Don’t Let Legacy Technology Compromise Warehouse Security

By Aik Jin, Tan, Vertical Solutions Lead, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific

“Warehouse operations using aging technology solutions are highly susceptible to cybersecurity threats. Legacy solutions are prime targets for security threats. They leave doors unlocked in today’s aggressive cybersecurity environment.”

By 2022, an estimated 50 billion devices will be interconnected to the Internet of Things (IoT)[1] globally. In fact, IoT investments in India were estimated to be close to USD5 billion in 2019, and are expected to triple to USD 15 billion by 2021 across both technology products and services components. By the end of 2019, India had 200-250 million connected devices, and this number is expected to grow exponentially to 2 billion devices by 2021.

As IoT grows rapidly, so does the quantity of connected devices in warehousing today. This opens up innumerable points of access for cyberattacks with costly repercussions. According to IBM Security’s annual study, the average total cost of security breaches for India was about Rs 140 million (USD1.9 million) in 2020, an increase of 9.4% from 2019. Therefore, it is vital for warehouse operators to modernize their technology solutions and secure their operations against data breaches which are costly and disruptive. Any device connected to a network is an endpoint available for an attack.

In these challenging times, it is essential that warehouse operations continue to run smoothly, and that inventory visibility is maintained.

The need to upgrade solutions to avoid security threats Warehouse operations using aging technology solutions are highly susceptible to cybersecurity threats. Legacy solutions are prime targets for security threats. They leave doors unlocked in today’s aggressive cybersecurity environment.

According to Carbon Black, 50% of attacks attempt to “island hop”, which is to access networks of any organization in a company’s supply chain. This means that inadequate security in your warehouse puts your business partners at risk too. Based on a cybersecurity study, Indian manufacturing companies detected the most malware among the sectors surveyed, at more than 28%. In addition, they have become more vulnerable to cyberattacks after shifting to Cloud infrastructure and services[1].

Even if IT security for warehousing operations takes measures to protect the company from top trending IoT security challenges, emerging threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, putting ios: day-to-day operations at stake. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Hackers enter your mobile device management (MDM) applications because Wi-Fi settings and Bluetooth® connections are not secured against accidental connections.
  • Transitioning from a legacy Warehouse Management System (WMS) to a modernized enterprise WMS without appropriate mobile computers in place, leaving security gaps that are susceptible to breaches.
  • Mobile computers used inside and outside the four walls could have been compromised because security patches have not been managed and updated proactively on a regular schedule, or because they are difficult to locate.
  • Malware enters through printer connections because networked printers are not configured to quickly apply security updates.
  • Sensitive data is accessed because proper encryption and security settings are not applied to printers in service, or printers are not safely relocated or retired with data protected by resetting all user settings and removing user files. Access on mobile computers has not been restricted to only business applications, and users are accessing websites or personal email and accidently downloading malware. To optimize security, warehouse operations and IT decision makers need to assess their entire line of technology solutions—from MDM applications and WMS and enterprise systems, laptops and tablets to endpoints not commonly recognized as highly vulnerable, such as handheld mobile computers and enterprise printers.

Warehouse 4.0 is here and now The most secure option for modernizing warehousing with mobile computers is to migrate to enterprise-class, Android™-based mobile devices. Android-based solutions incorporate security features which are built in as a core competency, rather than tacked on as an afterthought. More importantly, warehouse 4.0 is here, modernization is in full gear, and migrating to Android is essential for today’s warehouse.

What needs to be done to secure the rest of the technology throughout your warehouse operations? Look at these measures below to lock down each entry point.

  • Automate appropriate management for locating solutions certification, such
  • as WLAN and Bluetooth security certifications management.
  • Secure printers—security intelligence inside printers is as important as the security inside the operating system (OS) of a laptop, tablet, or handheld mobile computer.
  • ·Choose printers with embedded security features, such as those that offer protection during OS upgrades or other unauthorized changes, encrypting all connections, providing real-time visibility and management and the capability to remotely update security throughout their lifecycles.
  • ·Align practices with the guidelines and laws established by globally recognized security organizations, including FIPS-140, PCI-DSS, GDPR, ISO and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework.

Modernizing goes beyond security Warehouse operations that are slow to modernize increase their vulnerability to security breaches with repercussions that involve compromising the privacy of sensitive data, operational downtime, revenue losses, legal or regulatory infractions and harm to a company’s reputation.

In addition, it is also a missed opportunity to meet today’s on-demand economy requirements. Taking advantage of migrating to a modern OS for all connected devices and technology, such as mobile computers and printers, will enable workers to fulfill greater order volume and velocity by streamlining workflows, optimizing efficiencies and accelerating operations powered with data-driven insights.

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