The Internet of Things (IoT) has been growing exponentially for years. As IoT applications grow, security risks increase. IoT commonly refers to smart devices that interconnect one’s home, vehicles, media systems, security systems, and even medical devices. While IoT applications can simplify many things in life, they come with complex security issues.
For instance, we can look at two common IoT security risks to understand how troubling these security vulnerabilities can be. Smart home assistants are IoT devices that are increasingly becoming necessary to manage many of the basic functions in the home. However, these smart speakers are always connected to listen for commands. This connectivity has allowed cybercriminals to eavesdrop and identify sensitive personal information, such as passwords and credit card information. Additionally, with many smart commercial buildings using IoT devices to automate and maintain environmental conditions, there is a risk that the applications could be controlled by external threats once access is gained to the system.
The result of an IoT security breach can be dire. It can lead to great financial losses and negatively impact your company’s reputation. Several actions can mitigate the risk that comes with widespread IoT applications, such as:
- Work with developers that take IoT security seriously. Developers should ensure that security is paramount during all functions, starting with boosting it through regular updates. Additionally, developers must also prioritize emerging vulnerabilities and security risks. Taking into consideration the evolution of cybercrime is essential in staying vigilant.
- Select products with strong reputations. While selecting a generic brand to save a few bucks may be easy, this mistake can be costly. Often, lesser-known brands don’t have as many security measures built into their design and programming. This feature makes them a security risk. When you partner with IoT companies with a great reputation, you will often have a superior product with greater digital protection.
- Communicate with your vendors. IoT devices have many vulnerabilities and weak points. Nobody knows this better than the manufacturers and vendors. Moreover, it is in their best interest to identify these vulnerabilities as soon as possible and develop a solution that makes their product safer. For this reason, it is crucial to speak frequently with the vendors to get the information required about operations and updates that will enhance your security measures. And once you know about an update, install it as soon as possible. This action will ensure that your devices have the latest security measures to provide optimal protection.
- Use strong passwords. This bit of advice is essential for maintaining security across your entire business. However, many users often fail to add a password or adopt a weak one for IoT devices because they assume that these devices would be a low priority for hackers. The opposite is true.Since these devices usually have weak security, they are a prime target for cyber-attacks. Once a hacker has gained access to your network via an IoT device, much more damage can be done.
- Work with a managed IT service provider. Managing many different IoT endpoints can become incredibly complex, and it is easy to overlook one. But just one vulnerability can leave your entire network at risk. When you work with a contractor who delivers managed IT services, you can trust that they will spend the time required to ensure all IoT devices are properly secured and updated. It allows you to focus on other issues related to running and growing your business.
- Segment IoT devices. Once an organization understands the IoT risks across its network, it may be appropriate to segment these devices into policy-driven groups based on risk profiles. This action ensures that much of your operations will remain untouched even if one device is compromised.
There is no denying that IoT applications will continue to grow over the coming years. By next year, 70% of enterprises will run varying levels of data processing at the IoT edge, and 43% of AI tasks will happen on IoT devices. And just a few years later, by 2025, IoT devices are expected to generate approximately 55% of all data. These predictions demonstrate how vital IoT will be for many businesses and organizations, both now and in the near future. However, as we continue to rely on IoT for greater functionality, the security risks will also continue to grow. To learn more about how managed IT services can enhance your operations and protect your network, including IoT devices, contact Sagacent Technologies today.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.