May 7, 2021

COVID-19 has elevated the need for network and data security

covid-19
Cybersecurity
networks
privacy
Akanksha Sharma
5 min
Akanksha Sharma, Solutions Consultant at Tecnotree, reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the need for security throughout mobile networks.
Akanksha Sharma, Solutions Consultant at Tecnotree, reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the need for security throughout mobile networks...

2020 was a year of unprecedented disruption, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the digital shift in how we learn, interact and work. While most industries have already embarked on a digital transformation journey via the adoption of new technologies, COVID-19 has created an urgent need to further accelerate these efforts. 

The post-COVID business world will be defined by a technological transition across various different applications such as digital transformation for businesses, 5G connectivity, advances in artificial intelligence and augmented reality and digital automation. 

However, this new environment also brings new risks, specifically around security and there is a need to adopt adequate and well-positioned security solutions for the success of digital initiatives. 

New and innovative business models, along with emerging technologies, create and utilise large amounts of user data, creating a need for stronger data protection to nurture trust in the tech ecosystem. In these particularly challenging times, it has never been more critical to create a safer, more efficient, and interconnected world.

Surge in cyber-attacks and need for security

With the advent of an increasingly digitally connected world, data is growing and becoming more accessible; pushing demand on networks exponentially. Though increased network traffic can be seen as a good sign for business, it has also created an increasingly enticing environment for hackers and opportunists to seek new and intuitive ways to gain access, find vulnerabilities and siphon off money. 

These often come in the form of phishing emails with malicious attachments that drop malware to disrupt systems or steal confidential data. Fake websites that take over vulnerable ones to host malicious code are also on the rise. 

These attackers lure people to these sites and then drop malicious code on their digital devices. Linked with this, one of direct impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak has been the surge in remote working, leading to an increase in the number of virtual private network (VPN) users accessing their organisation’s network from their home network (Public network). 

Inadequate bandwidth to support these increases in network traffic can lead to more advanced cyberattacks such as a DDoS (distributed denial of services) attacks, which can reduce networks to a crawl and/or prevent access altogether. A recent example of such security breach saw a major conferencing platform hacked and the confidential data of more than half a million accounts exposed. 

Therefore, it is vital that security measures are given equal consideration, if not higher, when planning new IT initiatives in an organisation; service providers should now focus more on protecting the packets and integrity of a network.

Network as a service (NaaS)

A key response to this issue has been the offering of Network as a Service (NaaS). A result of the growing availability of cloud-based options that address the demands of increased connectivity, agility, speed, and security has also changed the dynamics, NaaS, like ‘Software as a Service (SaaS)’ allows network providers to deliver network services and functionality as a managed cloud offering. 

This can include smaller functions like hosting virtual firewalls or routers, content delivery, bandwidth on demand, or as big as providing the entire network (as a service) for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). 

With the right NaaS platform, operators can bundle advanced security, enterprise productivity applications, IT and even IoT services with cloud connectivity into digital offerings. At the same time, it also enables enterprises to use their network with greater flexibility and dynamism, adjusting to application and service needs as they emerge and providing opportunities for CSPs to fill the growing need in the enterprise market.

NaaS also comes with security benefits, since it provides total network visibility with monitoring capabilities of both on-premises and cloud resources. In fact, on-premises resources across different locations can be monitored without any additional security layer at each site. It encrypts all data and traffic sent over the network and enables zero trust access policy based on qualifiers such as role, device, and location. 

The benefits are further boosted with a sophisticated array of security tools on top of regular networking features like multi-factor authentication, automatic Wi-Fi security, DNS filtering and advance firewall protection.

The emergence of API

Specifically looking at the issue of data protection, APIs and open standards hold the key for data sharing, whilst also eliminating complex integration and high costs. However, the downside is that they also represent a significant and growing attack surface with some most common impacts like data exposure, frauds & service disruption arising from DDoS. 

Therefore, one of the challenges in NaaS adoption is the development of standards for network interoperability and portability.

As per TMForum, an inbuilt API security framework must include the identity and access management engines to authenticate only legitimate requests; authorising access only to information that the required API calls need through API gateway via threat detection and mitigation controls, such as web application firewalls (WAFs). However, with the increased adoption of standardised APIs, API security is becoming less challenging.

Conclusion

As customers continue to increase their digital transactions, organisations need to respond and focus more on digital trust - building confidence across people, processes, and systems. 

Companies need to recognise and work to address the key pillars of digital trust (privacy, transparency, security, identity and data Integrity) with the end goal of converting customers and stakeholders into digital advocates that will spread the word about services and experiences. With the aim of increased sales, revenue, and consumer loyalty, real success can be found in embracing privacy and using it as a differentiator in the market providing greater value to customers through their cloud and digital transformations initiatives.

Considering the ever-evolving nature of the threat landscape, it’s admittedly impossible to eliminate all sources of information risk. However, with that knowledge, organisations should focus on implementing controls to manage the risk and as the business grows, there is a need to continually reassess how much risk is appropriate. 

Real success in the ongoing privacy revolution lies in embracing privacy and using it as a differentiator in the market providing greater value to customers through their cloud and digital transformations initiatives.

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Jun 12, 2021

What’s next for a post-smartphone LG? 

LG
Smartphones
apps
Technology
3 min
Following its exit from the smartphone business, South Korean tech giant LG may be refocusing its attention on the software sector. 

South Korean mega-conglomerate LG made its dramatic exit from the smartphone business at the beginning of April 2021. While the company’s weird, wacky, and kind of wonderful smartphone designs never managed to create the kind of commercial success the company was clearly after, LG’s exit from the business raises one important question: What’s next? 

As a brand, LG is thoroughly baked into the fabric of Korean life. The company’s home electronics and white goods are popular overseas, but its presence in Korea is on a whole other level of ubiquitous. Every air conditioner in my 20 storey apartment building is made by LG. The corporation owns one South Korea’s three major telecom carriers, and a subsidiary of LG’s Chem division, LG Energy, is having enough success making car batteries for everyone from Tesla and General Motors to Renault that it filed for what promises to be one of the year’s biggest IPOs this week. My toothpaste is made by LG. 

People who worry about LG’s exit from the smartphone business clearly don’t understand just how big this company is. All the closure of its mobile device business means is that this titanic organisation is funneling wasted resources into something more profitable.  

When it announced the closure of its smartphone business in April, despite ongoing concerns about what to do with its overseas factory assets, LG said that the staff working in its mobile business would be rotated away to other areas. So, where have they gone, and what are they doing now? 

Is LG’s Smartphone Division Getting Reimagined as a Software Company? 

There’s a good chance that a number of LG’s smartphone division’s employees have wound up in the company’s software development arm. On Thursday, LG unveiled a new mobile app designed to improve pedestrian safety (if you had to dodge delivery drivers watching netflix on their phones while driving at 30 miles per hour down the pavement on your way to shops everyday, you’d agree with me that this is a welcome piece of news in its own right) which is just the latest development in a flurry of app-based activity at the firm. 

Last week, LG also announced that FOSSLight (Free and Open Source Software Light) system, its open source software management tool, will be made available free of charge to third party developers. TechRadar also reported that, according to several LG analysts, the company is looking to “bolster its presence in the software community.”

The new pedestrian safety app, called Soft V2X, is deployed in vehicles, and can warn drivers of potential collision risks between them and nearby pedestrians by relying on ultra-fast data exchange between the app, the vehicle, and surrounding devices. Basically, if the app detects it’s getting really close to a pedestrian’s smartphone really, really fast, then it will intervene with an alert. Presumably it can pause Season One of Bridgerton to offer a polite warning to look at the road. 

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