The freedom internet has brought to the world is incredibly liberating. From casual IoT like smart homes, wearables, vehicles, etc. to seamless connectivity in the industrial space has changed the way how businesses operate. The internet of things has proven its potential in a myriad of ways, as discussed in our previous post. Unfortunately, great innovations are accompanied by the dangers of being exploited just as easily.
With an increase in the usage of IoT-connected devices across enterprises, newer vistas for hackers have also opened up. As more businesses incorporate IoT-connected regimes in their day-to-day operations, the risk of data breaches and other security threats must be taken into account.
So, pace yourselves as we dive further into the world of IoT, discussing security strategies from enterprises that are using connected devices. The best approach to safeguard your company from hacking through connected devices is to be vigilant in the network from the starting point. Follow along to learn how.
Understanding IoT Security Challenges
Safeguarding your business from security breaches begins with identifying the most vulnerable points. There are a number of common security challenges when it comes to IoT, including:
- One challenge is the fact that IoT devices are often not as secure as traditional computing devices, making them more vulnerable to attack.
- Another challenge is the sheer number of connected devices, which can make it difficult to manage and secure them all.
- Additionally, many IoT devices collect and transmit sensitive data, which creates privacy and security concerns.
- Finally, the interconnected nature of IoT means that a security breach in one device or system can potentially impact other devices and systems.
Expert-Recommended IoT Security Strategies
The internet of things is a wonderful space, where innovations take form and businesses can thrive abundantly. However, security takes precedence, thus, enterprises need to be proactive in order to protect their devices and data. Following are some steps that enterprises can take to ensure the security of their IoT devices:
- Start with a Strategy
Effective IoT security starts with an organized plan so no stone is left unturned. This means you will need to create a tightly integrated security strategy between your IT and business strategies.
Your IoT security strategy needs to cover all areas that utilize the IoT network. It needs to detail, for each situation, the security measures that will be taken and how they will be monitored and reviewed. Hence, when designing your security system, you need to take a holistic look at your IT architecture and any endpoints before it’s too late.
- Focus on Ongoing Training
One of the many ways hackers can breach your IoT is through human failure. That’s why training new hires and existing employees are crucial to your cyber security strategy.
Security should be the cornerstone of any training for employees who work with IoT devices. They need to know about the dangers of shadow IoT, which is happening as IoT devices become more commonplace. If employees connect their home devices to your network, they’re opening the door to hackers. They need to learn if a device might have limited functionality (e.g., a smart kettle) or no functionality at all (e.g., a window shade) but they should know that doesn’t limit the device’s hacking potential: any small crack can be enough to let a criminal wiggle into your business. Another thing security-conscious employees should be trained in is how to use anomaly detection and granular audit trails to find threats before they become major issues.
- Robust Firewalls & Protection
Protecting the entirety of the enterprise is key. As we know, malware can enter a network in myriad ways and exploit vulnerabilities with ease. However, some protection is better than none at all. One thing to consider would be endpoint hardening. This includes blocking high-risk ports on devices, disabling unencrypted communications and wireless connections, as well as protecting against malicious code injection.
- Strengthen User Access Management
The importance of a strong password is widely promoted, but one needs to acknowledge that a password is just one lock in the gate. Access to accounts and personal data must be stronger and multi-step.
Hence, having a strong identity and access management system so that your employees can easily monitor their login activity, use two-factor authentication where possible, and only access devices they are authorized to use. You should also make sure the identity management is compatible with IoT devices. Even if you’ve already got a great identity management system in place, you should check that it still works well with future IoT connections.
Lock it in
As enterprises increasingly adopt connected devices, it is important to consider the security implications of these devices. We hope this article shed some light on the evident risks and has provided you with actionable steps to audit your IoT network to implement the right security measures.