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No time off for security

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Enterprise security isn’t allowed time off. It doesn’t shut down at 6pm and go home. It has to stay active and ready every moment of every day, writes MATTHEW KIBBY, Regional Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

Security has evolved into an almost living entity which has to adapt to new circumstances and challenges on an ongoing basis. It is also one of the least understood and often most ignored part of the business with many employees finding the rules and regulations tedious and annoying, things to be dodged and avoided rather than understood and adhered to. These attitudes to security have to change, especially as the threats continue to loom large on the enterprise horizon.

Organisations are, quite simply, becoming more and more vulnerable. Expansion into digital territory, commonplace cloud solutions and employees traversing globe and country with digital devices – all these factors impact security and its validity. So does the fact that most of the technology and mechanisms used by cyber-criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and most IT decision makers (ITDMs) don’t think they can keep up. In fact, most are concerned that the threats are moving faster than the defences.

Recent research undertaken by VMware and World Wide Worx with local IT Decision Makers, found that 30% of IT leadership anticipates a major attack on their firm within the next 90 days, a more worrying 16% expect one in the next few days. These statistics are compounded by the fact that 49% of South African IT decision makers (ITDMs) believe their organisation is vulnerable to a cyber-attack.

It’s not surprising to see why – for the research also showed that 8% of organisations won’t detect a cyber-attack unless 24 hours have gone by, 2% won’t realise one has happened at all, and 23% will take around an hour. In just that short period of time, information is gone and systems are compromised. And reputations may lie in expensive tatters.

The challenges around security are not only driven by digital business complexities and a growing mobile workforce – there is a dearth of robust security protocols which are known and adhered to by everyone. There needs to be more awareness around what security solutions are in place and what needs to be done across the organisation in an event of a breach. The survey found that 43% of South African enterprises had a plan in place, but that only part of the company was aware of it. Only 40% said the entire business knew of the plan and a nervous 10% either didn’t have a plan or didn’t know one existed.

While the 40% may well be ready and waiting for the daring cybercriminal to launch an attack, the rest are not. This is compounded by further research which revealed that one-fifth of employees are willing to breach security and those who are untrained or careless are the biggest threat. It is time for the business to drive compliance across the organisation and to ensure that the rules and regulations around security are clear, concise and accessible.

It is essential that the business develops strategic initiatives to combat threats to security, both internally and externally, and shows employees why these are of value. Take that dusty tome out of the drawer, get it up to date and get everyone on board. Even that guy in the C-Suite who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. They do.

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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