Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT

The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago. The market persevered, weathering the “end of perimeter security” claims and adapting to become more flexible and dynamic, reaching beyond traditional PCs and servers to new mobile and external endpoints. Those network security vendors that adapted are now poised to take full advantage of the IoT and the billions of connected devices set to revolutionize the enterprise. 

Transformative Effect

Today the IoT is having a similar transformative effect on the enterprise considerably expanded the pool of connected devices that can now be found on a network, with the devices in play no longer limited to the PCs, servers, and smartphones with which IT staff are familiar. They now need to know about air-conditioning units and lighting sensors, fitness bands, and fire alarm panels. Despite the growing proliferation of IoT devices, most enterprises are still trying to discover these new devices. In fact, one of the most difficult issues enterprises now face is visibility; discovering new and unknown devices on their networks, and then establishing those devices’ identities in order to apply the appropriate authentication and access control mechanisms.

Raising Risk Profiles

Often, most traditional network security appliances are unable to identify new IoT device connections, and visibility into the enterprise networks is, therefore, significantly reduced. This becomes problematic, as unknown devices can easily become attack vectors and raise risk profiles.

hacks

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

To move forward, IT teams need to create new security policies suited to the plethora of IoT connected devices, and perhaps employ new tools to fit them into enterprise networks in a way that adheres to internal requirements. The Target breach is an excellent, if unfortunate, case study of what can happen when IoT endpoints are not properly controlled.

A number of companies are making headway in adapting traditional network security to the IoT, including Bastille, ForeScout, Cisco, Fortinet, F5 among many others.

The New and The Unknown

Identification and localization of specific nodes will become a fundamental issue with the billions of IoT devices envisioned to appear in the near future. Security vendors that are able to help enterprises overcome the obstacle of discovering new and unknown devices on their networks will also need to figure out how they can provide security features or, at the very least, integrate with those appliances that can.

cloud-security-attacks-vendors

Beyond that, authentication and access control will become critical. Certification can provide a level of authentication and access control for IoT nodes. Alternatively, authentication mechanisms for the perception and network layers can prevent impersonation attacks. A PKI can help to achieve strong two-way authentication. Access control technology can be correctly implemented simply so that certification technology is able to ensure identification. Various authentication protocols can be employed, such as hash-lock, hash-chain, distributed RFID inquiry—response authentication, LCAP, clap agreement, re-encryption mechanism, etc. The use of such protocols will depend, for example, on the suitability of the various RFID applications and the desired level of security.

At the network level, various mechanisms can be used, including end-to-end authentication, key negotiation, key management or even intrusion detection mechanisms. Various distribution protocols are enabled through key management that can be applied to the IoT, including simple key distribution, key pre-distribution agreement, dynamic key management protocol, and hierarchical key management protocol.

Sensor Networks

Intrusion detection and prevention is not widespread for sensor networks in IoT. In fact, due to the complexity of many of these networks and the relatively low computation resources available, traditional IDS/IPS systems are simply not effective in these scenarios. However, next-generation research presages just such technologies adapted for the IoT. Methods have been proposed to develop a system of intrusion detection according to the past access frequency of a Thing’s label or for various time-based models (PDR, P2DR, P2DR2, etc.). Another novel approach seeks to simulate real-time defense of IoT environments by studying artificial immune system concepts that imitates the mechanisms of a biological immune system.

Security and safety in the IoT essentially boils down to establishing trust: in the integrity of the applications, in the security of the networks, in the confidentiality of the data, and in the safety of the devices. The IoT is a complex space, and any tool that can simplify management and control of IoT devices will be highly valuable.

By Michela Menting

Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Cost with Managed Printing Services

Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Cost with Managed Printing Services

Managed Printing Services

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of HP MPS

Today’s business leaders recognize the value of shared services, significantly providing a wide range of enterprises with the sophisticated tools they need to compete with big business, while additionally driving costs down. But an area often overlooked in our tech-savvy world is the fundamental print service; a discreet amenity in any organization, but nonetheless essential to its operation. However, the management of traditional print services in an organization is a drain on IT teams, expending skills and time that should be providing more value elsewhere.

Managed Print Services

printing

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Printing can be a distracting burden in any organization, and with IT staff already struggling to control many other evolving technologies, there’s little time left for the advancement and security of printing technology. Enter the innovative Managed Print Services (MPS), actively managing a business’s printers for increased productivity and reduced costs. A leader in the field, HP indicates that office printing costs can be reduced by up to 30% when their products and services are appropriately implemented, with processes improved and efficiencies increased through targeted print strategy. Effective MPS also addresses the critical issue of security, much acknowledged when data is in its virtual form, but overlooked when in its physical printed output where unauthorized access can result in leaked confidential information.

MPS, when executed correctly, provides new and reliable printers which help increase productivity, and security monitoring and management solutions to help identify vulnerabilities. HP asserts that organizations are able to establish unified, policy-based approaches to protecting data, strengthening compliance, and reducing risk; MPS connects the ‘print function’ with a digital approach to workflows and processes for better business control.

MPS Advantages from HP

  • Cost Savings

Reducing the use of consumables with strategies such as default mono printing and duplex printing, MPS cuts out wastage and improves the bottom line. A global market leader and visionary for MPS, HP engages with organizations of any size to increase operational efficiencies and security through a mix of fleet devices, both HP and non-HP.

  • Workplace Efficiency

Not only freeing up valuable IT staff, HP’s MPS means the management and deployment of devices and supplies from multiple vendors in a convenient and practical fashion. MPS also results in greater employee productivity through reduced device downtime.

  • Security

Indicating a greater focus than competitors when helping customers optimize document workflows and business processes with an industry-specific focus, HP provides comprehensive security services which include planning workshops, HP Imaging and Printing Security Centre, and the practical Security Advisory Services.

Will Your Business Benefit?

business-growth

The advantages are clear, but every business is unique, and there really is no one-fits-all solution. To this end, HP has developed the Managed Print Analysis (MPA) tool which lets organizations assess the efficiency of their printing environment. The MPA tool takes a snapshot of the printing environment through a series of questions and provides an instant, customized report that pinpoints inefficiencies in the office printing network and points to tangible solutions HP MPS would provide. With their flexible and scalable solution, the HP MPS advantage is a strategic and consultative approach that benefits organizations of any size in every industry.

Visit Sponsors Site

By Jennifer Klostermann

Big Data Predictions: Who Will Win The UEFA Euro 16?

Big Data Predictions: Who Will Win The UEFA Euro 16?

UEFA Euro 16

Iceland beating England on Monday 27 June 2016 and causing them drop from UEFA Euro 16 was a surprising result. This is even more unexpected in light of Microsoft Bing’s predictions for how the championship would play out.

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, uses a complicated algorithm that draws from social media, surges in searches on its platform and team performances in the past to make predictions about the winners of certain future competitions, tournaments or championships. At first this seems completely ridiculous – every fan posting on social media or searching for their team will “predict” (read: want) their team winning. How can this predict who the actual winner will be?

UEFA Euro 16

(Image Source: IDN / Shutterstock)

The thing is, Bing has been impressively accurate in the past, correctly predicting the outcome of the FIFA World Cup, Cricket World Cup, Oscars and even the Scottish referendum. Of course when it comes to predictions of reality shows such as The Voice, predictions are easier to make as the winner is chosen by way of popular vote.

Coming to the Euro 16, Bing predicted how the entire championship would unfold. It was predicted that England would win over Portugal and Iceland would win over Russia in the playoff rounds. Iceland would not make it past the quarterfinals whereas England was expected to playoff (and lose) against Spain in the semi finals. Ultimately, Germany is (at the time of writing this article) expected to win over Spain in the final.

Bing is not the only search engine making such predictions. Yahoo was also tasked with predicting the winner of Euro 16, drawing from Yahoo Sport and the multitude of activity on social media site Tumblr. That England would lose to Spain in the semi finals was also predicted.

So, although both predictions shattered any optimism of England making it to the final and potentially winning this year, they failed to account for a situation in which Iceland knocked England out of the tournament. But considering how the algorithm works, that this wasn’t predicted should itself not be surprising – Bing and other online predictive algorithms can only take what is available from social media, searches and team history and formulate its own predictions. One wonders then how different these predictions are to our own human predictions, save for those exceptions where, let’s say, Iceland beats England.

By Jason de Klerk

What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Look To The Cloud

What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Look To The Cloud

Saferide App

Petty officer Michael Daigle of the US Navy has rolled out an app to curb drunken driving in the Navy ranks. His Saferide ride-sharing service runs on Voxox’s Cloud Phone service which costs just $15 a month and is popular among US Service members abroad, where mobile phones are not permitted for use by active duty sailors.

The app is especially useful for sailors stationed abroad in countries like South Korea and Japan where US Navy presence is strong. Drunken driving in the Navy has traditionally been a problem and often results in sailors being dismissed from the service.

We end up losing a lot of sailors,” said Daigle.

japan-drinking-app

Just this month, a US sailor and civilian worker were arrested on base in Okinawa, Japan following a crash. This comes amid tensions with Japanese officials over a former marine raping and killing an Okinawan woman. The problem became so pervasive that U.S. Naval Forces banned off base drinking at Okinawa on June 6th, but the ban was lifted on Tuesday noting “the performance of sailors across Japan has been outstanding.” Daigle claims there have been five or six instances and arrests at his base alone over the last year, but since the introduction of Saferide: none.

Daigle’s uses the app tap into the age-old camaraderie and support between service members. The app works like a hotline, and a single call, placed via WiFi, connects an intoxicated sailor to sober colleagues who have volunteered to be on “standby”. The system can connect with up to ten sober drivers with just one call. Daigle originally experimented with the service connecting to outside taxi services, but he found it being abused for airport rides and other reasons not congruent with his vision of getting service members home safe after a night on the town.

Ron Kinkade, vice president of marketing and strategy at Voxox said Daigle was not a typical customer, as he usually deals with small businesses, online sellers, and consultants looking to connect employees remotely.

The Navy has discussed it on a higher level about potentially in the long run considering implementing it Navy-wide, based on its success,” he said.

By Thomas Dougherty

Red Hat Offers Container Native Persistent Storage for Linux Containers

Red Hat Offers Container Native Persistent Storage for Linux Containers

Red Hat Offers Container Storage

Latest Red Hat Gluster Storage release enables greater agility and efficiency for OpenShift developers deploying application containers in production

SAN FRANCISCO – RED HAT SUMMIT – June 28, 2016 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced new storage innovations designed to enable developers to more easily provision and manage enterprise-grade persistent storage for stateful applications running in Linux containers. Today’s announcement represents the next step in Red Hat’s efforts to transform how enterprise applications are built, deployed and managed with containers for greater business agility.

The container-native storage capability, available this summer, is integrated with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (formerly OpenShift Enterprise) to deploy applications and storage in a converged manner where storage is served from containers. This can eliminate the need to have an independent storage cluster, enabling customers to achieve greater efficiency, cost savings, and storage for production-ready container environments.

This functionality enables a streamlined end-to-end experience for enterprises using container infrastructure and application development technologies from Red Hat. The integration of Red Hat Gluster Storage with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform offers customers a single point of support for containers, helping to address a key pain point for enterprises in this emerging ecosystem.

Traditionally, applications and storage have been managed through different processes and by separate teams. However, this approach can be inefficient and cumbersome. Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.1.3 is designed to address that challenge, enabling developers to control both storage and application containers using a single control plane with Kubernetes in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. This innovation helps Red Hat strengthen the technology stack for containers, enabling greater DevOps integration and automation, from development environments to on-premise and cloud production environments.

Red Hat Gluster 3.1.3 also offers other performance and stability improvements, including faster self-healing and high performance software-defined storage fabric for virtual machines.

Webcast

Paul Cormier, president, Products and Technologies, Red Hat, will host a webcast live from Red Hat Summit to discuss today’s announcement at 11:45 a.m. PT on June 28, 2016. Following remarks, press and analysts are invited to participate in a question and answer session.

To join the webcast or view the replay after the event, visit. 

Supporting Quotes

Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager, Storage, Red Hat

“The latest Red Hat Gluster Storage release is designed to meet the needs of organizations that are becoming increasingly dependent on microservices and containers. Traditional, monolithic storage appliances are not well-suited to deliver flexible and cost-effective storage to stateful applications deployed in Linux containers. Today’s announcement helps to provide those benefits and establish Red Hat’s open source platform as a de facto standard for building and managing containerized storage and applications.”

Scott Sinclair, Senior Analyst, Storage, ESG

One of the key challenges facing customers looking to transition applications from virtual machines to containers is the lack of storage that endures beyond the life of individual containers. Containers are designed to be transient and mobile. The underlying storage platform should support those features. Any integration of storage into the container host and application development platform can go a long way to help to alleviate resistance in container adoption.”

About Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to provide reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As a connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT. Learn more at http://www.redhat.com.

8 Cloud Characteristics Every ERP System Needs

8 Cloud Characteristics Every ERP System Needs

Characteristics Every ERP System Needs

Cloud-based ERP systems offer many benefits to a growing organization. And those benefits are catching on in a big way in recent years. In fact, according to the RightScale State of the Cloud 2016 Survey, which has collected the responses of 1,060 IT professionals, 95% of respondents are using a cloud computing solution. By selecting a cloud-based ERP system that unifies the entire company, a business can defer the burden of managing their own infrastructure. This can free up IT staff, lower overhead, offer financial and time savings, and more.

cloud-computing-trends-2016

Cloud-based ERP systems provide employees with access to critical business data regardless of location or device. This means that employees, customers, and vendors can securely access data and collaborate in real time. With an entire company standardized on one system and looking at the most up-to-date documents and data, what’s not to love? Let’s take a look at eight characteristics to search for when seeking out the perfect cloud-based ERP provider for your business.

File Versioning

If you make frequent changes to files, or you have several individuals accessing the same document, file versioning is a necessity. File versioning maintains the history and integrity of important company files, so you never lose your work. It prevents individuals from overwriting old files by automatically saving edits as a new version, and preserving the old copy for review.

It’s important to ask your ERP cloud provider how many versions the system will keep, how long the system will keep them, and where older versions are sequestered once they are deleted.

Automatic Backup

With automatic backup, an ERP system can help companies ensure that all of their data and documents are up-to-date and safe from tragedy. A cloud backup system is designed to protect against data loss and reduce the time it takes to restore data. This means minimal downtime and minimal risk to business productivity and profit. In the event that disaster strikes your physical business, you can rest assured that your data is safe and sound.

Sharing and Collaboration Tools

If you run a business in which employees are team-oriented, often share documents and data, or frequently share documents with individuals outside of the company, then these tools are critical to ensuring a seamless document sharing process with a variety of viewing and editing options. Sharing and collaboration tools should include password protection and sharing options that can customize the level of security. This can keep documents available to individuals on a need-to-know basis, and allow you to set security on the document level, sub-folder level, parent folder level, and so on. This can keep your confidential documents away from prying eyes yet still accessible to those who need to see them.

Automatic Syncing

If you have employees who work off-site or are often traveling, then automatic syncing can prevent multiple versions of documents from building up. If your employees find themselves without time to manually sync document edits, then automatic syncing can help sync files immediately and offer every individual within the company the opportunity to see the latest version of a document in real-time, without having to rely on others to ensure their local copy has been uploaded for access.

Cloud-Based Viewing and Editing Options

One of the major benefits of a cloud-based ERP is its accessibility. If you have segments of your business that are off-site, or employees who travel or work remote, cloud-based viewing and editing provides your employees the ultimate flexibility with access to documents anytime, anywhere, and on any device where an internet connection is available. With the support of automated syncing, employees can confidently open documents and make quick edits. An ERP system without this feature can cause the additional hassles of having to download documents, edit them locally, and remember to manually re-upload them for company access.

Security and File Encryption

Your cloud-based ERP system should come with the latest and greatest in electronic and physical security layers. It should encrypt your document data at least once before it leaves your device. You should also be able to choose your own encryption key to assure exceptional security on the most confidential company documents. And, it should include the ability to set different levels of access for different employees.

Scalability and Customizable Storage Capacity

One of the greatest benefits of a cloud-based ERP is the exceptional ability to scale your business on-the-fly. Whether you are responding to seasonality, business growth, or global expansion, the ability to easily scale can keep your business running at top speed. Your system expansion should be as simple as subscribing to additional user accounts.

Every business is different. And one comes with its own unique storage capacity needs and decisions on how much of their business they feel they can to move to the cloud. Customizable storage capacity allows business owners the opportunity to choose to increase the percentage of their business they move into the cloud at a later date. Look for a cloud-based ERP provider that offers storage at a scalable size and honest price. It’s also important to look at how that price will grow as your business needs grow. In some cases, an unlimited data storage package is the most cost-effective.

Technical Support

When your business is in the cloud, you need to know that you can access it reliably. Your cloud-based ERP solution should not only manage the infrastructure and keep it running 24/7, they should also be available around the clock with friendly and accessible support technicians. This ensures that both you and your employees can access important business data and documents at all times, and any ERP application issues can be dealt with swiftly.

A cloud-based ERP system provides a great many benefits to today’s active, mobile, globalizing, and growing businesses. When searching to connect and standardize your business using a cloud-based ERP, search for one that offers stellar technical support, easy and cost-effective scalability, customizable storage capacity, state-of-the-art security, document viewing, editing, syncing, versioning capabilities, and innovative sharing and collaboration tools.

By Aaron Continelli

Controversial Chinese Cybersecurity Law Under Review Again

Controversial Chinese Cybersecurity Law Under Review Again

Cybersecurity Law

BEIJING. The National People’s Congress, the equivalence of the Chinese Parliament, moved forward in drafting a second version of a controversial cybersecurity law first introduced almost a year ago. This means the law is thought to be closer to passing and will bring greater censorship for both foreign and domestic citizens and businesses.

In China, popular websites like Facebook and Google are blocked, and all web traffic is openly monitored and censored by the government. The latest draft of the law aims to require network operators, foreign and domestic, to comply with the “social morals” of China and accept the supervision of government censors. According to Xinhua, China’s state-operated news agency, the law requires all Chinese citizens’ data to be stored in China along with “important business data”. Countries wishing to store this data outside of China would need to submit to a security evaluation from the Chinese government.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Critics of the law, mostly foreign governments, multinational corporations, and human rights activists, say a broad interpretation of it could give Beijing the power to do whatever they want. It is also thought to create a competitive disadvantage for foreign firms attempting to do business in China, especially those from the United States and European Union.

Chinese lawmakers often review and revise several drafts of legislation before finally enacting its contents. The original draft introduced nearly a year ago was said to protect Chinese citizens from hackers and data resellers in addition to block the dissemination of private information records, which are illegal in China. The moving forward with a second draft increases the likelihood of these regulations becoming a reality.

An example of Chinese oversight on these matters came just last month when Chinese officials set limits on the volume of advertising from healthcare groups featured on the country’s largest search engine, Baidu Inc. The backlash comes after a student died from participating in an experimental cancer treatment program he discovered online. The second draft of the law is still in construction, and it is unclear when it will be finalized.

What is interesting about this law is that Chinese officials already have control of Chinese citizens’ data and internet use through overarching personal property laws and strict human rights allowances. The average Chinese citizen may not see a change from this law being enacted, but it will mean major changes for foreign businesses hungry to tap into a Chinese market with over a billion consumers.

By Thomas Dougherty

Data Protection and Session Fixation Attacks

Data Protection and Session Fixation Attacks

Keeping the man out of the middle: preventing session fixation attacks

In a nutshell, session fixation is a type of man in the middle attack where an attacker is able to pretend to be a victim using a session variable. For instance, let’s say you have an application that uses sessions to validate the user. You retrieve a session variable from the URL’s query string. You then validate the session string and authenticate the user without requiring a username and password.

A hacker can log in to your website and obtain his own session. With that session in hand, he then sends a phishing email to a victim and tricks him into clicking a URL with the hacker’s session variable. Your application sees the session variable, verifies that it’s an active session, and then automatically logs in the user. This then allows the attacker to see the victim’s information as they work with the shared session.

Fixation

A session fixation attack isn’t like a standard phishing ruse where users are sent to a bogus website with red flags all over the place. The user clicks a link in a phishing email that leads them to the official website. The process looks completely legitimate to the user.

The consequences of an attack like this are stark for both the user and the organization. Consider your internal corporate application. What happens if the attacker is able to gain access to the internal application’s data using a session fixation hack? This type of data breach is completely possible if you don’t know how to stop the attack from happening.

A few different types of fixations

The above section explains how a session fixation works, but according to application security software provider Checkmarx, there are actually three different kinds of session fixation attacks.

Session token in the URL argument: Just as in the example above, the attacker sends the session in the URL’s query string. The application reads the session and uses it to validate the user.

Session token in a hidden form field: Some applications store a session in a hidden form variable. The attacker can create his own form and send it to the victim in a phishing email. The attacker can then trick the application using his own custom form with the malicious session.

Session ID in a cookie: This type of session fixation attack can occur if the application retrieves the session from a cookie. The attacker mixes client side scripting attacks or cross-site scripting to execute this attack. The application retrieves the cookie from the victim’s PC and uses it to authenticate the user.

Timeouts aren’t just for toddlers

Many developers design applications to recognize a session and use it to automatically authorize a user. It’s been done this way for years, but with the prevalence of data breaches developers just can’t trust input from a querystring, cookie or even a hidden form variable anymore. All of these can be manipulated from the user’s PC or an attacker.

There are several ways a developer can either prevent session fixation attacks or minimize the possibility of an attacker’s success. The first way is to avoid authenticating a user from a simple session ID in the query string, cookie or hidden form variable.

After disabling this type of programming, session variables should be forced to timeout after a while. When a session variable times out, it’s no longer valid. Timeouts can be set on your server for varying intervals. The shorter the time frame, the less time the attacker has to perform the attack. If the attacker can’t get the user to click a phishing link fast enough, the attack will fail.

Session fixation attacks are a favorite for attackers, especially hackers targeting corporate applications to obtain customer data. Use the best practices for session IDs to protect your critical data.

By  Brent Anderson

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The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups Cloud platforms have become a necessary part of modern business with the benefits far outweighing the risks. However, the risks are real and account for billions of dollars in losses across the globe per year. If you’ve been hacked, you’re not alone. Here are some other companies in the past…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…