Internet of Things, IoT, The Things Network, What is Internet? and Internet de las Cosas.

 

Internet of Things, IoT, The Things Network, What is Internet? and Internet de las Cosas.

By | Network Security

IoT Devices and Default PasswordWhat is Internet of Things (IoT)?

All these words mean the same thing. You are probably curious what they are and how they may affect you.  The Internet of Things (IoT), The Things Network, Internet de las Cosas (for those Spanish speakers) and What is Internet are commonly searched terms or phrases on Google from people who want to know what they are and the meaning of IoT. Your devices (surveillance cameras – CCTV, alarm systems, appliances that are IP-enabled, cars equipped with Internet, home apparatuses that aim to make your life easier by allowing you to remote control your home heater from an app on your cellular phone, for example; voice recognition devices such as Alexa, the Dash button on Amazon, and your mobile devices (iPads, iPhones, Androids, etc.) all basically have internet connectivity. How does the technology affect you? Remember, most manufacturers ship devices and appliances with default settings because they mass produce them with the same settings.

For example, device from manufacturer A may has the default password set to serial x. The systems are pre-programmed to generate serials numbers assigned to the device, and, accordingly, they ship the device with instruction stickers that say to use serial X as the password. This is fine and makes it simple for end users to access and get their systems up and working. However, this doesn’t secure the device from users outside your domain. It is not the job of manufacturers to help you secure the network. Otherwise, they would spend countless hours customizing these systems and would not be able to quickly ship them to fill demand.

If you want to avoid intruders, you need to secure your devices by configuring a firewall, only allowing certain protocols and ports needed to run the appliance. Depending on the device, you may want to segment the traffic, so they are completely segregated from the rest of your other networks, especially valuable for industrial businesses that have highly-sensitive data and traffic on their networks. If you have surveillance cameras running, they are likely completely isolated from the rest of the corporate network. Why? Because surveillance cameras are serving public users and are connected on the outside, even noticeable to public eyes. They are easy targets and attackers become curious to see if these cameras are hackable and may attempt to gain access. If the hackers are able to gain access to this part of the network, they will be able to gain access to any part of the network connected.

If you just bought any devices that is IP-enabled, and you’re able to access it from the Internet, make sure it is secure. Look for changes to the default username, password, or IP address and limit public access by using a firewall. In other words, make it completely isolated from any critical data on your network and/or at home.

The number of Internet of Things, IoT or Internet De las Cosas devices are increasing yearly. The number of connected devices surpasses billions and will reach around 29 billion by 2022. This is why internet providers are already deploying IPv6 on these devices.

Another important example, especially for healthcare providers and healthcare patients, is the fact that health information is now accessible from mobile apps and online. Regulations are in place such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that require data to be secure if any individual’s personal information is transmitted. One way for healthcare providers and businesses to insure such data is with Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE). You can read more here at: https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/security/medical-nac-white-paper.pdf.

If you have IoT devices on your network and are not sure if it is secure, at Accend Networks, we can provide a risk assessment by thoroughly scanning it. We will provide a detailed report from outside your network and let you know if vulnerabilities exist and the solutions to fix them. Having a third-party provider can help you look at things of which you are not yet aware. Even if you think you have secured your network, and if you organization is one that requires compliance by law, we have the tools to help you.

Below are a sample of items we can assist you identify on your network:

This is but one example. Contact us today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a free consultation.

Continue reading
  2 Hits
  0 Comments
2 Hits
0 Comments

Ethical Shopping


By | Network Security

Ethical Shopping

Ok, you’ve asked for it.  What is ethical shopping?  It can mean different things to different people, depending on their point of view.

In terms of shopping online or in an actual store, you want to make sure that the business you’re dealing with is ethical and not lying to the public in terms of prices, promotions, or other sales ticket items.  It can also mean that businesses might be inflating their books so that the company value looks much better than it is.  This can help more sales but the facts and figures aren’t correct.  You may see this in stocks prices where a company inflates its financial statements to attract more investors hoping to sell more equity shares.  A company like this is not being ethical, so they clearly are not a good business to work with.

Ethical shopping is involved when a buyer or shopper looks for businesses that have demonstrated social responsibility, ethical business practices, and sustainability.  They may only work with businesses and suppliers that promote and provide sustainable energy or offer energy-efficient products.  Their products may have ratings and labels such as Energy Saving Trust or Cisco EnergyWise devices.

Cisco EnergyWise, for example, helps reduce costs and increase operational efficiency while optimizing greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions and complying with government directives.

The products help to save power by decreasing consumption 50 percent, for example by switching off access points radios on a user-defined schedule using Adaptive Power Management for Cisco Arionet Access Points.  Another example might be to restrict power usage of unused or idle slots and implement more effective PoE monitoring and management with the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switches.  The energy bill you get at the end of the month will be less costly as a result because these devices do not have power when they are idle and not being used.

Other industries offer different alternatives for energy, such as First Solar or Solar City that specializes in solar energy and provides renewable energy from the sun.

All these types of ethical shopping behavior show that vigilant companies are acting in good faith and not concealing information to outsiders. Likewise, included are companies providing good products and services that help save on energy cost or offer a more natural form of byproduct.

Having a good ethical shopping mentality affects both the consumers and suppliers who are acting according to the best principles.  It takes both sides to achieve the same goal of having good business practices.  No one wants to do business with a deceptive party; an ethical person would rather do business with an organization that provides some value to its products and services.

If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned this article, free to contact us; we’ll be glad to address your questions.

Continue reading
  1 Hits
  0 Comments
1 Hits
0 Comments

Virtual CIO

Why every Small Business should use a Virtual Chief Information Officer.

We are almost two decades into the twenty-first century. A lot of things have changed in this time period. A look at the world ten years from now would reveal a lot of things. One of them is the important role computers have taken in every business.

Virtually all businesses today need to have an IT system in place to help in productivity and the search for profits. For a lot of small businesses, IT goes beyond having a desktop to run through all computer files used by the business. It encompasses things like network design, corporate network security, and network firewall.

In Fortune 500 companies and other large firms, there is usually a full IT department devoted to handling these tasks. But for a small business, all this usually falls to the desk of the CIO (Chief Information Officer). Even at that, only companies with deep pockets can afford a full time Chief Information Officer. This why there is the need for a virtual Chief Information Officer.

What is a virtual CIO?

A virtual CIO is a company that acts as chief information officer for other businesses. The virtual CIO does all the IT-related grunt work that normally falls to the desk of an in-house CIO. These include things like network administration, network design, network support, network firewall, and all other IT-related issues in a company. In essence, a virtual CIO offers outsourced IT services.

Why do small businesses need a virtual CIO?

There are a lot of compelling reasons for small businesses to make use of a virtual CIO. Some of the more compelling ones include:

  1. Cost Effectiveness: Small businesses can get a virtual CIO for a fraction of the cost required for maintaining an in-house CIO. This frees up the funds that every small business needs to get its required financial growth.
  2. Expertise: Virtual CIOs are made up of teams of experts who know the ins and outs of IT management. By outsourcing your IT related issues to them, you are putting yourself in the hands of experts who know just what they are doing.
  3. All round protection: Information stored in IT systems is quite prone to hackers and other information thieves. With a good virtual CIO, you can be sure of all-round protection of your information.
  4. Proactive IT support: With a virtual CIO, your IT strategy won’t be a reactive one. Waiting for circumstances to unfold before evolving an IT strategy is a sure path to calamity. Virtual CIOs provide small businesses with monthly reporting and IT health dashboards. With these, you can adequately assess your IT situation and make the necessary adaptations. This way, you won’t be caught unawares by the next unsettling business event.

Conclusion

Virtual CIOs are very important, especially to small businesses. They give small businesses the opportunity to effectively manage their IT resources without breaking the bank. Surely, there is no reason why your small business shouldn’t use a virtual CIO.

Continue reading
  23 Hits
  0 Comments
23 Hits
0 Comments

Network Design and Cybersecurity

Network Design and Cybersecurity

Computer networks today are complex systems integrating not just computers, servers, software, hardware and switches but also wireless, VOIP phone systems, IP video surveillance, security, VPNs, firewalls, UPS, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and cooling rooms. All these new components require the design of an efficient and secure network to enable the safeguarding and efficient utilization of an organization’s data. Accend Networks provides you with tailor made network solutions and helps you set up security systems to control access to your organization’s network and information. We design and install network components including cables, routers, switches and servers, set up Local Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN) as well as setting up workstations.

Continue reading
  27 Hits
  0 Comments
27 Hits
0 Comments

Managed Service Provider

Managed Service Provider

To be able to give maximum attention to meeting your bottom line, you need to put in place a cost effective and efficient IT infrastructure. At Accend Networks, we provide managed services that will enable you to manage and integrate the data needs for your company, allowing you to use your time more profitably on core business activities such as financial management, staff motivation and employee satisfaction. Our managed services include 24×7 networks monitoring of your systems, network devices, endpoints and services and applications running on the systems.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

24×7 Network Operations Center (NOC)

We offer customized 24×7 remote network monitoring on your servers, applications and web services.   Contact us for more information.

 

Continue reading
  30 Hits
  0 Comments
30 Hits
0 Comments