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Safeguarding Privacy in the Internet of Things

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn,  Contributing Columnist

You can’t open a web browser these days without coming across a story on the Internet of Things (IoT), and the ways that connected, autonomous devices will revolutionize every industry. There’s a reason for the hype: Cisco forecasts 50 billion connected devices by 2020, with the potential to create more than $14 trillion in value for global businesses over the next decade.

But IoT also heralds another revolution, in the degree to which individual behavior can be tracked and analyzed. While much of IoT focuses on verticals like manufacturing, energy exploration, and industrial applications, where the massive data generated by fine-grained monitoring is almost entirely beneficial, IoT will also touch on a broad range of consumer devices. From transportation to home automation to connected medical devices, machines will be monitoring the behavior of individuals more than at any time in human history. This raises a number of serious questions about consumer privacy and information security.  Read More »

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Compliance Headaches Continue

Staffing Cisco’s Compliance Solution demonstration a few weeks ago at Cisco Live 2012, I was beckoning passersby to test their knowledge of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) 2.0.  Some attendees shook their head and walked (ran) the other way.  Of the brave souls who ventured over to demonstrate their PCI knowledge, most spoke of the difficulties and challenges of dealing with not only PCI, but other mandates as well, such as HIPAA, FISMA and SOX. Attendees came from different industries such as Retail, Healthcare, Financial Services and Education, many of whom shared the same challenges with approach, best practices and the cost of compliance. Surprisingly, some were just beginning their journey, starting at ground zero, and were seeking guidance on how to meet the CIO’s “get compliant” edict with a balancing act between IT and Finance. Other customers were seeking guidance on specific product features that could address areas of management and reporting.

At a Table Topics session during the same event, other challenges around scoping, segmentation and wireless networks were discussed. Today, one of the challenges that merchants still face is with auditor inconsistency. This is an area that the PCI council is working hard to address by implementing training and best practices programs for QSA’s. To add fuel to the fire, in a recent QSA Insights Report, the cost of annual audits averages $225,000 per year for the largest merchants. Excluding technology, operating, and staff costs, the world’s largest acceptors of credit cards (also known as Tier 1 merchants) are spending an average of $225,000 on auditor expenses. 10 percent of these businesses are spending $500,000 or more annually on PCI auditors.  The full PCI DSS is available for download at:

https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/security_standards/pci_dss_download.html

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