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How to Prevent a Virtual Assistant from Compromising Your Security

Virtual assistants have a lot of promise as a productivity tool, so it only makes sense that they would begin to appear in the workplace. Unfortunately, these devices have also gained a reputation as a security risk. Whether or not you’ve considered bringing virtual assistants into your business, you need to prepare for their presence there.

From Apple’s Siri, to the Google Assistant, to Microsoft’s Cortana, to Amazon’s Alexa, these voice-activated solutions have appeared in our computers, our mobile devices, and in stand-alone devices.

As they have become more commonplace, they have grown in capabilities. Many of these capabilities are admittedly well-suited for the workplace – but the always-on microphones that these devices rely on to function make many pauses. After all, there’s the potential for sensitive data to be sent along to a third party if it is merely spoken aloud in this device’s presence.

This has created a quandary for those wishing to leverage these devices – do the benefits outweigh the potential risks of such an implementation?

Here, we’ve assembled a few considerations that should help make these risks less of a factor.

Just Another Internet of Things Device

The risks inherent in Internet of Things devices have been clearly documented. One notable example was the Mirai botnet, which enslaved IoT devices to power its attacks. Furthermore, it seems to be easy to forget that these virtual assistants are simply another Internet-connected device.

However, if you keep that in mind, you may find it much simpler to outline policies for these devices that can help to reduce your potential security risk. For instance, if there is a location in your office where sensitive information is spoken aloud, a virtual assistant shouldn’t be placed there. Furthermore, you don’t want to put your business’ network at risk, so it would make more sense to establish a secondary wireless network for these devices to use. That way, even if these devices are infiltrated, the rest of your network isn’t made vulnerable as a result.

Whose Devices are They?

Data privacy and ownership is a big deal in business, which could potentially complicate our issue further. Let’s say an employee were to bring in their own virtual assistant. While this may reduce the business’ capital investment into the use of a virtual assistant, there are a lot of concerns regarding security and privacy. How can you enforce data privacy if the data is being accessed by a device that you can’t control?

Policies Are Your Greatest Asset

In order to keep your business safe, while still embracing the benefits that virtual assistants can bring to the workplace, you need to set firm controls on how they can be used. There should be the assumption that one of these devices can always be listening, leading to a policy of keeping these assistants out of areas where sensitive information is regularly discussed.

This awareness should also spread over to your other devices. There are already plenty of microphones and potential vulnerabilities in the office. Phones can have their firmware hacked, and laptops can have monitoring software installed without your knowledge.

Palindrome Consulting can help you be sure that your business remains secure against a variety of threats while still enjoying the use of different technologies. Call us at 305-944-7300 to learn more.

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Elizabeth Mitrani
Elizabeth Mitrani
17:23 06 Aug 19
Palindrome Consulting was key in establishing my business and helps me keep it running. They are the consummate... professionals, incredibly knowledgeable and are always available to help. They have gone above and beyond to ensure that I was up and running quickly and that any issues that may arise on my end or dealt with immediately. I highly recommend Palindrome Consulting.read more
Moshe Rubinstein
Moshe Rubinstein
14:57 28 Jun 19
They are there every step of the way. Responsive and timely. The full service mentality mixed with the problem solving... abilities, is what makes them an easy choice.read more
Benjamin Wainberg
Benjamin Wainberg
14:09 28 Jun 19
Palindrome Consulting is customer centric. For Palindrome Data Safety is paramount; they keep their and our systems... updated with the newest technologies and are not shy at changing to better alternatives. Their platforms are always running and in the odd case there is an event, their technical team has an awesome response time.read more
Copier Man
Copier Man
13:56 28 Jun 19
We have been using Palindrome since 2005. They make my company feel like we are #1 all the time. Expert staff are... always available to help all my users all around the country.read more
Martin Feldman
Martin Feldman
16:43 26 Jun 19
As a partner in Fischer & Feldman, P.A. we have utilized Palindrome Consulting as our IT experts for many years. In... addition to keeping our server up and running, they are available to consult on the everchanging cloud and web landscape. We could not function as a successful law firm without their constant care, attention and almost IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TIME.read more
Rebecca Fischer
Rebecca Fischer
16:39 26 Jun 19
Palindrome has been my IT company for more than 15 years. We have been through four server and computer replacements... over the years all of which went smoothly. As technology has changed Palindrome has kept us current in their recommendations and are extremely responsive when we run into a software or hardware problem. We have been through hurricanes with Palindrome and felt confident they would have us up and running as quickly as possible and despite the fact we are probably a smaller client, they have treated us as one of their most important clients. I highly recommend Palindrome and have complete confidence in their capabilities and service. They have even gone the extra mile when we wanted to donate our old computers to a children's special needs school and delivered the computers, set them up and provided service for the same. Ilan Sredni is the consummate professional and has surrounded himself with top professionals and skilled technicians.read more
Nelson T
Nelson T
20:32 25 Jun 19
Palindrome Consulting has proven itself time and time again to be the epitome of professionalism and technical... expertise. They take the time to listen to your needs and then apply their wealth of technical knowledge to create truly innovative and robust solutions. They truly deliver piece of mind.read more
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