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Ageing, obsolete network assets put firms at high hacking risk

Ageing, obsolete network assets put firms at high hacking risk

New Delhi:  Companies in the technology, manufacturing and automotive sectors are facing high hacking risk because of ageing or obsolete network assets in place, a new report warned on Tuesday.

Nearly 46.3 per cent of organizations’ networking assets are ageing or obsolete globally, compared with 4.3 per cent in 2017, signaling prolonged refresh cycles as business sweat assets and move to multi-Cloud environments, said ‘2020 Global Network Insights Report’ by global technology services company NTT Ltd.

In the APAC region, while 69.6 per cent of all assets in the technology sector were either ageing or obsolete in 2019, higher than any other sector, an overall average of 44.6 per cent of assets in the tech industry have been ageing or obsolete over the last five years, again higher than any other sector.

The report, which is based on data from technology assessments conducted on more than 1,000 clients covering over 800,000 network devices, found that there has been an increase in obsolete and unpatched network devices containing software vulnerabilities, introducing risk, and exposing the organization to information security threats.

“Network infrastructure needs to be appropriately architected and managed to deal with unplanned surges, which will require a relook at cloud and on-premises infrastructure to reduce the impact and frequency of business-critical outages,” said Rob Lopez, Executive Vice President, Intelligent Infrastructure, NTT Ltd.

The Covid-19 outbreak and consequent surge in bandwidth consumption is putting strain on the network, compounding existing challenges, and, ultimately, creating a perfect storm.

With an increase in remote working, remote access and consumption of voice and video services, organizations’ network and security infrastructure are under incredible pressure, said the report.

“In this ‘new normal’ many businesses will need, if not be forced, to review their network and security architecture strategies, operating and support models to better manage operational risk. We expect to see strategy shift from a focus on business continuity to preparation for the future as lockdown begins to ease,” said Lopez.

Obsolete devices have, on average, twice as many vulnerabilities per device (42.2) when compared with ageing (26.8) and current ones (19.4), creating unnecessary risk.

This risk is exacerbated further when businesses do not patch a device or revisit the operating system version for the duration of its lifetime.

Although patching is relatively simple, and often free under a maintenance agreement or extended warranty, many businesses still don’t patch their devices, the report found.

“With the adoption of new wireless infrastructure on the rise – an increase of 13 per cent year-on-year – and the rise of open office and co-working spaces, a novel approach to all network architecture will be needed,” the report mentioned.

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