Internet of Everything (IoE): Here’s what Cisco Security Chief Thinks about Security of Consumer Technology

January 20, 2017 0 comments

The following opinion has been contributed by Mr. Pravin Srinivasan (LinkedIn), Lead, Security Sales, Cisco India & SAARC.

Any discussion on technology today is dominated by one topic – the Internet of Everything or the web of connected smart devices.  Cisco predicts that about 50 billion devices will be interconnected by 2020. The potential offered by such level of integration is tremendous. The impact it will make on day to day life of private citizens is immeasurable.  Considering this, securing the IoE is top most priority before the information technology world at the moment.  In a vast, discontinuous and porous space where everyone is as much an insider as an outsider, the first security risk emerges – hacking. Identity theft and cyber threats closely follow. IoT depends on cloud computing, smart devices with in-built sensors and the huge number of applications that support them. Two additional risks jump out here. One, the inadequacy of integrated environments that is required to support such connected technology. The other is that cloud security needs continuous advancement to keep in tune with hacking technology.

The good news here is that organizations and governments across the world are doing everything in their power to make the IoE secure. It is up to us to make sure we focus on protecting data and accessibility for systems and services that are inextricably linked with individual or national confidentiality, privacy and safety. IoE professionals are working hard at securing cloud infrastructure and connections, implementing multiple levels of security measure on the devices itself and defining user and access levels for IoT systems.

While the initial generations of IoE devices did not come with advanced encryption, the devices being designed today come with in-built encryption capabilities and the technology is improving as we speak. To harness the digitization it is imperative that security of the network is given paramount importance. The embedded network security solutions would extend the security capabilities of the network. Transforming the networks as a sensor can deliver deep visibility into the network traffic flow patterns and can identify anomalous behaviour and threats. With Network as an enforcer it is possible to dynamically enforce the security policies which minimize the threat of an attack.  In addition, it is also crucial to put in place certain levels of access so as to streamline the flow of information and ability to enter a system.

At the individual level, it is critical that we upgrade outdated software and replace outdated devices with more recent releases. While code level encryption might be a tall order for an individual at home, it is not very difficult to activate and deploy the security and privacy measures that are inbuilt on most modern devices ranging from smartphones to security systems. This makes it easy to disconnect a device in case of loss or theft, thereby ensuring that the system remains safe. Simple measures like dual-level authentication, not sharing passwords online or on non-secure connections, keeping track of the spread of one’s digital footprint can help keep personal data confidential.

That the world is moving to greater levels of interconnectedness is a fact. The Internet of Everything is here, it is here to stay and it has the potential to become all pervasive.  The question before us is not really whether we should adopt this connected lifestyle but how to make it work best for us. Security, privacy, confidentiality and safety rank foremost in any discussion regarding IoE today.  With a concerted effort on all fronts, we can steer humanity into an era where we can usher in great positive strides in development and prosperity by effective use of technology.

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