Archive | January 2014

The Internet of Things (IOT) – “make it real or stop trying to make it at all”.

The current next big thing, the Internet of Things (IOT) or “Internet of Everything” could easily be relegated to the “hype” or more damningly the “spam” folder of your mental inbox.

It is currently one of the hot topics driving the dialogue of industry analysts & business thought leaders as they strive to unlock the potential of the abundance of digital sensors and IP connected devices now pervasive in the modern world. In enterprise “systems rich” organisations, it’s fairly straightforward to understand the importance of the IP connected elements that underpin both personal and professional activities. However, the Internet of Things ideology captivating the imagination of many embraces the access and use of data from the almost invisible sensor based digital community hidden in virtually every modern, electronic device. They exist in the most diverse places including household devices (alarms, TVs), environmental (weather, planet), government (traffic signals), retail (rfid tags) and even the common SmartPhone. But without rambling “Star Trek” style perspectives, it has proved challenging to showcase IOT use cases with real substance which makes the following example from the non IT community looks very exciting.

A major well known luxury carmaker is leveraging the Internet of Things (IOT) ideology via a real world implementation within forthcoming vehicles. By using on-board wireless and GPS technology, exchanging data in real time with traffic and environmental sensors, cars with traffic light assistance will help the driver to avoid stopping at red lights (thus speeding the journey, increasing safety, reducing fuel, and vehicle wear) by adapting the vehicle speed in relation to real time traffic flows.

The well known car makers approach to leveraging the IOT, is a real world example of the power of connected devices, the Internet of Things (IOT) and a valid use case that delivers commercial and human benefits. For the “Internet of Things” to make sense to us all, emerging examples must deliver personal benefits to drive the end user/customer to seek more and greater IOT benefits in the future (thus making it commercially attractive). Following that track, the Internet of Things will evolve from an urban IT myth to deliver real world human impacting benefits.

Maybe this next big thing could actually be the biggest next thing of all time

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter@ Colinwccuk

The Threat Landscape Has Changed Once Again…

The front page of Today’s Metro highlighted something that the security industry has been calling out for a while – what was once complicated technology is now commonplace in our homes – in our computers, tablets, routers, digital televisions and even domestic appliances such as smart fridges and unfortunately much of it is vulnerable to compromise.

Researchers at Proofpoint and Lancope have identified compromised household appliances being used to send Spam.  Should we be worried?  Personally I think we should heed this warning – many of these devices are running old operating systems that are open to compromise; something driven by the ongoing drive for value and cost effective computing.  This is in all likelihood the tip of the iceberg – Manufacturers need to accept responsibility and more importantly start to develop self healing operating systems that update on demand from trusted sources – let’s hope the industry takes heed and consumers accept what will be more expensive systems in the future.  

In a similar vein for a while now I’ve been concerned about the amount of power in our mobile devices.  Whilst the UK bucks the trend with a penchant for the seemingly secure Apple operating system, much of Europe favours the Android operating system which has been targeted by criminals for some time.  Couple this to the uncapped “all you can eat” internet packages and we have an attack vector much larger than many botnets – I only hope that the mobile network operators are well prepared.  

It’s a moot point when you consider that increasingly users trust their phones more than their computers that we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where those devices we trust the most potentially present the biggest threat to our security.  This is even more prevalent when we consider the amount of data now traversing business devices – the endpoint is mobilising and organisations are increasingly looking to securely enable and empower employees.  In this rapidly changing landscape it’s critical that the right security strategy is deployed. 

Computacenter delivers differentiated security solutions – from email and web gateway security solutions to advanced persistent threat mitigation and from desktop to datacenter and network to cloud we have end to end solutions that help maintain the security posture of your organisation.

It’s the New Year – Out with the Old McAfee and in with the New Intel Security?

Intel’s announcement last week that the McAfee name was being retired was greeted with varied responses but McAfee is and always was a serious security vendor and the always connected strategy is one that plays well in the current threat landscape.  At Computacenter we view security across Workplace and Datacenter, network and cloud and as such Intel Security is one of the few vendors that can stake a claim right the way across the organisation.  Visibility across this piece with effective correlation of security events alongside the Global Threat Intelligence platform makes Intel Security a great solution if visibility were key.

Vendors get acquired and product names change so what’s different about Intel’s rebranding of McAfee?  Well this marks the completion of the integration of Intel and Mcafee’s security organisations and brings two logos that are synominous with computing and security together.  In the same conference Intel Security Group announced their intention to make mobile security free later this year.  Some components of mobile versions of McAfee software will be free to use on iOS and Android devices, while Intel will introduce Intel Device Protection technology this year to improve enterprise security of all Intel-based Android mobile decisions.  This move I have to applaud as malware on the Android platform has been an issue for some time now and it’s long been my assertion that with the increased processing power and unlimited bandwidth of many phone contracts lays open the potential abuse of these platforms for nefarious means.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt aside Intel have the potential to dramatically change the threat landscape and mitigation of the majority of malware on mobile devices is to be applauded – in the commoditised world of mobile phones consumers shouldn’t have to worry about malware stealing information from devices that are increasingly more trusted than online banking apps in a standard browser.  It does however beg the question why Windows Mobile 8 seems to be missing from the mix and maybe the answer lies in the integrated security of the platform – only time will tell whether this becomes the next target for criminals and state hactivists.

So what are the implications of a grown up Intel Security Proposition?  2013 was the year in which the market shifted from a prevention strategy to one of detection and mitigation – from “It’s not when you are breached but how soon you detect and mitigate a breach.”  From an organisation that drives the global computing evolution I’m expecting great things – imagine a safe internet where computing environments self heal and mitigate against a trusted baseline and where there is no scope for running malware to impact or exfiltrate information.  Let’s be honest the only thing that is probably preventing this is sheer computing power – A cohesive Intel Security Strategy promises great things and I look forward to what Intel Security has in store.