Paul Williams Country Manager – SADC at Fortinet.
The proliferation of Internet of Things endpoints, including smart appliances and wearables, is presenting a significant threat to organisations, says Fortinet.
Addressing a roundtable briefing on IoT threats in Johannesburg, Paul Williams, Country Manager – Southern Africa at Fortinet, said IoT was playing a significant role in overall digital transformation. “Digital transformation is a top-of-mind issue for CXOs in South Africa and around the world. They are concerned about threats from disruptors, but at the same time they are worried about how to protect a potentially complex digital enterprise,” he said.
“Digital transformation presents massive opportunities across all sectors, from agriculture and utilities to manufacturing,” said Williams. “But legacy systems have to be transformed to enable digital enterprises and IoT, and at the same time to ensure that the growing risks are mitigated.”
Williams cited Fortinet’s 2016 Q4 Threat Landscape Report, which notes the cost of cybercrime is estimated at over $3 trillion annually, and growing fast. The report said a new challenge facing enterprise IT security is that a significant proportion of applications are now cloud based, and a growing number of mobile, wearable and IoT devices are being connected to the network. The research found that while new exploits are proliferating, 86% of firms registered attacks attempting to exploit vulnerabilities that were over a decade old.
“Part of the problem with an IoT device is that it tends to be a ‘put it down and forget it’ device,” Williams said. “People forget that the connected air conditioner, the CCTV or even the pot plant monitoring system could be connected to the network. These devices are typically not controlled, monitored or patched. Yet, any digital system can be vulnerable, and could serve as an access point to the enterprise network.”
Fortinet’s comprehensive new model for securing the network, branded Fortinet Security Fabric, brings all devices and networks together into a single, intelligent and automated ecosystem that combats attacks in a cohesive manner, within seconds.
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