By Balaji Rajagopalan
If you are a movie buff, you would remember John Travolta’s Swordfish, which shows his intelligence and a master-plan to access information that is locked inside a complicated computer system that contains critical government secrets and heaps of money.
Fast forward to 2016, when a Malware installed on the Bangladesh’s central bank computer systems led to the theft of over $80 million. In simple words, ‘cybersecurity’ in movies or in real-life has always been a critical aspect that has the tendency to impact the business negatively which in turn can ruin it.
As technology becomes an integral part of our lives and interconnected devices become a reality of our times, we are entering a new phase of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) era. Technology is revolutionizing how products connect and communicate with each other and with humans. The ability to connect, communicate, and remotely manage multiple number of networked, smart devices via the internet is becoming pervasive.
With device proliferation and a hyper connected ecosystem, data deluge is a given. Therefore, with this huge opportunity, there arises an added risk of data theft, leakage, malware and much more. Every connected device is a potential entry point for malware or virus and could be alarmingly vulnerable to hackers, thereby triggering major security risks.Threats to information security, in particular, are appearing more frequently and are of greater magnitude than ever before. According to EY’s 19th Global Information Security Survey 2016-17, despite the increased investments, 75 per cent of the Indian respondents say that their cybersecurity function does not fully meet the organization’s needs.
As we become increasingly reliant on intelligent, interconnected devices, how do we protect the ecosystem from intrusion or interference that could compromise an organisation’s secure information? While the need for document security is widely acknowledged, many corporates are uninformed of a major threat – the networked hardcopy peripheral. From confidential employee records to undisclosed financial records, each time a document is copied, scanned or printed, an image is left behind and a digital copy is saved on the system’s hard drives.
In today’s connected ecosystem, data is a highly valuable commodity, and for companies dealing with confidential data and client information, even a minor infringement in security can cause irreparable damage to the organization in terms of wealth, privacy and reputation. A small breach in an unsecure connected printing device can lead to the breakdown of an entire system. Hence, it becomes extremely critical to maintain proper document management infrastructure to ensure data privacy and security.
In the wake of the recent printer hack incident, there is a need to look at the complete life cycle of security architecture from design through to implementing products and technologies of the end-point devices and maintaining that architecture over time. For optimum security, companies should look for solutions that have the capabilities of meeting corporate network requirements while simultaneously providing three strata of security at the device, server and network level.
End to end security and control of identified devices will be key components to ensure a seamless integration of such devices without the looming risk of data theft/leakage.This kind of security requires careful attention combined with intelligent and good security practices that integrate with the business model. At most times, there is an imperative need to outsource these services to a service provider that specializes in the domain and is capable of providing continuous monitoring and proactive security support for the print environments.
Those striving to ruin or steal your information are looking for the cracks in the device security and will exploit them to accomplish their purposes. We cannot stop these attempts from happening, but we can be prepared to face and resolve them. We can implement a system that better safeguards our most important information assets. There can be no alibi for failure: identify what is important and protect it.
The fact that the number and utility of connected devices will only grow indicates that the boundaries of the modern organization are being pushed to include hundreds or even thousands of endpoints having access to the most precious assets, such as intellectual property and other sensitive personal information. Security, in this dynamic environment cannot be a postscript. It must be built in at every level — hardware, software, and network infrastructure — to ensure end-to-end protection.
While IoT has the power to change our future forever, if we do not lay a secure and reliable foundation, it could also lead to catastrophic damages.
Balaji Rajagopalan, is the Executive Director- Technology, Channels & International Business at Xerox India.