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Guest View: Emerging technologies – The next frontier in a blink of an eye

George Chang, VP, Southeast Asia & Hong Kong, Fortinet | March 19, 2014
While BYOD is still being addressed, 'emerging technologies' are now leaping on to the scene, with the likes of Google Glass and smart watches already on the market and more innovations just around the corner.

As such, the security element will have to rest on the safeguards that organisations have in place for employees to adhere to. To ensure these are followed safely and efficiently, an education programme is required whereby the workforce are provided with guidelines around the dangers of carrying out sensitive tasks on public networks and the potential pitfalls of downloading public content. In the workplace, these devices will connect to the organisation's WiFi network. Security must therefore be integrated into the very fabric of the network with a common set of rules and policies that determine the level of access a user is granted and regardless of how users connect to it - wired, wireless or remote access.

Lay Down Clear Usage Policy

The security issues raised by emerging technologies could pose a real threat to businesses, particularly those dealing with sensitive information such as law firms, financial services organisations or government facilities. Therefore if a business is going to allow the use of such technology for work purposes, it must develop a clear usage policy. This policy needs to state who is allowed to bring the technologies into the workplace, what parts of the network they are allowed to access and what security procedures and protocols they must adhere to.

It seems a certainty that many forms of these so-called emerging technologies will one day become as commonplace as smartphones and tablets. Google Glass, for example, is designed to enable the user to access the Internet, take videos and pictures all at a blink of an eye. It could be argued that these features will increase productivity, however it may also be reasoned it could decrease, as it could be seen as a distraction for the user. If businesses are going to embrace wearable technology, then boundaries will be required.

The time for businesses to start thinking about the next step is now, as technology will continue to evolve whether they are on board or not. It needs to be understood that these new technologies won't replace phones, tablets and laptops; they are additional, so having the right solution in place to secure the network is paramount.

But it isn't all bad news for businesses. If they are prepared and are actively engaging with the challenges of emerging technology in terms of polices, security, network management and monitoring, then they will already be at a huge advantage compared to most. 



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