IoT, Network and Endpoint Security Challenges

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As systems evolve, security must evolve with it. Gone are the times when one computer would connect to one server or network. Now multiple devices want access to multiple networks all hours of the day and night. The linear line of security has morphed into a spider’s web of connectivity.

What are the greatest challenges businesses face in this new information era, and how can you combat them?

What Is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint security is a network protection strategy (one of the crucial areas in cyber security you need to protect in your business) that grants access to devices like desktops, laptops, tablets or phones that meet certain credentials. It takes needing a username and password one step further, so only approved, safe devices have access.

People use a mix of personal and company devices to get work done, and each has varying levels of security. Endpoint security’s main goal is to prevent a device without anti-virus software, an approved operating system or virtual private network (VPN) from logging on to your company network.

Top 3 Challenges in Endpoint Security

1. Keeping all devices up-to-date

The challenge is keeping all devices up-to-date with your business’ security policy so everyone who needs access can have it and get work done. If it’s too strict, or people get lax on updates productivity will plummet as people become unable to log on and have access to the information they need to do their job.

2. Ensure information is used correctly

The amount of information flowing across networks is increasing daily. One of the biggest challenges to network security is protecting that information and make sure it’s being used correctly.

Unlike endpoint security which focuses on preventing some devices from logging on, network security focuses on what happens to the information once the device is connected.

A company employee with updated security software can log‐on and upload sensitive information to their personal Dropbox account. It may be they’re legitimately working from home, or they might be sharing company secrets.

Network security’s challenge is deciding how and where the information can go, balancing the information flow with the need to get work done.

3. Securing IoT devices

IT analysts Gartner predict the Internet of Things (IoT) will have 26 billion devices by the year 2020. That number excludes desktops, laptops and smartphones. Everything from cars, refrigerators, cash registers and hospital equipment can connect to the internet and therefore has the potential to be hijacked.

Everything in the IoT presents a risk. Smart TVs actively collect data about what programmes you watch and how long for. In the best case scenario this data can be used by networks to determine ratings and programme popularity. In the worst case, that information can be sold to third parties who can target you based on your personal interests and viewing habits.

If you want to protect your computer, you can buy and install antivirus and encryption software. How do you do the same for your smart energy meter? Hackers in Spain have already compromised the IoT so their smart meter under‐reports their energy use. The big challenge for the IoT will be protecting these devices from unlawful and unwarranted access and securing your data.

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