Tag Archives: data_center

IoT Devices Will Never Be Secure – Enter the Programmable Networks

Harvard Business Review just ran an interesting article on the information security aspects of Internet of Things (IoT). Based on the storyline, the smart city initiatives are doomed to fail unless the security of the IoT devices and the systems will be improved. While security of the digital society is obviously a key concern, I am not entirely convinced that relying on the security of individual devices and systems is the best course of action.

The biggest problem with IoT security is that most devices are going to be relatively simple and inexpensive connected things. The bandwidth consumption of these devices should be kept to the minimum to save bandwidth. Yet at the same time, security is supposed to be a continuous process. This involves a party that is responsible for keeping an eye on the various security vulnerabilities that emerge from time to time, and another one to make sure that suitable patches are being prepared and applied on timely basis.

While with smartphones, laptops, and servers, this work has commonly fallen under the responsibility of the device manufacturer, it is largely because they have been able to generate considerable service revenue from this work. Considering the much lower cost of IoT devices, it is likely that only a small percentage of IoT device users will be willing to pay a premium for such a service. Due to this dynamic, even the devices that leave the factory floor in pristine condition, face the risk of becoming compromised over time.

Therefore, it seems to me that looking at IoT device manufacturers as the likely saviours is wishful thinking at best. The business logic just is not there.

So where to look for answers?

When people think about Internet security, they often forget how the security is being taken care off in the physical world. Rather than trying to lock down and protect every single belonging in one’s household, we tend to rely on locked doors and alarm systems that protect the perimeters of our homes. The things we keep in our houses tend to be reasonably secure, so long as the doors are locked properly, and the windows are not left open.

In much the same way, the IoT devices should be placed within the boundaries of protected network environments. While every IoT device will never be secure, the associated risks are well contained so long as the perimeter of each machine network is secure. To provide an analogy, my keys are not secure if I leave them on the table at Starbucks — but if I place them on a desk at the safety of my home, the situation changes completely.

Over the last couple of years, the network industry has developed technologies such as Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) that allow new networks and security services to be deployed automatically. Although these technologies are not widely used for this purpose yet, they hold the key for securing smart cities as well as any other IoT use case the world holds in store for us.

That is why I believe that the future of IoT security lies in programmable networks and the service providers that operate them for us.

Written by Juha Holkkola, Co-Founder and Chief Technologist at FusionLayer Inc.

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More under: Access Providers, Cyberattack, Cybercrime, Data Center, Internet of Things, Malware, Security, Telecom

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The Economist: Data, the Oil of the Digital Era

In its latest print edition, The Economist calls the world’s most valuable resource to be no longer oil, but data. The article argues that today’s titans — Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft — are the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era and they seem unstoppable. “Internet companies’ control of data gives them enormous power. Old ways of thinking about competition, devised in the era of oil, look outdated in what has come to be called the ‘data economy’ … A new approach is needed. … Rebooting antitrust for the information age will not be easy. It will entail new risks: more data sharing, for instance, could threaten privacy. But if governments don’t want a data economy dominated by a few giants, they will need to act soon.”

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More under: Data Center, Policy & Regulation, Privacy

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Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Spend Grew 9.2% to $32.6 Billion in 2016, Reports IDC

Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Top Cloud Vendors 2016 Q4 vs 2015 Q4 – Source: Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, Q4 2016

Vendor revenue from sales of infrastructure products (server, storage, and Ethernet switch) for cloud … Continue reading

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U.S. Expresses Concerns Over China’s Internet Regulatory Regime, In New Report

The Trump administration has criticized China on a number of trade issues in its recent Foreign Trade Barriers report including cloud computing restrictions, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Domain Name Rules. Under the section titled, Barriers to Digital Trade, the report states: “China’s treatment of foreign companies seeking to participate in the development of cloud computing services, including computer data and storage services provided over the Internet, raises concerns.” Further excerpts:

Cloud Computing Restrictions: “China is seeking to similarly restrict the ability of foreign enterprises to offer cloud computing services into China on a cross-border basis. Late in 2016, China’s regulator issued a draft notice on regulating cloud computing, elements of which also appeared in a recently issued measure entitled ‘On Cleaning up and Regulating Internet Access Services Market’ that prohibits Chinese telecommunication operators from offering consumers leased lines or virtual private network connections reach to overseas data centers. The United States has raised this issue with China and continues to evaluate it in the context of China’s WTO GATS obligation to ensure access to and use of leased lines for cross-border data processing services. The United States will work to ensure that legitimate cross-border services can continue to be offered into China.”

Web Filtering and Blocking: China continues to engage in extensive blocking of legitimate websites, imposing significant costs on both suppliers and users of web-based services and products. According to the latest data, China currently blocks 11 of the top 25 global sites, and U.S. industry research has calculated that up to 3,000 sites in total are blocked, affecting billions of dollars in business, including communications, networking, news and other sites. While becoming more sophisticated over time, the technical means of blocking, dubbed the Great Firewall, still often appears to affect sites that may not be the intended target, but that may share the same Internet Protocol address.”

Domain Name Rules: “U.S. and other foreign stakeholders continue to express concern over rules proposed in 2016 to regulate Internet Domain Names, a critical input into many web-based services offered in China. While China clarified that initial fears that the rules sought to block access to any website not registered in China were based on a misreading of the intent of the proposed rules, concerns remain with respect to how China intends to implement requirements on registering and using domain names and other Internet resources. The United States will continue to closely monitor this rulemaking.”

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More under: Censorship, Cloud Computing, Data Center, Domain Names, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation

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Networks – The Next Challenge in Digital Transformation

As digital transformation has been picking up momentum, leading analysts such as 451 Research have suggested that hybrid multi-clouds and automated DevOps will become key constituents powering enterprises in the new era. At the heart of these enabling … Continue reading

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