GUEST BLOG: Securing the Internet of Things Revolution
Dr. Mallik Tatipamula, VP, Service Provider and Cloud Solutions, F5 introduces one of the main themes that F5 will be talking about on 2-5 March at Mobile World Congress 2015.
You’ve probably read articles proclaiming the Internet of Things (IoT) as the next big thing in the technology industry. From wearable devices such as smartwatches to refrigerators to sensors that monitor traffic across cities to connected homes, the list of devices that can connect to the internet is endless.
It is predicted that by 2020 there may be as many as 50 billion devices online (some predictions state that figure will be closer to 100 billion). It’s where the industry is heading and represents a massive evolution. But it’s not something that’s years away, it’s happening now. And with these new connected devices come new services and new applications.
One of the big challenges that comes along with this evolution is security. More networks, more applications, more services and more devices will certainly mean more threats. It’s a question of scale; threats will increase as the number of devices connected to the internet increases.
Just consider some of the figures: mobile devices infected with malware, which continues to significantly increase each year, increased by 25 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Some studies suggest that there are as many as 20M mobile devices were infected in 2014 which accounts for an overall infection rate of over 0.65 percent. That’s with just around 7B mobile devices worldwide. Now multiply those numbers by the increase in devices connected to the Internet of Things and the true scale of the challenge begins to emerge.
There is, unfortunately, no silver bullet when it comes to securing the IoT revolution. Service providers need a comprehensive, multi-layered security strategy to tackle the security challenges that the IoT will introduce. New threats will be emerging all the time, there will no longer be well defined data center perimeters, and a new multi-faceted approach will be required.
Whether it’s a DDoS attack, a hacking attempt or targeted malware, service providers need to be prepared for everything malicious that the IoT will potentially expose their networks, services, applications and devices. But securing each feature or element separately is not the answer - that will result in a fragmented defense that is unable to cope with newer, more sophisticated attacks and unable to operate at the scale required.
A true multi-faceted and multi-domain approach means securing the network, applications, data centers, access and, last but not least, the devices. F5 Networks uniquely offers a comprehensive end-to-end security portfolio of solutions covering application-layer firewalls, SSL inspection, data center firewalls, S/Gi network firewalls, high scale DNS firewalls, high-scale NAT, diameter routing agents, protocol gateways, access management, and remote access security.
This is the only way to truly be able to deal with the emerging security threat landscape associated with the tidal wave of connected devices that is coming. You will need to build a multi-layered defense across every domain and across every layer to protect your networks, your customers, and your profitability.