm. Thankfully, the solution to this security quandary is not to ban all IoT-enabled devices from the network. It is possible to maintain effective and efficient network security in an IoT-enabled world. This is most easily accomplished through a three-step approach that involves:

  1. connection monitoring,
  2. patch maintenance, and
  3. prevention of configuration drift.

Maintaining Security

As part of a robust network security strategy, it is important to discover connected endpoints on a continuous, real-time basis. The status of those endpoints and their connections should be monitored and any unusual activity should be logged and dealt with accordingly.

It is also vital to patch vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. Most security breaches are accomplished using publicly known vulnerabilities for which patches are available. Those vulnerabilities would not be available to attackers if patches were applied in a timely manner.

Another element in successful post-IoT security is one that is very often overlooked: configuration drift. When a new device is first provisioned, it has been configured to be in line with the network’s security policies. Over time and with ongoing interaction with end users, settings can change and security elements can be disabled or removed. Before long, the device becomes a gaping hole in the security of the network. To prevent this, endpoint configuration settings should be monitored or even automatically reset to default values at regular intervals.

Security Is Still Possible

The IoT has drastically complicated the practical aspects of network security. The sheer number and variety of endpoints now connected to most networks can be enough to overwhelm even the most competent and organized of network administrators. By sticking to a three-pronged approach of monitoring connections, maintaining patches, and preventing configuration drift, it is possible to keep endpoints, and therefore the network, safe and secure.