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Debunking the myth that IoT is only a consumer risk

When people think about the internet of things, they often think about the common “things” they use in their day-to-day lives such as laptops, smartphones and fitness trackers. These things can also include devices that are part of the connected home — for example, a smart thermostat, baby monitor or even a connected egg tray (OK, maybe that last one is less common). However, what most don’t realize is the prevalence of IoT in the enterprise — and, in tandem, the risks it presents.

The internet of things brings enterprise organizations strategic economic value and innovation. Yet as we’ve recently seen with the Mirai IoT botnet that “took down” many businesses, enterprise IoT is becoming a popular doorway for hacking. For example, a cybercriminal could manipulate a smart camera by hijacking the device’s credentials to obtain full privilege into the device. From there, they can use the device as a proxy to connect to the network and cause greater harm.

More things, more enterprise risk

Daily, new smart devices are unknowingly being connected to corporate networks with little regard to their level of risk. Although these IoT devices are intended to improve productivity, security considerations are usually an afterthought.

According to industry analysts, by 2020, there will be over 20 billion devices connected to enterprise networks. Each device has the potential to serve as an enterprise entry point. That’s 20 billion open doors for a hacker to perform any number of nefarious acts. Given these devices are ubiquitous, the inability to run sophisticated security software and, of course, network access through the connected devices makes them a perfect target for hackers who want an easy entry point into a company’s systems.

What’s more, when employees connect a device to their enterprise network, they are unknowingly surrendering private data to these devices. If a hacker were to find just one device that was not properly secured on the network, injecting a few lines of malicious code could grant access to the data on that particular device as well as all data stored on the network.

What devices make your network vulnerable?

The short answer: Everything. Your trusted employee badge scanner, conference room scheduling system, connected printers, smart lighting, security cameras, smart TVs, voice over IP, video teleconferencing system, Wi-Fi and even big power generators. Anything that is connected to your network is vulnerable.

Attackers are naturally going to target the weakest link in a network, which is increasingly IoT. On average, we find at least four connected devices for every enterprise employee. And, we expect that number to double over the next three to four years. That equates to an incredible number of vulnerable entry points for a hacker to gain network access to steal and expose private data.

How to reduce your IoT risk

Security begins with knowing what’s on your network. In the age of IoT, visibility and control of devices is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. Businesses need a technology that can discover network infrastructure, physical and virtual systems, managed and unmanaged endpoints as well as IoT and rogue devices.

Once businesses have full visibility of what’s on their network, the next step is to control the devices. A viable security product must provide continuous monitoring, be able to immediately determine device behavior, automatically set policies, and understand the context of the network environment and device posture. What’s equally as important is a scalable technology that can work across heterogeneous platforms (on-premises, cloud, data center, etc.) without compromising security as the number of connected devices continues to grow. Only then can an organization achieve a truly comprehensive security stance and keep stealthy hackers at bay.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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Which of the following alternatives to Microsoft Office are you using or considering?
Im using the last version of LibreOffice 3.5.5.
The best free office suite that replcae OpenOffice.
I find LibreOffice to be more compelling
We use volume licensing and are very happy with the full functionality that Office gives us. plus it is an international industry standard so it is compatible no matter where we do business.
We looked at Libre Office for a 50 person law firm. The biggest problem was that there were some documents that did not convert properly and had to be cleaned up. The clean up could be done but they needed to share documents. So they did not want problems for the people they share with. Good info about the docx issues, we did not get that far.
Will stick with office otherwise you lose all the integration aspects within Office as well as with Lync, Exchange, SharePoint and 3rd Party applications.
Will continue using office. With free products, where do you go for support.

It always sucks
Ill stick with MS Office for our business as most staff are familiar with it and some of our apps will not work with the alternatives like Open Office. I also have security concerns with sensitive docs and content in the Google cloud.
We are sick of the spurious upgrades designed only to line Microsoft's pockets. We moved to Linux on our servers to get away from this and now we are looking to move away from Office. The recent 30% price hikes have increased desire to move.
I am using OOO from Sun.
But it is not under control of the company.
Which is your recommendation after Sun was acquired by Oracle?
Use libre office and word occasionally when at work
I will always prefer the Open Office to microsoft office anytime..microsoft office is expensive and its Word is lousy
I am using OpenOffice on Linux plateform
I have used OpenOffice, and other free word processors such as Jarte.
I use Office on PCs and CloudOn on my iPad.
Works great for me. I always "save as" so I'm happy.
Libre Office
Libre Office, gives us everything we need.. No need for Outlook.. Evolution/Thunderbird for the email client
MS Office for work documents, other OO-versions for home and personal stuff