NTT: Secure networks key to 'IoT revolution'

Network security that enables safe and sustainable internet of things connectivity has to be a major priority for the communications industry, says NTT Communications.

NTT: Secure networks key to 'IoT revolution'
NTT: Secure networks key to 'IoT revolution'

While the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to drive the next wave of online innovation, it needs to be grounded on secure networks that prevent cyber-criminals from hacking into the myriad of IoT-enabled devices that they are increasingly connecting.

The above assertion is just one of the top-line industry assessments provided this month by NTT Communications Corp. (NTT Com), a company that owns and operates one of the world’s largest IP backbones and is the data and global IP service arm of Fortune 500 telecom leader NTT.

IoT Has Massive Potential to Innovate, But First Needs to Be Secure

“The Internet of Things revolution has tremendous potential to enhance and improve daily life by enabling our devices to connect and communicate with our other devices,” said Michael Wheeler, executive vice president of NTT Communications Global IP Network at NTT America. “The key to facilitating the IOT is creating a network foundation that enables these applications and services to function in a safe and secure manner.”

According to results of the NTT Security 2018 Global Threat Intelligence Report, a survey of about 1,350 companies showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents see IoT as a potential security threat to their organizations. Gartner, a research and advisory company, recently found that nearly 20 percent of organizations observed at least one IoT-based attack in the last three years. Gartner also predicts that by 2020, IoT will play a part in more than 25 percent of cyberattacks.

“IoT continues to gain momentum and, in response to that, businesses need to proactively protect against IoT-related cyberattacks,” added Wheeler. “Because of the growing universe of connected devices, software and carriers in the IoT ecosystem, there’s also a need for increased industry collaboration to ensure a seamless and secure IoT experience for everyone.”

Insights from recent memcached-driven DDoS attacks and incidents involving Mirai-infected IoT botnets show that industry cooperation plays a key role in keeping networks and users safe. “I think carriers feel the responsibility to collaborate and communicate as much as possible and do so in the context of our roles within the broader Internet,” Wheeler concluded on this issue.

Michael Wheeler will participate in the Capacity Europe conference in London in the session “Characterizing the High-Quality Networks Required to Meet the IoT Data Demand” on Wednesday, October 24 at 9:30 am. More details here.

Customization as Best Defense Against Cyberattacks

The first half of 2018 has seen a wider and more varied range of cyberattacks focused on denial of service, route hijacking and crypto currency theft. As a result, organizations are seeking customized security plans that align with their specific risk profile.

“When it comes to network security, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Wheeler. “It really comes down to assessing each business area that needs protection and, along the way, implementing iterative enhancements that provide the comprehensive security solutions that are required. To achieve this, global network operators are increasingly working with each customer’s internal IT teams, third-party vendors and industry groups to ensure that solutions are as customized as possible for each client.”

Having contingency plans in place can also help to mitigate the impact of any breaches that may occur.

“From a network security perspective, every company has to establish what they believe their risk profile is based on a number of factors, and then ultimately identify what they're going to do to address the risk profile that has been defined,” Wheeler added.

Darren Grabowski, Manager of the Network Security team of the NTT Communications Global IP Network at NTT America, will participate in the Capacity Europe conference in London in the session “Marginalizing Fraud and Safeguarding Networks – How is the Industry Paving the Way with Novel Technologies and Innovative Systems” on Thursday, October 25 at 10:00 am. More details here.

Growing Adoption of Automation in Global Networks

Many carriers continue to leverage automation, including software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV), as a strategic approach to reducing operational expenditures, improving customer experience and lowering the occurrence of human errors.

“Router maintenance is a great example of a non-standard way in which automation has improved our delivery of service to customers and increased efficiency,” said Wheeler. “By using our automation system, we can pre-load all of the card swaps and configuration changes in advance so that a major migration is completed in just a few hours. In the past, this was a manual process that would have taken a few days of maintenance work.”

NTT Com has been a proponent of automation and SDN at the network management level for nearly two decades.

“We’ve been incorporating automation within AS2914 since the late 1990s and, as a result, what we have today is extremely sophisticated and comprehensive,” said Wheeler. “Automation is a win-win as it creates efficiencies and reduces costs for carriers while, at the same time, improving their customers’ network experience.”

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