Securing Connections in the Cloud and Across All Your IoT Devices

By Jonathan Nguyen-Duy, Vice President, Global Field CISO Team, Fortinet

The hyper-connected, global marketplace of the 21st century has shifted the landscape for networking and security. Two prevalent trends in this area—cloud adoption and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)—are seemingly two different components of digital transformation, with separate purposes and scope. However, they actually work together, fueling one another in the digital ecosystem. This symbiotic relationship has important implications when it comes to deploying, using, and securing cloud services and the IoT.   

As the number of IoT devices grows, so does the amount of data that they generate. This is in addition to the massive stores of data that are already being amassed by businesses, governments, and even individuals – data that must be collected, processed, mined, and stored. Take, for example, the use of sensors in warehouses where inventory can be tracked. This technology provides managers with essential data on purchasing trends so they are better equipped to manage inventory, especially on fast-selling items. Similar devices in retail locations provide information not just about inventory, but everything from temperatures in refrigeration units to customer purchasing trends.

IoT sensors installed on manufacturing equipment provide production managers with critical information. Environmental data from these sensors signal evidence of wear and tear on expensive equipment, alerting managers about maintenance before that equipment fails and costs the organization millions of dollars in lost productivity. 

As a result of these and other use cases, organizations are finding that in order to keep up with the massive amounts of data they are amassing, they need to act fast and build out their data management resources. For many, this comes in the form of a standard, two-pronged solution: easily scalable cloud data centers and high-performing infrastructures developed to support data mining for critical information. 

An Increased Digital Footprint Results in Increased Risk

One of the top challenges associated with IoT adoption is security. Botnets are the most common IoT cyber threat, causing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks like the notorious Mirai, which infected tens of thousands of IoT devices before causing massive disruption. 

When compromised, IoT devices may do the following:  

  1. Intercept data being transmitted  
  2. Act as a vehicle for malware
  3. Fall under control of a botnet to carry out a specific, disruptive task such as DDoS

According to research conducted by the team at FortiGuard Labs, IoT devices were involved in half of the top 12 exploits last year. This is due primarily to the fact that most IoT devices are designed with fault code, no built-in security measures, and an inability to be updated even when network managers identify a vulnerability. 

IoT and the Cloud: A Uniquely Challenging Combination

Every IoT device is potentially another cloud connection, and every connection to the network represents yet another security vulnerability. So, what does this mean for your organization? As you develop new IoT assets and move to the cloud, your security strategies for both need to be in sync with one another. When an IoT device is compromised, your public and private clouds are at risk, and this can eventually affect your core network and even your customers. 

How to Secure IoT and Cloud Connections

There are six key considerations when it comes to securing IoT and cloud environments:

  1. Robust vulnerability management. Understanding what is on your network and the potential threats they pose is critical. Keeping track of your IoT devices ensures they can be updated with security patches (where possible), properly segmented and isolated, or protected using effective proximity controls that can offer defense in the case of an attack. 
  2. Compensating controls. By implementing proper controls, security teams can mitigate risks posed by those devices that can’t be updated. Proximity devices, including firewall and IPS systems, should be leveraged to ensure the inspection of data moving between IoT devices and the cloud. Additionally, behavior-based detection can be used to identify traffic discrepancies, such as the communication between botnet command and control centers.
  3. Encryption. This practice should be leveraged where possible to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data. 
  4. Hardened security at the cloud edge. Not all IoT environments are secure, so hardening the cloud network is essential. In addition to other mitigation efforts, avoiding DDoS attacks and malware is also a matter of inspecting traffic at the cloud edge.
  5. Integration and automation. The policies that govern security tools and the collection of security event data need to exist within the same management platform. This will ensure event correlation, consistent functionalities, reliable configuration delivery, and the orchestration and enforcement of policies all through a single pane of glass.
  6. Security plus performance. Security platforms must be consistently reliable, no matter the environment in which they are deployed. Regardless of whether they are deployed as a virtual instance or a physical appliance, they must be able to process large amounts of data without slowing down the collection and processing of critical data.

Final Thoughts

To maximize the benefits of digital transformation, organizations must employ effective security strategies for IoT devices and the cloud. A unified strategy that addresses both the cloud and IoT using advanced threat intelligence and automation is vital. This will secure critical connections moving forward and set your organization up for success in the modern marketplace. 

Warba Bank Digitizes Online Banking and Enhances Customer Experience with Nutanix

Kuwaiti FSI leader targets mobile computing and financial services governance in bold digital transformation program

Nutanix (NASDAQ: NTNX), a leader in enterprise cloud computing, today announced that Kuwait’s Warba Bank has digitally transformed its financial services and mobile banking using the power of Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure platform.

Warba Bank was established in 2010 and currently runs 14 branches nationwide, with several further launches already in the pipeline. To keep pace with the changing demands of retail, private and corporate customers, and to align with its plans of continued growth, the bank began an ambitious digital transformation program that targeted mobile applications and the governance of financial services.

“Mobile applications make our customers’ journeys so much easier,” said Wael Shawareb, Senior Director of Cyber Security and IT Governance, Warba Bank. “But once you get into digital transformation in our sector, you have to consider the governance of financial services, which is very strict when it comes to data protection and privacy concerns. You have to make sure you implement your security levels in accordance with meticulous standards.”

In selecting Nutanix as a partner for digitization, Shawareb and his team were drawn to Nutanix’s ability to integrate with Warba Bank’s legacy hypervisor.

He said: “Their understanding of the hypervisor running underneath showed that Nutanix were doing impeccable research into the back-to-back vendors, even for the non-related tickets relating to operating system issues. That, more than anything, showed us how solid they were. They were an ideal partner for us.”

Warba Bank’s journey to hyperconverged architecture began with software-defined storage. The organization then migrated to full IT automation lifecycle management. By digitizing its online banking services through Nutanix’s platforms, Warba Bank is now able to enhance the customer experience, by bringing newfound stability and simplicity to backend infrastructure, and delivering rich digital interfaces to its clients at the front end.

“The first thing we noticed after the implementation of Nutanix’s solution was the speed,” said Shawareb. “Once you realize that, ‘Oh, my goodness; I just created that server with all of that storage, and provisioned it faster than I have ever been able to do before,’ that is the moment where you understand just what profound change you have brought to your organization by going with Nutanix. Their GUI, from the moment you log in, gives you the impression that you are dealing with the simplest ever infrastructure. Deployment was a dramatic mind shift for us.”

Nutanix also supported Warba’s stakeholders in their migration of the company’s critical mobile banking application. The core services of Warba’s mobile banking services run on top of Nutanix. A series of legacy vendors had to be integrated to carry Warba’s digital transformation ambitions forward. By simplifying management and maintenance, and by enhancing provisioning speeds, Warba Bank discovered that its IT function was freed up to innovate. The team can now concentrate on the enhancement of the customer experience.

“Today, banking customers of all types expect to have relationships with their assets and investments like they are in the palm of their hand,” Shawareb said. “That close, 24-7 relationship calls for a robust mobile banking offering with impenetrable security, high availability and low latency. We also need to be able to roll out enhancements to that customer experience in real time, with no disruption to service. Nutanix understood all of that. And for that reason, and many others, we now see them as a strategic technology partner for Warba Bank.”

“The regional FSI sector is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in operation today, with customers that have some of the highest expectations imaginable,” said Aaron White, Regional Sales Director, Middle East at Nutanix. “The mobile computing and governance issues faced by Warba Bank are exactly the kinds of complexities that can be smoothed over by Nutanix technology that brings consumer-grade simplicity into enterprise data centres. We have enabled the Bank to leverage agile, efficient, multicloud-capable IT to become a truly digital enterprise.”

Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, eufy HomeVac H11 by Anker Innovations makes cleaning effortless and quick.

Lightweight and Compact, eufy HomeVac H11, an ultra-lightweight cordless handheld vacuum cleaner by Anker Innovations makes cleaning effortless and quick.

Featuring a Dust Devouring Suction with 5500Pa power, any accidental mess can be cleaned in a jiffy and that too with absolute ease. This lightweight handheld 2-in-1 crevice tool helps to clean the deepest corners of your house furniture, cars, baby chairs, recliners etc.

Faraz Mehdi, Regional Sales Head at Anker Innovations MEA said, “The easy to store efficient HomeVac H11 offers tasteful yet practical solutions for all your everyday cleaning needs. Each lightweight and cordless vacuum is designed for efficiency and complete mobility.”

The washable high-efficiency filter ensures simple and minimal maintenance and improved performance. Weighing just 1.2lbs, the ergonomic, non-slip design allows for comfort and precise handling. This amazing device can also freshen up the air in the immediate vicinity by eradicating odors by activating Ozone feature. This is a very useful features for your cars, sports equipment or well used shoes.

For convenient charging, users can simply use a USB phone charger or car charger and enjoy up to 13 minutes of max suction cleaning time from a full charge. The sleek, non-slip design allows for comfortable and precise handling, making cleaning effortless.

New eufy HomeVac H11 by Anker Innovations makes cleaning effortless and quick

T2521富图片(黑+白)

Lightweight and Compact, eufy HomeVac H11, an ultra-lightweight cordless handheld vacuum cleaner by Anker Innovations makes cleaning effortless and quick.

Featuring a Dust Devouring Suction with 5500Pa power, any accidental mess can be cleaned in a jiffy and that too with absolute ease. This lightweight handheld 2-in-1 crevice tool helps to clean the deepest corners of your house furniture, cars, baby chairs, recliners etc.

Faraz Mehdi, Regional Sales Head at Anker Innovations MEA said, “The easy to store efficient HomeVac H11 offers tasteful yet practical solutions for all your everyday cleaning needs. Each lightweight and cordless vacuum is designed for efficiency and complete mobility.”

Eufy H11 Image

The washable high-efficiency filter ensures simple and minimal maintenance and improved performance. Weighing just 1.2lbs, the ergonomic, non-slip design allows for comfort and precise handling. This amazing device can also freshen up the air in the immediate vicinity by eradicating odors by activating Ozone feature. This is a very useful features for your cars, sports equipment or well used shoes.

For convenient charging, users can simply use a USB phone charger or car charger and enjoy up to 13 minutes of max suction cleaning time from a full charge. The sleek, non-slip design allows for comfortable and precise handling, making cleaning effortless.