Monday, January 9, 2017

The Security of Digital Assistants: Who is Listening?

Brian Silverman
iSOA Sales and Marketing Leader

The Security of Digital Assistants: Who is Listening? 

With the recent advertisements depicting the everyday usefulness of the market’s current digital assistant products, such as Google Home, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa, one could begin to believe that they are now required to complete our daily tasks. Although instructing Google Home to turn on your lights prior to your return home may be convenient, consider the implications of these digital requests and how and where that data is being stored.

Simple voice instructions for common household tasks wouldn’t normally raise any concerns for the average consumer, but consider that law enforcement agencies are now requesting access to said stored data, as described in the linked article, below.

And, while there may be some concerns about retail companies using your request history to “suggest” and target ads to you by analyzing your spending habits, we now can see that this stored data could have a much different life outside the server and intended use. Once Alexa (and other digital assistants) are integrated into our cars and cell phones, the outside world will increasingly gain more information about private citizens. Big Brother is watching.

Risks to our privacy should always be on our minds; the introduction of digital assistants just adds one more avenue to exposure.   Innocent business travel requests, confirming a meeting, or something as seemingly innocuous as having your DA read you an email could expose not only your personal information, but your business information, as well. It is essential to question how our spoken requests are being stored and where and with what type of encryption is being used - your business can depend on its safety.

At iSOA Group, Inc. we think about these things…..

We believe it is essential to look at the gateway connections of our customers’ enterprise for a variety of services. One of the main concerns we see today is hybrid cloud integration - when companies transition their data, applications, and services to the cloud.  As more IOT (Internet of Things) devices and "digital assistants" arrive  in the marketplace, the need to look at the broader network and secured connections has to be a top priority.  To this end, we work with clients to apply best practices in the setup of their gateway hybrid cloud integration framework in order to protect their information security, introducing a trusted, flexible solution to move resources to the cloud, and enable them to drive true digital innovation.

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