Apr 7, 2011

Security Considerations in an Embedded World


Winter 2011 has been brutal, everywhere from Atlanta to Maine and beyond. Thankfully, due to IP-enabled devices such as smartphones, wireless routers and printers, we haven’t all had to dig our way out of the snow banks to get work done. Embedded machines that automate our lives have made it possible to work from home – and anywhere else – while taking breaks to shovel our driveways and build the occasional snow fort.

There’s no denying that the functionality these devices provide has enhanced our productivity and our quality of life, yet there are underlying security threats that require vigilance. Once under the radar, we are seeing more threats and attacks from hackers on devices we use in our homes, such as printers or iPods shipped directly from the manufacturer with viruses preloaded. And, outside the home, ATM machines and network control systems – all business-critical devices – are prone to attacks from hackers, mostly because their very nature as embedded devices requires little or no IT administration or attention.

According to 2010 CyberSecurity Watch Survey, sponsored by CSO Magazine, the U.S. Secret Service, CERT, and Deloitte, the mean monetary value of losses due to cyber-crime was $394,700 among organizations that experienced a security event. This figure accounts for all types of security incidents, including both insiders and outsiders. But what is especially concerning is that 67% of respondents stated that insider breaches are more costly than outsider breaches.

So, with the proliferation of devices coming onto the network and more and more applications and functions that can be conducted from a smartphone or wireless hotspots, no managed security services threats to mitigate the disgruntled employee from stealing data or causing a DoS requires a strategy that can deliver security and compliance 24/7, no matter where on the network these devices might sit. As a result of this shift, we’re seeing more of our customers move toward a holistic approach to security, and oftentimes one that incorporates managed security services – providing the peace of mind that allows employees to take full advantage of what today’s technologies offer, including the ability to work from home – and continue shoveling – during the next snow storm!

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