Today, I spoke to Andy Yang, an engineer on the DPS Technical Support team. I asked about some of the most common types of support calls he handles...
As a former Information Systems Analyst at a government agency, I was all too familiar with Andy's response:
"The most common tech support call I get is about lost or forgotten passwords."
Part of my government work was to provide end-user support. There wasn't a day that passed that I didn't get at least one call to reset a user password.
Of course, in an Active Directory domain environment, password resets were simple. My users were able to log back in within moments after the call was initiated.
The common denominator why clients need password resets? It's limited personnel. People retire, promote, or abruptly become unavailable. It's a reality that every organization will eventually face.
Having a backdoor password in these situations would make for a quick fix. Connecting remotely and providing a password override also produces a swift remedy. If your RTU has this logic programmed - you are at risk. There's always a price to be paid for convenience.
Hackers and others with malicious intent are regularly seeking vulnerabilities. They increasingly penetrate networks with nefarious intent. A backdoor password makes for an easy target to exploit.
Whether you're a telco, a power utility, government agency, a railroad, or just about any other large entity, you're a potential target for terrorism and other threats.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself by making good purchasing choices...
Most of our clients enforce strict network security practices. It's completely understandable. Remote telemetry units (RTU) are used to monitor all of their mission-critical devices. It's one of many reasons why clients choose DPS. They absolutely cannot risk introducing vulnerability into their systems.
For DPS RTUs, lost-password scenarios have only one remedy - factory reset. It may not be what the client wants to hear at that exact moment. However, it does provide for maximum security.
When RTU configuration files are downloaded and saved ahead of time, the factory-reset process is pretty painless. Your password is reset, you can restore your config in a few clicks, and you're back in operation with a known password.
If you are seeking additional layers of security, and a way to more elegantly maintain passwords without forgetting, you have options. The NetGuardian 832A G5 RTU has the ability to utilize the RADIUS protocol.
"RADIUS or Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service protocol was developed by Livingston Enterprises, Inc. It provides centralized authentication, authorization, and accounting management. Using the client/server format, RADIUS passes user information to designated servers and acts on the response that is returned."
If your organization is large, RADIUS gives you a simple way to maintain access to your RTUs. Since all authentication requests are handled by the central server and not the devices themselves, updating user profiles and access permissions only has to be done in one place. Just as I would use Active Directory to reset my user's passwords and assign them to permission groups, RADIUS works in a similar manner.
But RADIUS is more than an easy way to manage user access to your devices. It introduces the ability to account for all attempts at access, authorization, and user activities. This is a must-have for companies implementing strict security procedures.
Here is a brief list of key advantages RADIUS on the NetGuardian 832A G5 can provide:
The NetGuardian 832A G5 provides you with a secure solution for your remote telemetry needs. It's capable of using SNMPv3 adding encryption for the secure transmission of your data. Here are some highlights the NetGuardian 832A G5 offers:
At DPS, we know that - regardless of your company size - security matters. DPS manufactures secure custom remote monitoring units for any size solution you may need. We currently have thousands of companies and agencies that trust us for their monitoring requirements.
Our sales engineers (including me!) are available to assist in your selection or answer any questions you have. Call me today at 559-454-1600 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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