The Internet of Things presents countless advantages. From monitoring the freshness of food in supermarket refrigerators to empowering smart parking in commercial spaces to alerting office managers when doors and windows are left open, IoT technology is helping businesses become efficient, safer, and more secure.
Business stakeholders are seeking out IoT solutions to stay competitive and reduce operational costs, but if not implemented and monitored correctly, IoT can present more risks than rewards.
With the release of new IoT devices come unknown vulnerabilities. Manufacturers are introducing new devices to the market daily. It’s crucial to know that the devices you’re selecting are secure from potential cyberattacks.
For example, Samsung smart fridges were exploited in 2015 to steal Gmail users’ login information and a Russian site aggregated and exposed the views from 73,000+ security camera locations in 250+ countries which were set up ineffectively with default usernames and passwords that were never updated.
And while with time, IoT manufacturers have greatly improved their security checks, there’s currently no universal standard for securing IoT devices. It’s therefore important to check for updates to your IoT devices, which are often released to ensure further security.
There are precautionary steps your business can take, updates included, to prevent your devices from being used for spying or unintentionally leaking confidential information about your monitored spaces.
It’s crucial to make software updates at times when you can safely take your devices offline or in a method where you can account for potential software corruption which could occur.
Also, devices which aren’t updated regularly are often subject to malware botnets. If a botnet gains access to a single device it’s usually not a massive threat and is fixable, but the idea of malware appearing on hundreds of devices presents a serious security problem for your business.
Another common issue is the lack of user knowledge. Since IoT is still so new and constantly evolving, it can even baffle experienced IT professionals.
IoT users who don’t fully understand what they’re doing can drive IoT security risks. This lack of awareness of potential hacks can often be mitigated by enlisting an IoT expert partner to work with your in-house IT to secure all of your building’s devices.
Moreover, just because you can lean on technology to monitor your devices, doesn’t mean you always should. It’s often crucial to check on devices installed in remote locations. Isolation of your devices without a “human check-in” could risk hackers gaining access to private information or tampering with your data.
The bottom line
These risks should not scare you from implementing or expanding on your business’s IoT plans. It’s simply important to remain educated and aware of how to effectively tackle and manage IoT implementation to ensure security.
With the diversity of device types, manufacturers, brands, and models, your in-house team likely doesn’t have all of the knowledge or time to dedicate to learn how to safely secure all of the IoT gadgets you business may have currently or need.
“In order to leverage the most value out of your IoT solution, you’ll need multiple sensor types to enable you to get the custom workflow you need,” says Amir Unger, Co-Founder and Head of AI, Analytics, and Automation at Axonize.
Unger suggests businesses implement and use a system which is built:
- On top of a certified cloud provider
- With isolation in mind as to minimize any chance that one device misbehaving will affect other devices.
- To support cloud to cloud integrations, which are safer because there is less opportunity for an attacker to influence the data stream
If it’s even a bit unclear about how to ensure your business or building is mitigating all of these IoT risks, you should enlist a partner that lives and breathes the ever-evolving world of IoT and can help with device discovery problems.
Different IoT considerations for the home versus business
It’s also important to note that the approaches for managing the security implications of IoT should be different between smart homes and smart businesses or buildings, notes Unger.
“When bringing an IoT device into your home, make sure you only use a trusted manufacturer. You should prefer a closed ecosystem and try to avoid generic IoT sensors unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing,” Unger said.
Please feel free to contact us here should you want an Axonize expert to serve as your partner. You can also check out this complete, complimentary guide for system integrators on real-life IoT case studies.