If you’re talking about data with anyone in the Smart City industry, you’ll often be met with the quote: “data is the gold of the 21st century,” or something to that effect. Sometimes the word gold is replaced with oil but the intent is very much the same; data is a valuable commodity. So, what happens if you’re paying for a data transfer but the delivery doesn’t match your investment? We talk about data loss and how to measure and prevent it.
iStock: Galeanu Mihai, ID: 1350595566
In truth, it’s something that gets overlooked. When we’re talking about smart security, the vast majority of people immediately think of cybersecurity, blockchain, multi-factor authentication, and GDPR. We’ve all heard the term “water security” but that’s got nothing to do with armed guards around a reservoir; instead, it’s about making sure that we’re making the most of the reserves that we’ve got, and that’s why packet data transfer—especially during this new age of interconnectivity—is so important.
Data loss is more than losing a USB flash drive. Data loss is the definition of when a packet of data is lost or fails to arrive at its intended destination, this can be from a wireless router, a phone line, or from a satellite. When data is lost, service are disrupted, and digital services can suffer a dramatic loss in their performance.
Introducing QiTASC GmbH
After realizing that there was much more to data transfer than we first thought, we reached out to Alfred Kamper, the Sales Manager for QiTASC GmbH, live from the NRW Pavilion at SCEWC 2022 in Barcelona, for a little more insight. Given the complexity of the topic, we decided to keep our line of enquiry short and simple. Here’s what we learned about QiTASC and the ongoing struggle of data loss.
Alfred, could you tell us a little bit more about your company and what you do?
Alfred: Our company is based in Vienna and has specialised in automated testing of data transfers for ten years.
This means that you need to test the data being transferred from multiple devices, e.g. from phone A to B or from phone A to a smart home device, and make sure that the data quality is right so that the service and the whole thing works perfectly. And if it doesn't, then we show where there is an error along the way of the transmissions. This can be in several steps in between or at the end, and it is important that the technicians know where it happened so that they can fix this error as quickly as possible.
Data is the key to unlocking any Smart City, and without it, or with potential losses, city wouldn’t be able to function. I’m curious, where is QiTASC’s technology currently being deployed?
Alfred: Currently, our technology is being used all over Europe and by many different telecom companies like such as Vodafone and Proximus. Essentially, our services are being used in cities right across the continent, from Spain to Turkey, and say, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. I would say that we deliver our solution worldwide, so to speak.
In previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about the nature of IoT and the importance of strong telecoms infrastructure. Given your experience, what would you say is the future of telecommunications and data transfer? What are the trends that you're seeing?
Alfred: We see more and more devices coming onto the market. In the smart city industry, for example, in a few years we will have thousands, if not millions, of devices transmitting data over the air. And you have to make sure that all these devices work reliably. And the only way to do that is not manual testing, but automated testing. And that's what we deliver and support.
Thanks Alfred, you’ve certainly opened our eyes!
What makes data transfer security so important?
Of course, from a business perspective, any telecom company promising a certain data transfer speed requires regular testing to ensure that customers are recieving the services that they’ve paid for, but there is a more sinister side to data loss that’s less about about the performance of services and more in the realm of traditional cybersecurity.
Any type of data loss can be indicative of an attempted hack or security threat. Data loss can be caused by hackers and other bad actors who intend to crash networks in denial-of-service attacks, literally overloading a network with requests to the point of failure. This is a common type of cyber attack that can be identified using competent data measuring technology.
But there’s more.
Denial-of-service is just one of many ways that data loss causes damage. Data loss can cause delays between communications, such as speaker on one telephone communicating with another, with a delay in the speech delivery, causing miscommunications and lag that can lead to major disruption.
Communication can be disrupted, but packet loss can also create insecure back doors that cyber criminals cam take advantage of. Naturally, this kind of breach can lead to the loss of valuable and sensitive encrypted data. And it’s due to a combination of these reasons that data monitoring and measuring is far more important than you might have thought.
To learn more about QiTASC, visit the company’s website and find out how their services are protecting your data and enhancing your telecommunications experience.
The interview took place at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia offers companies from NRW the opportunity to present their products and services at the trade fair.
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