Article

The Internet of Things (IoT) – cyber-attacks and data theft – apocalyptic or solved with the right solutions?

  • Connected dumb and smart devices falling victims in unsecure networks
  • M2M/IoT platform managed services serve up resilient and secure answers
  • Markets should no longer consider costs and challenges in deployment as barriers

With Hewlett-Packard (HP) reporting that up to 70% of devices developed for the Internet of Things (IoT) are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, the technology phenomenon that will impact on all of our lives, which will see some 26 billion installed units by 2020 according to Gartner, is under constant review in relation to data security. And this is further endorsed by Symantec’s recent commentary in relation to m-Health devices that were proven hackable by a simple $70 adapted hardware gadget. With the world rapidly heading towards a digitally beating pulse, the need to ‘lock down’ mission critical’ data across multiple applications has never been greater.

Matt McPherson, UK Sales Manager of Wireless Logic, a European leader in M2M/IoT platform managed services explains that solutions are out there – it’s simply a case of knowing what to do and where to go: “At Wireless Logic, we have a growing base in excess of 1.5 million connected devices, the vast majority of which are across cellular networks. More and more of these applications are choosing to ‘overlay’ virtual private networks (VPN’s) to give their own private pipe between device and their control point – and by doing this, creating an environment where data is far more secure.”

Organisations like Wireless Logic utilise their own Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to create virtual networks interconnected back into the mobile networks and their own fully redundant data centres. In the case of Wireless Logic, their IaaS known as ‘NetPro’ delivers sector-leading technology with virtually zero capex to implement and integrate into a client’s own network. Assigning fixed/static IP to each data SIM gives additional security ensuring seamless two-way communication between device and control. Matt McPherson continues: “Infrastructures such as NetPro are providing levels of security that organisations would normally expect from significant IT investments. A large percentage of our total subscription estate has now adopted the NetPro VPN.”

The challenges of establishing secure M2M device networks can also be time consuming. This is particularly so when encountering device estates that are connected across multiple mobile networks. The traditional model has been for organisations to put all of their ‘connectivity eggs’ in one basket. The expectation of multiple costly VPNs with numerous APNs has often led to compromised solutions, often dictated by cost and time implications on the operation. Once more M2M platform managed services providers such as Wireless Logic are thinking outside the box to unify connectivity by enabling users to select one or multiple Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and still work off one secure VPN. “M2M asset deployments should and must not be limited to a single MNO,” continues Wireless Logic’s Matt McPherson. “Platforms are now in place where asset portfolios can straddle several mobile networks with the customer controlling the entire deployment through one cloud-based window. Country and multiple-country M2M strategies must have the flexibility to select MNOs on their suitability – geo-optimised and with the best commercials. Add to this initiatives such as our ‘oneAPN’ which enables customers to assign the same Access Point Name (APN) regardless of MNO, we are streamlining the processes by which assets can be connected easily and securely, often in the field, without the need for multiple and complex provisioning protocol.”

Vulnerabilities within the Internet of Things and M2M world will continue to be raised as more and more devices are commissioned across a rapidly growing number of vertical markets. And whether the device is ‘dumb’ or ‘smart’, the drive to limit cyber attacks and hacking will see further widespread sector standards so that the corporate and consumer world don’t become victims of this new technology revolution.

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