Archive | January 22, 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.