Plug & Play

Plug & Play, sometimes abbreviated to PnP, is a technology that allows peripheral devices to be connected to a computer and used almost immediately. All the user has to do is plug the device into a free computer port, with no need for manual configuration and no need to install a driver. One of the first companies to introduce this technology was Microsoft. Plug & Play was first available in Windows 95.

Plug & Play: How it works?

Before Plug & Play became a standard feature of the most popular operating systems, users had to manually set up expansion cards and peripheral devices in a multi-step process and install suitable drivers for each hardware component.

With Plug & Play, the newly connected hardware component creates a unique identification code instead. The computer then uses this code to recognise the hardware and allocate the required computer resources, as well as automatically configuring parameters required for operation and loading the correct drivers. This automated process allows users to connect devices to the USB port of their computer and start working with them straight away. It also enables fast, convenient zero-touch provisioning of new hardware –an example of this is Cloudya, the cloud telephone system from NFON.

Plug & Play and security

While it is convenient, the Plug & Play technology can also introduce security risks. In principle, a malicious actor can compromise a computer by simply plugging in hardware – such as a manipulated USB stick –, thus gaining unauthorised access to data in order to manipulate this data or to install malware. This is why business computers often have the Plug & Play feature of their USB ports protected or completely deactivated.

NFON takes security very seriously. In January 2020, we introduced a new, patented technology for the secure auto provisioning of end devices. The NFON platform now requires two-factor authentication (2FA) for newly connected hardware devices. When commissioning new phones, users must enter a one-time, six-digit Phone Authentication PIN (PAP). This prevents cyber attacks and increases the level of security for all users. Read more about it here: NFON AG introduces two-factor- authentication for hardware

PnP, plug & play, definition

Further information

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