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Tech & Innovation

Next generation businesses require security-driven network

As Big Data, hyperscale architectures, SD-WAN, 5G, Edge networking, and smart systems (such as cars, cities, and infrastructures) become mainstream, these networks will be forced to change even further. The current generation of security solutions now in place simply can’t keep up.

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Photo by Steve Halama from Unsplash.com

Today’s networks are distributed across so many devices and environments, many of them temporary and all of them in a constant state of flux, that the notion of a perimeter has been almost completely abandoned. This transition has largely been the result of an application-based business model. Users—both employees and consumers—require immediate and reliable access to critical applications and streaming services at any time, from any location, on any device. 

To achieve this, most organizations have transformed their networks to a collection of edges. In addition to the LAN edge, there is the new WAN edge, the multi-cloud edge, the distributed datacenter edge, the mobile edge, and most recently due to the rapid shift to work-from-home, a huge surge in the home office edge. And multi-edge computing (MEC)—a distributed, open IT architecture that features decentralized processing power and a virtualized network platform—is right around the corner. Powered by 5G-enabled devices and infrastructure, MEC leverages mobile computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to process data locally rather than being transmitted to a datacenter. 

This level of innovation has transformed networks so thoroughly and so rapidly that traditional security tools are no longer able provide the consistent security that networks require. Traditional security solutions, often deployed after a network was in place, were designed to secure fixed perimeters and monitor predictable levels of traffic and workflows moving between static network servers and devices. 

Those days are gone. Today’s collection of edge environments are in a constant state of flux. They are not only continually adding and dropping physical and virtual devices, they also create temporary networks and are constantly fine-tuning connections. And as Big Data, hyperscale architectures, SD-WAN5G, Edge networking, and smart systems (such as cars, cities, and infrastructures) become mainstream, these networks will be forced to change even further. The current generation of security solutions now in place simply can’t keep up. 

Security-driven Networks are Designed for Today’s Digital Business 

Fortunately, there is a new generation of security designed for today’s complex, distributed, and dynamic environments. It starts with Security-driven Networking, an approach that tightly integrates an organization’s network infrastructure and security architecture into a single solution. Weaving security deep into the network in this way is essential for effectively defending today’s highly dynamic environments. And by deploying Security-driven Networking solutions across all of their edge environments, organizations can ensure consistent policy orchestration and enforcement across today’s highly flexible perimeters. This enables the network to reroute traffic, replace connections, move resources from one domain to another, and dynamically scale up and out without ever compromising the ability of security systems to track workflows, transactions, users, data, or devices. 

Achieving this requires implementing a security solution strategy designed to encompass the entire network development and deployment life cycle, allowing security to function as the central consideration for all business-driven infrastructure decisions. With security at the core, networks can evolve, expand, and adapt without concerns that an expanded attack surface or security gap could compromise the organization. 

Three Critical Steps for Implementing a Security-driven Network: 

Secure PDIO: A Security-driven Networking strategy must be part of the entire network Planning, Design, Implementation, and Optimization lifecycle. But it starts in the planning stages, before everyone agrees on what new infrastructures and applications and devices are needed. And that requires everyone to agree that all development must support a central security fabric strategy—an approach for ensuring consistent visibility, orchestration, response, and enforcement across the entire network. 

Want a new cloud infrastructure? It doesn’t just need to include security. It needs to use a security platform that can function as part of the central security fabric. Building and deploying a new application? The security fabric not only needs to be able to see and inspect the application and its traffic, but it should also be built using the exact same security tools used to protect the rest of the network. And when virtual devices need to spin up or out, or when connections between a branch office and business applications in the cloud need to roll over, the Security Fabric needs to literally be part of that process, ensuring that security is always watching, always sharing, and always ready to respond. 

Access Control and Segmentation: When new devices are added to the network, the integrated security system needs to automatically identify them and apply rules before granting access to network resources. That includes automatically assigning devices to secured network segments that have been enhanced with authentication for increased control and flexibility. These network segments are then monitored by the security fabric to prevent unauthorized behaviors, inspect applications, and secure workflows, driving access security deep into the distributed network. And because security and networking are tied together, any changes to the network infrastructure automatically include changes to security. 

Consistent Protection Everywhere: Data never stays in one place. It gets shared, cross-referenced, mined, and processed. Security-driven Networking protects data, applications, and workflows along their entire data path through the implementation of a single, integrated Security Fabric, ensuring that the secure handoff of data and workflows between network domains is seamless. Achieving this requires integrated security platforms deployed across the network to consistently secure that traffic even as it passes across and between different network segments, dynamic multi-cloud environments, data centers, and devices.  

This requires a solution designed to function natively in all public and private cloud environments and comes in form factors ranging from powerful datacenter edge devices, to small desktop footprints, to virtual solutions running in cloud environments, to cloud-based solutions designed to secure devices and data off-network, to software running on endpoint devices, to versions designed to run in a container or be added to an application to secure data and transactions. All of these must function as a powerful security solution within their own sphere, track and adapt as the environment changes, and work as a single, integrated system that spans all environments to add a level of visibility, control, and response previously unavailable. 

Digital Innovation Demands Security-driven Networking 

Security-driven Networking is an essential next step for securing today’s dynamic and evolving digital infrastructures. Security platforms integrated into a unified security fabric and woven into the network infrastructure enable organizations to embrace digital innovation and expand their digital footprint without exposing critical resources to new risks compounded by the loss of visibility and control—often due to the complexity of trying to secure an evolving network using traditionally isolated products. Security-driven Networking is designed to expand and adapt in sync with the network, providing the flexible protections and controls that today’s digital businesses require. 

Tech & Innovation

Epson products to consider to boost productivity, work processes this year

Here are some useful, cost-efficient, and sustainable Epson products to consider getting for your business to boost productivity and work processes this year.

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For many industries, 2021 is the perfect time to start preparing for a more resilient and future-proof business operations. Vaccination efforts are underway, but the state of how businesses navigate the ‘new normal’ continues to evolve. Restrictions amid the pandemic have forced businesses to offer a new work order – working remotely and offering safety protocols on social distancing when reporting to the office in tranches. 

Here are some useful, cost-efficient, and sustainable Epson products to consider getting for your business to boost productivity and work processes this year.  

Epson EcoTank L15160

If your business requires large volumes of document printing, the Epson EcoTank L15160 is ideal for business quality A3 printing with a fast print speed of 25ipm for both colour and mono. This printer also uses the latest pigment ink, DURABrite ET INK that gives users sharp, crisp, and durable prints that are water-resistant. It is built to ensure lower costs for duplex printing and scanning as it is easy to maintain and uses high yield ink bottles that minimize frequency of consumables replacement. 

Connectivity-wise, the Epson EcoTank L15160 offers a world of wireless convenience with access to easy and flexible shared computer and mobile printing. The added advantage of Wi-Fi Direct allows users to connect up to 8 devices to the printer without a router. Users can print from their smart devices using the Epson iPrint app or print from anywhere using the Epson Connect cloud solutions. 

The Epson EcoTank L15160 is designed to be compact and can fit into any office environment easily with its small footprint. Offering a sustainable printing solution for the modern workplace, the L15160 is equipped with Epson’s revolutionary Heat-Free Technology, which means that Epson’s business inkjet printers use less power and produce less CO₂ emissions, allowing businesses to save on electricity costs and reduce environmental impact as they print in the new business year.

Epson WorkForce ES-60W

For some businesses, this busy season entails having to digitize most documents to ensure data is not lost in preparation for the coming work year. The recommended solution for on-the-go scanning needs would be Epson’s WorkForce ES-60W, which is small, compact, and lightweight. 

With an easy-to-use and intuitive scanning process, capturing and saving documents becomes stress-free. This portable A4 sheet-fed scanner can be powered up with just a USB2.0 cable that is connected to a computer. With the built-in battery, the ES-60W even allows users to scan on-the-go without a power source. Users can recharge it with either an AC adapter or when connected to a computer’s USB port. 

With Wi-Fi access capability, users can even connect to ES-60W and perform scanning operations with their mobile devices.

An advantage is that if an employee is working from home and would need this, it would be easy to transport, set-up, and use outside of the office.

Streamlining work processes through document management is vital for businesses nowadays. The ES-60W helps to address this with its productivity and quick scanning speeds of up to four seconds, making it the smart choice for demanding business scanning needs. 

EpiqVision EF-12

Last but not the least, most businesses today develop the need for projector solutions that are portable, easy to install and convenient to use. Epson’s EpiqVision EF-12 can be moved from room to room or any work setup without the need for a TV or screen while still offering that big screen experience in a portable design. 

For professionals working from home, fuss-free video conferencing is made possible with Epson Online Meetings powered by Zoom. The EpiqVision Mini EF-12 Laser Projection TV is equipped to handle group calls, online meetings, and conferences without needing extra software.

The EpiqVision Mini EF-12 allows users for the first time in an Epson projector to experience sound by YAMAHA, with the ability to operate as a stand-alone smart speaker. With its portability, quick setup and easy-to-use features, the EpiqVision Mini EF-12 becomes a perfect companion for both work and play, allowing you to showcase clear, large presentation content at work during the day and to immerse yourself with gaming or movies at night. 

Epson’s EpiqVision Mini EF-12 laser projection TV offers a flexible projection solution that’s maintenance-free. The sleek, compact projector can also prove to be more economical in the long run, since its laser light source has a longer life cycle of up to 20,000 hours compared to lamp projectors, resulting to greater cost savings while offering lasting brightness and improved color over lamp-based models.  

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BizNews

Xendit launches payment gateway services to individual business owners

When individual sellers integrate their business with Xendit, their customers can make direct payments via direct debit through Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), e-wallets such as GCash, GrabPay, and PayMaya, or Over-the-Counter via 7-Eleven and Cebuana Lhuillier. Meanwhile, sole proprietors, corporations, and partnerships can also process credit card payments.

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The ongoing pandemic has brought out the creative side of many Filipinos, who have found ways to supplement their incomes by selling various products or services on social media. Xendit is making it easier for individual business owners to settle payments with access to a world-class platform that makes billings simple, secure, and easy.

“The pandemic has seen a rise in individual sellers who utilize social media to sell their goods and services. The digital nature of transactions means payment methods need to adapt. We want to empower these rising contributors to the Philippine economy with a platform that handles payments for them while they focus on their business,” says Alyzza Acacio, Philippine SME Task Force Lead of Xendit Philippines.

When individual sellers integrate their business with Xendit, their customers can make direct payments via direct debit through Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), e-wallets such as GCash, GrabPay, and PayMaya, or Over-the-Counter via 7-Eleven and Cebuana Lhuillier. Meanwhile, sole proprietors, corporations, and partnerships can also process credit card payments.

Since Xendit handles payments on the individual seller’s behalf, entrepreneurs can focus on fulfilling orders and growing their business. They no longer need to coordinate with each customer for payments because transaction statuses are updated in real-time on the Xendit dashboard. 

Xendit’s mission is to make payments simple, so that even entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) unfamiliar who are not as technically savvy can integrate with the platform easily. Xendit is available in platforms such as Wix, Shopify, or WooCommerce. Those who rely solely on social media for business can generate payment links that customers can access. Sellers also have access to their transaction history on a centralized dashboard to monitor sales and payments.

“We need to continue to support the Filipino micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners to embrace the digital age; they have experienced the ease that online selling and marketing and smartphones have brought them closer to their customers. The next step is to help them grow their business by helping them manage day-to-day tasks in their enterprise and improve their financial literacy as they experience and use fintech products and platforms more and more,” says Ana Mijares, Senior Trainer for the Go Digital ASEAN initiative.

To welcome SMEs, Xendit is offering up to P1.6 million worth of waived transaction fees for new sign-ups. The platform is also waiving P1 million in fees for individual sellers.

Opening its platform to individual sellers is just one of Xendit’s many ways to empower SMEs using technology. Its Level Up accelerator program supports entrepreneurs through masterclasses and challenges that give them the tools and know-how to scale their businesses. The program also includes giving P3.5 million in free transactions for 1,000 startups for one year through its video challenge

Xendit is the simplest and most trusted name in digital transactions in the region. It powers SMEs as well as the Philippines’ largest enterprises. Xendit is committed to building a solid payment infrastructure for the country and the rest of Southeast Asia.

“We launched an SME task force at the beginning of the year to help create solutions for Filipino businesses that may have been affected by the pandemic. We hope to continue our support for Filipino MSMEs so they can grow their business and help the Philippine economy,” says Yang Yang Zhang, Managing Director of Xendit Philippines.

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Strategies

10 Security misperceptions that need to be addressed immediately

The list is based on the experience of Sophos Rapid Response, a team of expert incident responders who deliver fast assistance in identifying and neutralizing active threats such as malware infections, compromised data, or unauthorized access, among others.

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Photo by Mimi Thian from Unsplash.com

With June marking National ICT Month in the Philippines and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) adopting the CHIP (Connect, Harness, Innovate, and Protect) framework for digital transformation and underscoring the value of protection,  Sophos compiled   a guide for Filipino businesses so they can avoid  today’s most commonly held security misperceptions.

The list is based on the experience of Sophos Rapid Response, a team of expert incident responders who deliver fast assistance in identifying and neutralizing active threats such as malware infections, compromised data, or unauthorized access, among others.

Misperception 1: We are not a target. We are too small or have no assets of value to an adversary 

Sophos Advice: Many cyberattack victims assume they are too small, in a sector of no interest, or lacking the kind of lucrative assets that would attract an adversary. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you have the processing power and a digital presence, you are a target. Despite the media headlines, most attacks are not perpetrated by advanced nation-state attackers. They are launched by opportunists looking for easy prey and low-hanging fruit, such as organizations with security gaps, errors, or misconfigurations that cybercriminals can easily exploit. 

Misperception 2: We don’t need advanced security technologies installed everywhere 

Sophos Advice: Some IT teams still believe that endpoint security software is enough to stop all threats or don’t need security for their servers. Attackers take full advantage of such assumptions. Any mistakes in configuration, patching, or protection make servers a primary target, not a secondary one, as might have been the case in the past.

Based on the incidents that Sophos Rapid Response has investigated, servers are now the number one target for attacks. Attackers can easily find a direct route using stolen access credentials.  Suppose your organization relies only on basic security without more advanced and integrated tools such as behavioral and AI-based detection and a 24/7 human-led security operations center. In that case, intruders will likely find their way past your defenses.

Misperception 3: We have robust security policies in place 

Sophos Advice:  Having security policies for applications and users is critical. However, they need  to be checked and updated constantly as new features and functionality are added to devices connected to the network. Verify and test policies using techniques such as penetration testing, tabletop exercises, and trial runs of disaster recovery plans. 

Misperception 4: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) servers can be protected from attackers by changing the ports they are on and introducing multi-factor authentication (MFA) 

Sophos Advice: The standard port used for RDP services is 3389, so most attackers will scan this port to find open remote access servers. However, the scanning will identify any available services, so changing ports offers little or no protection on its own. 

Further, while introducing multi-factor authentication is essential, it won’t enhance security unless all employees and devices enforce it. RDP activity should occur within the protective boundary of a virtual private network (VPN). Still, even that cannot fully protect an organization if the attackers already have a foothold in a network. Ideally, unless its use is essential, IT security should limit or disable RDP internally and externally.

Misperception 5: Blocking IP addresses from high-risk regions such as Russia, China, and North Korea protects us against attacks from those geographies 

Sophos Advice:  Blocking IPs from specific regions is unlikely to do any harm, but it could give a false sense of security if it’s the sole means of protection. Adversaries host their malicious infrastructure in many countries, with hotspots in the US, the Netherlands, and the rest of Europe. 

Misperception 6: Our backups provide immunity from the impact of ransomware 

Sophos Advice: Keeping up-to-date backups of documents is business-critical. However, if your backups are connected to the network, then they are within reach of attackers and vulnerable to being encrypted, deleted, or disabled in a ransomware attack. 

Storing backups in the cloud also needs to be done with care. The standard formula for secure backups to restore data and systems after a ransomware attack is 3:2:1. Three copies of everything, using two different systems, one of which is offline. 

Having offline backups in place won’t protect your information from extortion-based ransomware attacks, where the criminals steal and threaten to publish your data instead of or as well as encrypting it. 

Misperception 7: Our employees understand security 

Sophos Advice: According to the State of Ransomware 2021, 22% of organizations believe they’ll be hit by ransomware in the next 12 months because it’s hard to stop end users from compromising security. 

Social engineering tactics like phishing emails are becoming harder to spot. Messages are often hand-crafted, accurately written, persuasive, and carefully targeted. Your employees need to know how to spot suspicious messages and what to do when they receive one. Who do they notify so that other employees can be alerted? 

Misperception 8: Incident response teams can recover my data after a ransomware attack

Sophos Advice: This is very unlikely. Attackers today make far fewer mistakes, and the encryption process has improved, so relying on responders to find a loophole that can undo the damage is extremely rare. Automatic backups like Windows Volume Shadow Copies are also deleted by most modern ransomware and overwriting the original data stored on disk, making recovery impossible other than paying the ransom. 

Misperception 9: Paying the ransom will get our data back after a ransomware attack 

Sophos Advice: According to the State of Ransomware survey 2021, an organization that pays the ransom recovers on average around two-thirds (65%) of its data.  A mere 8% got back all of their data, and 29% recovered less than half. Paying the ransom even when it seems easier and covered by your cyber-insurance policy is therefore not a straightforward solution to getting your data back. 

Misperception 10: The release of ransomware is the whole attack – if we survive that we’re OK 

Sophos Advice: Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Ransomware is just the point where the attackers want you to realize they are there and what they have done. 

The adversaries are likely to have been in your network for days if not weeks before releasing the ransomware, exploring, disabling, or deleting backups, finding the machines with high-value information or applications to target for encryption, removing information, and installing additional payloads such as backdoors. Maintaining a presence in the victim’s networks allows attackers to launch a second attack if they want to. 

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