Industry Trends

Managing Challenges and Risks in Ubiquitous IT Systems

By Fortinet | May 18, 2016

Innovations in wireless and computing technology are driving the growth of connectivity between devices and appliances throughout the home, office, car, store, or practically any place that has a Wi-Fi connection. Known as ubiquitous computing, the reach of interconnected devices is widespread and ever expanding, providing opportunities for ground-breaking new services that improve safety, security, reliability, and convenience. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the growth of ubiquitous computing and network connections also creates new vulnerabilities in the IT systems that support these popular new uses. How can IT managers keep up? Here are some insights into managing and securing the growing fabric of ubiquitous computer connections.

Ubiquitous Growth Creates New Threats

Computer scientists and software engineers have different terms for the seemingly universal spread of interconnected devices, including pervasive computing and Internet of Things. No matter what you call it, its spread is truly pervasive, as the number of connected devices approaches ubiquitous levels. This is spurred by the growth of billions of new IP-enabled devices that are transmitting data back into the network. The number of user mobile devices are obviously part of this soaring growth, but it also includes a rising number of devices that aren’t user controlled. Systems that are bringing on new devices, but don’t have a scalable security network, could face significant vulnerabilities.

Vulnerabilities in Internet of Things Devices

Speakers, cameras, and security systems are some of the most common of devices in the Internet of Things, but they can include everything from light dimmers to door locks, health monitors and pet collars, even programmable toaster ovens. This wide range of devices, each with a unique purpose and data collection routine, can overwhelm an organisation’s IT security structure, especially if it's unprepared for growth.  While having an IP-enabled toaster may make it easier to prepare breakfast, it can also provide an entryway for malicious actors to steal passwords, financial data, health information, and other sensitive materials. Medical and wearable devices pose a particularly unique threat, as their data isn’t just sensitive, but can give hackers insightful clues into other vulnerabilities in the network, reports TechCrunch.

New Targets for Cyber Criminals

Ubiquitous networks have become an increasingly attractive target for hackers, the Kaspersky Blog notes, especially those home users and small businesses that interconnect devices without much thought to security. This can result in vulnerabilities up and down the network. In many cases, ubiquitous networks are built upon the proliferation of Wi-Fi and other mobile connections, which often prove to be some of the biggest weak points in the network security architecture. Setting up security for ubiquitous networks isn’t just about developing new technology, but rather, finding new ways to implement security procedures and processes, which requires knowledge and experience.

A Comprehensive Security Fabric

“Pervasive digitisation continues to redefine business, while technology trends like IoT and cloud computing are blurring the edges of the network today,” said Fortinet CEO Ken Xie. “Unfortunately, many enterprises continue to rely on security strategies developed decades ago that can no longer support the ever-increasing speed of business.” Fortinet has launched a comprehensive security fabric that is flexible enough to meet the changing demands of a ubiquitous network. It offers a wide range of security options, including state-of-the-art firewall projection that offers simplicity, and high-end performance that scales effortlessly to meet the needs created from growing mobile and cloud traffic. Enhanced, multi-faceted security from Fortinet also includes an Advanced Threat Protection framework that keeps networks secured with the latest defences against emerging vulnerabilities.

Meet Fortinet at AusCERT2016

At the AusCERT2016 conference, May 23-27 in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Fortinet will present advanced security solutions, including the new Fortinet Security Fabric and Advanced Threat Protection frameworks for IT security managers facing the challenges of ubiquitous networks. Fortinet’s solutions are targeted to meet the unique threats that face the Asia/Pacific region, while complying with Australian and regional regulations and standards. Find the Fortinet team at Booth 10 to learn more about the cutting-edge solutions that Fortinet’s advanced security systems have to offer your organization.