There is no denying that the Internet of Things is the future for any business that wants to remain competitive. Indeed, IoT makes it possible to connect billions of physical devices to the Internet to ensure efficient collection and sharing of data.
But, despite its benefits, many businesses remain hesitant to adopt IoT and its associated technologies because of security risks. That’s why IoT security is a crucial investment.
IoT security is a set of best practices and technologies that ensure trust, integrity and confidentiality, as well as availability of IoT-connected devices and networks. It protects against IoT threats from and vulnerabilities uncovered by remote hackers.
Importance of IoT Security
While there are benefits to being connected to everything, there are many risks associated with it too. Every connected device stores personal data and acts as a potential entry point for cyber attackers to access your corporate systems and networks.
According to a study conducted by Forrester, approximately sixty seven percent of organizations have fallen victim to security incidents because of insecure or unmanaged IoT devices. Hackers are waiting to take advantage of IoT security vulnerabilities in network systems and devices.
This is where IoT security comes in handy. To prevent the catastrophic consequences of hacking attacks, there is an increasing need to implement IoT security measures. These measures help establish confidentiality and control of data and IoT systems against security vulnerabilities.
IoT Security Layers
There are different security layers at the core of IoT technology:
All IoT-connected devices, whether smartphones, laptops, coffee machines, or refrigerators,, are data collectors. To prevent weak links in your network, you need to secure each device through Device Identification & Authentication.
IoT devices connect with other applications, networks and devices through gateways and connections. These serve as the bridge between IoT devices and the cloud and promote efficient data transfer. Devices in this layer must identify the routing information and identities of all connected devices.
- Cloud Applications
This layer involves the storage and computing of data retrieved from IoT devices. Cloud applications also filter and analyze the collected data before sending back instructions to the devices. However, there is a need to verify data sent and instructions received to ensure that it is genuine.
The last layer in IoT security is the end user. As IoT devices, users are a weak link in the security system. Hence, you need to implement access control and verify all users to prevent unauthorized access to your network.
Benefits of IoT Security
By now, it is obvious why you need to secure your IoT infrastructure. The benefits of IoT security are below:
- Ensures Data Privacy. By encrypting your data, you will prevent hackers from accessing your network and obtaining your sensitive information.
- Enables New Features. When you incorporate IoT security in your operations, you will develop new features without having to worry about theft.
- Promotes Regulatory Compliance. IIoT security allows strong encryptions and authentication commands that adhere to industry-specific rules.
- Promotes Competitive Differentiation. More and more customers are losing their trust in IoT devices due to increased theft incidents. Therefore, incorporating IoT security will give your customers confidence, which will yield a competitive advantage.
How to Improve Your IoT Security
We have identified the threats, vulnerabilities, IoT security layers, and benefits related to IoT security, so now let’s take a look at some simple steps you can take to secure your IoT devices.
Change Default Passwords.
While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to forget to change and update passwords from the default settings. This will render your IoT-connected devices more prone to cyberattacks. After connecting your IoT device to a network, changing the password from the original one is highly recommended.
Ensure that you use a complex password that is difficult to guess and contains various letters, symbols and numbers. Also, a good rule of thumb is to use a unique password for each IoT connected device, making it hard for cybercriminals to crack it.
Your business may also consider using a password vault to protect the passwords and keep them away from strangers. You may also want to ensure that all employees adhere to the password policies that are set.
Implement Access Control. Sometimes, hackers will use unauthorized remote access to gain entry to your internal systems. To prevent this, restrict access to authorized users on your internet of things network firewall. A practical way to do this is to grant access to the network on a need-to-access basis and then withdraw it when necessary. Also, ensure that you keep a thorough documentation list that displays all authorized users.
Improve API Security. Devices connected to API security can be protected against attacks by Application Programming Interfaces (API). When an IoT device is linked to a remote API, it will have a secure connection on an open network.
However, to ensure the most protection for your network from data breaches, API security needs to be top notch. Otherwise, hackers can use a broken or poorly designed API security to access transmitted data.
Segregate Network for IoT Devices. While it’s possible to connect IoT devices directly to your internal network, this may allow for unauthorized access. Instead, put your IoT devices on their network, separate from the internal network.
Keep Tabs on Connected Devices and Your Network. If you have several IoT-connected devices on your network, ensure that you regularly monitor them to ensure safety. Connected devices can be potential access points for hackers, putting your information at risk.
Similarly, perform regular audits on your network to identify any malicious activities and irregularities. Generally, it helps keep a log of metrics and activity to secure your network further.
Refrain From Using Public Wi-Fi. It’s relatively easy to access your IoT network via your smartphone or laptop using public Wi-Fi. This can cause a breach of the data transmitted through the public Wi-Fi.
That’s why it’s a better idea to use a trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows you a private, encrypted gateway to the Internet. The other benefit of using a VPN is that it prevents eavesdroppers from intercepting your communication.
Safe, Secure and System Hack-proof
IoT security is imperative if you want to protect your IoT devices and secure your ecosystem from potential hacking. A solid IoT security plan will let you enjoy the endless advantages that IoT has to offer without worrying about security risks such as system hacks, data loss or reputation damage.