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How can you boost hardware security for the devices in your company?

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It isn’t just a matter of protecting your software. Securing hardware is equally important. Whether your company is large enough to have its own IT department or you entrust computer operations to a handful of employees, you want to ensure everything continues to hum along without incidents

What it means

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Hardware security protects all the physical devices, machines, and peripherals your company uses. Larger companies may employ security guards and locked doors. Every business should consider using device-based security that monitors network traffic and scans employee endpoints. In other words, you need to protect any computer or other device that connects to a network since attacks can occur through security gaps whenever the hardware is running.

 

Hardware vulnerabilities

Hardware devices include everything from hard drives and motherboards to basic input-output systems (BIOS) and servers. Vulnerabilities include firmware that contains bugs or security flaws. Not every device is linked to a network that uses correct encryption protocols. A hacker can collect information that is not properly encrypted or steal an unencrypted device and access its data. Custom-built hardware can also be problematic. Corporate data centers and engineering firms are examples of organizations that use specially made chipsets designed for specific outcomes. But manufacturers are more apt to neglect to review the security features of these custom-made chips than for hardware with more general use.

Backdoors and eavesdropping

A software backdoor on a laptop computer.

A hardware backdoor is a vulnerability that may be inserted intentionally when a device is manufactured. It allows nefarious access to the device without the consent of the owner. This kind of access to a system is difficult to plug in, and an attacker can use it to install malware or malicious code. Eavesdropping occurs when an attacker gains access to hardware and extracts data. This can quickly happen by inserting a malicious program into a device that has already been compromised.

 

Developing a hardware security plan

The first thing to minimize the risk of using vulnerable or counterfeit hardware is identifying the vendors. Then check the vendors’ suppliers, such as those who manufacture the individual parts your system uses. After you have a good read on all supply lines:

  1. Check the security measures they implement in their manufacturing and shipping operations.
  2. If time is short, pay special attention to researching the manufacture and supply of the components you believe are the most vulnerable to a potential breach.
  3. Perform product inspections for every new hardware vendor your business engages

Encrypt everything

The lack of proper encryption prevents the transmission of credentials and other sensitive information. Put an encryption plan in place to prevent someone with designs on your data from accessing your system remotely.

Working from within

Remember that someone wishing to breach your firewall or proxy server can work from within your organization even more quickly than someone operating outside. So, internal hardware security measures are just as necessary as the external strategy you put in place. Implementing basic security measures is not expensive. You can protect system BIOS with a password and keep employee workstations from a remote attack with a hardware firewall.

 

Consider physical security

Your servers are an essential part of the company’s infrastructure. Secure them in a climate-controlled room with a lock on the door. Security staff, cameras, and identity verification measures will all help to keep your employees, your systems, and your company safe.

Recycling computer parts

Computer technology is rapidly changing, which means that your organization may have an ongoing need for new devices. When you have computers and other devices that are no longer working, a professional e-recycling service can help. For example, at Urban E-Recycling, we will ensure that the components of a computer system, including the hard drive and circuit boards, are responsibly recycled. Then it’s up to you to maintain hardware security for the new equipment that replaces the outdated models.   

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Mother Nature doesn’t want your old computers but we do. 

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