May 17, 2020

The risks and rewards of meshing physical and cyber security

Internet of Things
Sanjay Vaid
4 min
Security is undoubtedly a primary focus for any organization, particularly in this digital age where assets extend beyond the physical to include virtua...

Security is undoubtedly a primary focus for any organization, particularly in this digital age where assets extend beyond the physical to include virtual assets such as data. The emergence of cloud or Internet-based devices, such as smart meters and smart CCTV cameras, is expanding the reach of traditional security measures and enabling a host of heretofore unknown benefits.

For most industries traditional security mechanisms such as perimeter and access control are still of vital importance. Technology has, however, introduced new ways for these to be managed and automated. These technologies are yielding faster response times and improved security. Meshing technology with physical security can vastly improve the overall security landscape for any organization.

Introducing Internet of Things (IoT) devices into an operational environment aids the reduction of many health and safety risks. These can range from smart cameras for surveillance, to sensors implanted on vehicles which track and trace progress, prevent breakdowns and enable pre-emptive maintenance. For example, sensors can quickly identify gas leaks, enabling quick resolution. Another example would be IoT-enabled construction equipment, which help avoid collisions or load-related accidents. Technology is making the industry safer.

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There is a flip side to this however, as advanced technology also introduces a number of threats into security environments. Operations of organizations in entirety can be brought down by cyber-attacks, launched on a seemingly innocuous piece of technology such as a sensor or smart device.

Recently, a casino in Las Vegas was infiltrated via its fish tank, albeit a very high tech fish tank connected to a wireless access point - the intent being to steal data. Fortunately, technology also came to the rescue in this case, as the systems were closely monitored and the hackers could be stopped before too much damage was done. Another recent attack saw an entire critical infrastructure plant’s operations being shut down due to hackers accessing and taking control of an Internet enabled workstation.

The likes of these attacks highlight how effectively cyber criminals can damage or cripple an entire business in a matter of minutes. In certain industries where health and safety are of paramount import - such as mining, oil and gas, engineering and health- the derailing of infrastructure and the halting of operations can cause more than simply financial or reputation damage - there are lives at stake.

A challenge facing industries such as those involving chemical plants, mines and oil & gas organizations, is that technology can also introduce physical threats. WiFi, for example, can cause a fire hazard in environments sensitive to sparking. In such cases, organizations need to investigate alternative, environmentally suitable technologies to bring these sites onto their cyber security network, and maintain central surveillance, access control and identity management.

Access, both physical and network, is the area that businesses need to closely monitor and secure. Physical access is critical and ensures only the right people gain entry to the right areas of a business at any given time. Technology is allowing businesses to apply the likes of biometrics to manage access enabling quicker, more accurate access control.

From a virtual access and data security point of view, it is critical that organizations implement proper identity controls such as authentication and passwords, as well as multiple layers of encryption across their data-at-rest and data-in-motion.

Integration and centralization is critical in order to properly manage and monitor all of these technology-backed security measures. Businesses need to ensure that the security technology they invest in, from physical to cyber, is capable of integrating with a central management platform from which they can efficiently and effectively control their entire security environment.

It’s also important to have the right security policies and processes in place, so that organizations are able to follow proper protocol in times of breach, or when a risk is identified. This is especially important as new regulations emerge, such as the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Such regulations will be pivotal when redefining data security policies and are likely to have a larger impact on sectors such as the financial, retail, and insurance sectors.

Budget and security concerns are likely to come up against each other, as businesses weigh risk against costs. Costs, however, will be in line with the risks, which inevitably vary across different industries. For many organizations where it is less critical for security to be wholly controlled within the business, opting for Security-as-a-Service will be a win-win answer to the risk vs cost debate.

Sanjay Vaid, Practice Director of Cyber Risk Security at Wipro Limited

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Jul 26, 2021

Five9: the cloud software industry leaders acquired by Zoom

contact centre
Catherine Gray
2 min
Following the announcement of Zoom buying cloud company Five9 for almost $15billion, we take a deeper look into the company’s history and success

Five9 is the leading provider of cloud contact centre software. Driven by a passion for transforming contact centres into customer engagement centres of excellence, Five9 have a deep understanding of the cost and complexity of running a contact centre.

Founded in 2001, Five9 help contact centres of every size create powerful connections. 

The company has over 20 years of cloud contact centre experience, reaches over 2,000 customers worldwide, and annually reaches over 7 billion customer interactions. 

Built on a highly reliable, secure and scalable cloud platform, Five9 makes it easy to rapidly trial and deploy new services. Its software also future proofs businesses by supporting AI and other emerging technologies.

Utilising cloud capabilities for improved customer experience

Offering software that creates more successful customer interactions, Five9’s cloud contact centre software increases contact centre productivity. This is without the capital expense and maintenance costs of premise-based systems.

Built on flexible architecture that adapts to a company’s changing needs, Five9 customers benefit from a secure, reliable and scalable contact centre.

Five9’s cloud contact centre platform also gives customers access to an extensive ecosystem of partners. Its platform can be enhanced with leading customer relationship management, analytics, workforce management, performance management solutions and telephony providers.

By utilising cloud technology, Five9 customers have access to the latest capabilities through no-touch, non-disruptive real-time upgrades.

Five9’s recognition for industry-leading software

As a leading cloud contact centre software provider, Five9 has been recognised by leading industry publications and organisations for its success and innovative solutions.

For the fourth consecutive year, Five9 has ranked as a global leader for The Aragon Research Globe for Intelligent Contact Centres 2021. 

Five9 was also one of only three providers to earn the MetriStar Top Provider award when evaluated as part of Metrigy’s global 2021-2022 Workforce Optimisation and Engagement research study.

Five9: Zoom’s first major acquisition

Zoom Video Communications has agreed to buy Five9 for about $14.7bn, marking the company’s first major acquisition.

This deal with Five9 will help expand the company’s Zoom Phone offering.

“I believe the combination of Zoom and Five9 will be a game-changer. Joining forces will create a transformative opportunity for two strong companies with complementary capabilities and shared values,” said Five9’s CEO, Rowan Trollope.

With Zoom’s reach and brand, the acquisition will help Five9 propel forward and help the company deliver on its goal of significant international expansion

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