Lora O'Haver
Senior Solutions Marketing Manager

Mobilizing for a More Mobile Future

July 28, 2016 by Lora O'Haver

"It was hard to blame people for their anger when they had been told to trust that the devices they brought into their lives were safe, only to find that many of them weren’t. Parents who had done their Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday returned anything with a Wi-Fi connection. Everyone had to be reminded again of all the incredible benefits of a connected world. Doctors had to convince people that their implantable defibrillators couldn’t be hacked."
—Excerpted from “The Big Hack,” by Reeves Weideman, New York Magazine, June 19, 2016

If you haven’t yet read last month’s article, “The Big Hack,” from New York magazine, do yourself a favor and read it. Not only is it a great piece of writing that unfolds cinematically, like a science fiction movie, it is a fantastic cautionary tale of the potential scale of disaster of a mass cyberattack. What makes it especially fascinating is that it’s based on individual events that have already occurred. For many, it can be a chilling reminder that testing and security are critical components of any IT planning.

Without proper testing and hardened security, we leave ourselves open to any number of mishaps, whether caused by technology itself, or the people and processes behind it. A survey conducted by Blackberry reports that 73 percent of organizations have a mobile security strategy in place. Yet, only three percent say they have implemented the highest levels of security possible, partly because of potential productivity concerns.

That three percent carries even more weight when you consider that from 2014-2015, there was a 50 percent increase in attacks on mobile devices, according to the 2016 PwC Global State of Information Security Survey. And, given the public preoccupation with Pokemon Go lately, that last sentence seems especially alarming. According to ITBusinessedge.com, users are spending more time on that than on the most popular social media sites. Already—and predictably—it has become a security concern for businesses. Two factors drive that concern: Hackers have discovered a backdoor exploit with Android devices  for those who mistakenly download an unofficial version of the app. Adding to that, for those who sign in through Google, the game has access to their accounts. Many of those mobile devices might be connecting to your business network. As more things connect—whether as mobile games/apps or devices, or wired devices and applications, the safety net we think we have gets a little more frayed. And amid all this, PwC also discovered that only 36 percent have a security strategy for dealing with the Internet of Things (IoT).

The problem is that it used to be a lot easier to protect the network when the perimeter was defined and the data was stored in one place. But now, the network edge is expanding. With that, IT has more traffic to monitor and more threats to analyze, coming from more places.

The result is IT sprawl from a myriad of devices and multi-vendor technologies. All of which can lead to inconsistent information and blind spots in the network.

This complexity is the basis for Ixia’s IxSecure architecture which provides a framework from pre-deployment to operation. With realistic network and application loads, plus realistic and current threats, customers can test new equipment and network updates to existing equipment before deploying. Then, in operation, an active Security Fabric weaves data and security tools together: robust visibility that covers large volumes of data, mixed with intelligence, to route the right data to the right tools, even when encrypted. So, if you have a Pokemon-Go fanatic in your midst—on your business network—you can easily identify and quarantine that person’s mobile device, should it become compromised.

Futurist Alvin Toffler once wrote about the “dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future.” He warned, as Farhad Manjoo wrote in the New York Times recently, that we need to prepare for the future, especially as technology evolves. The best way: to look at security from an integrated perspective that stems from careful planning and looking ahead. It’s this kind of forward thinking that can help head off potential disasters, like what we see in movies or read about in fiction.

To learn more about Ixia's IxSecure Architecture, click here.