Hardware And Software: The Love Affair

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Apr 29, 2014 01:28 am PST

Hardware and software are like love and marriage and, to reference the old Sinatra classic, you can’t have one without the other.

I live, breathe, sleep, and eat software, so I understand that it can be difficult to get excited about hardware. After all, it’s the software that does all of the good stuff that amazes us every day. We use software to connect and communicate with people. Software makes things run – it allows us to be productive, send emails, create documents, organize content, and it protects us from security threats.

However, hardware is a huge power player in this relationship. If there is anything that highlights the importance of hardware, it is the fact that the two biggest software giants in the world, Microsoft and Google, rely on more than one million servers each to power their cloud environments.

Hardware and Software Synergies

This love affair is particularly relevant to enterprise IT because hardware can provide an early warning for potentially devastating operational and security related threats to the business. For example, a slow-booting computer is often a sign that it has become infected with some form of malware or signs from the hardware, such as an unresponsive server or a switch failure, can identify a compromised corporate network.

Think about it, hardware is the foundation of everything we do in IT and, without a foundation, the house is not secure. If you tried to install and run a complex application like AutoCAD on a device from the 1990s, how far would you get? First of all, you’d struggle just to get the program onto a floppy disk! Hardware and software development must be synergistic, growing together to meet the demands that they place on one another.

The Perfect Marriage

The perfect marriage of hardware and software can be seen in persistence technology. The key to the success of this technology is the way it keeps hardware and software components working together. The persistence module is embedded into the firmware of most devices (computers, tablets, and smartphones) at the factory. Once activated by the customer, if the hardware component detects that the software agent is missing, it will reinstall even if the firmware has been flashed, the device is re-imaged, the hard drive is replaced, or if a tablet or smartphone has been wiped clean to factory settings.

The hardware module and software agent work together to provide IT with a persistent connection to each device, regardless of user or location. If a bad software app has been installed, a patch fails, or some other potentially damaging event occurs, IT can take action before a security incident can arise. Even a malicious attempt to tamper with a device can be reversed, quickly and remotely.

This synergy between hardware and software highlights the need to respect both parts equally. While it is the software that dazzles us every day, the hardware is the strong, silent partner that carries the software and makes it shine to its full potential.

By Geoff Glave, Senior Product Manager, Endpoint Security, Absolute Software

About Absolute Software

Absolute Software specializes in technology and services for the management and security of mobile computers, netbooks, and smartphones.

For individuals, Absolute Software provides peace-of-mind by physically recovering stolen computers and remotely deleting sensitive files from them. For businesses, we deliver state-of-the-art IT asset management—allowing organizations to reduce IT costs, address regulatory compliance, combat computer theft, and optimize the productivity of their computer, netbook, and smartphone devices.