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Networks & Automation Part 2: Network Reliability

There has been a lot made in the news lately about hacking, cyber security and the so-called internet of things. As automation and smart home technology become more and more ubiquitous, and more of our devices become connected, the threat of an outside agent gaining access to your home through these technological back doors becomes more and more real. This is why, according to recent reports, 6 out of 10 Americans don’t trust their home to be controlled by an array of smart devices or a control system, specifically due to the threat of cyber-crime.

GMI understands these cyber security threats, which is why we take extensive steps to ensure all of our custom built control systems are as secure as they are effective.

Whether it is the sensitive business information in your office or the privacy of your home and loved ones, we are committed to protecting the health and security of our client’s control systems from outside agents. 

All of our standard level systems are programmed with customized firewalls, built to understand the nuances and interconnected networks of a Crestron control system. These systems work by isolating out individual packets and ensuring any packets that do not belong are eliminated prior to entering into the system. A packet is a unit of data that is routed between an origin and a destination on the Internet or any other packet-switched network. The care we take into writing our Crestron control code and building our network infrastructure at such nuanced levels, allows the system to know exactly what is supposed to be happening and when. Incorrect packets or commands trigger fail-safes which will not allow the system to take commands that aren’t supposed to be there.

Some of our customers, specifically those who work in the financial industry, need an additional level of cyber-security in order to protect their own assets as well as privileged company information. For these individuals, we install what is known as an advanced threat management system. Advanced threat protection or ATP refers to a category of security solutions that defend against sophisticated malware or hacking-based attacks targeting sensitive data. Using Sonicwall managed switches we are able to run software that anticipated threats from the outside, and intelligently mitigates the system to prevent them from getting in.  This level control system management allows us to run constant updates for new hacks and new bugs to ensure that systems are up to date with the latest in cyber-security measures.

Last but not least, we have the matter of Smart TV’s and other internet connected devices which are the favorite targets of hackers and cyber-criminals. We solve this issue by simply isolating these devices from the outside internet, over-riding them at the control system level. We also remove all network capabilities are TVs and audio devices and control them serially directly from the Crestron control system itself. This allows the previously discussed security measures to form a wall around these otherwise vulnerable devices, allowing our client’s the peace of mind to trust their control system to both automate and protect their home.


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