The increased frequency with which people and companies use smart and connected devices has led to an increase in the importance of more stable and secure IoT networks. IoT devices make it easier and faster for users to access more and higher quality information when they need it. Because of the never-ending threat of data leaks and unauthorized data access, companies must invest in security to ensure that their networks and devices are not doing more harm than good. Here we discuss IoT data security in detail.
In a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute, more than 20% of companies that reported data breaches or cyberattacks in 2018 traced the attack to an unsecured IoT device. IoT network and device security is a highly researched topic, but more must be done–by users, by companies, and by policymakers–to secure IoT networks and ensure business and private data security.
Here we talk about some of the ways you can always keep your IoT data safe.
Secure Individual Devices
By strengthening the security of individual IoT devices, you can make it harder for hackers or other malicious characters to access your information. Use the following methods and techniques to keep your devices safe and secure.
Two-factor authentication is a security protocol that verifies a user’s identity using a step beyond just a password. This method makes it more difficult for a device to be attacked or breached using a single correct sign-in. Using two-factor authentication, a would-be attacker would have to bypass an additional security layer beyond basic login and password credentials. This could be a fingerprint, an SMS message, or a facial scan. A required secondary confirmation alongside a strong login and password combination can help secure your devices. Even if authorized users forget their passwords, 2FA makes it easier for them to regain access to their devices instantly.
Regularly Update Device Software
To keep IoT devices safe and protect your data, you must regularly update the device’s drivers and software. One reason IoT devices are prone to hacks and other security breaches is that they are somewhat harder to patch as compared to servers and computers. As a business, you should keep patch management in mind and understand its importance in securing your IoT devices and networks.
Do Not Use Universal Plug-and-Play Features
A wide range of IoT smart devices come with UPnP features that allow different IoT devices to locate and connect with each other. This makes it easier to use such devices because you do not have to locate, connect, and configure each one of them individually. However, these features typically use local networks to establish a connection and transmit data, and they can be vulnerable to unauthorized access. If or when an attack occurs, a hacker could potentially gain instant access to multiple devices at the same time. For security reasons, it is best to turn off these features on your devices.
Utilize Secondary Networks
When using your Wi-Fi router at the office or home, use the multiple network creation feature. This feature allows you to create a secondary network solely for IoT devices. Even if a hacker was to gain access to one set of devices on one network, they would not have access to other, potentially more sensitive IoT devices that run on a parallel network or a secondary connection that holds, for example, encrypted data or shared files.
Eliminate Devices that Pose Risks
As a business owner, you must regularly audit the security and value-added of your devices and networks. Some devices may not be as crucial to your business operations as you believe, and if they pose an unjustifiable level of risk, then it is best to remove them or shift them to a different network. For example, facility devices and fixtures do not need to be connected to business process networks, even if from an efficiency standpoint, it makes sense to have smart lights and similar devices on the same network. Also, business owners can invest in a single device, if available, that can replace multiple devices. The fewer devices you use, the lower your risk of a hack or security breach will be.
Securing IoT Networks
In addition to securing the physical devices in your company, you can secure your IoT networks and your business data in the following ways.
Control Activity on IoT Devices
Employees and business owners should be aware of the risks that individual devices pose to the business. You can then make decisions based on a cost-benefit analysis of what a device contributes to your bottom line and the risks of having that device on your network. It would be best if you considered the implications of connecting specific devices to critical applications such as insurance and banking accounts. As a company, you should implement policies that limit the use of connected devices on highly secured networks or use multiple networks to run devices with different security thresholds.
Review IoT Security Protocols of Suppliers and Vendors
Suppliers and vendor devices are potential entry points for unauthorized access to your devices, and any data they transmit. For example, one highly publicized data breach at Target was traced to a third-party vendor’s unsecured HVAC system that allowed hackers to gain access to company files. If your company works closely with businesses using IoT devices, you must regularly evaluate and survey your network to pinpoint unusual traffic patterns. You can also choose to work only with suppliers and vendors that have specific IoT certifications. IoT data certification programs are becoming increasingly popular in the B2B space. You can even set up your system so that IoT devices are regularly monitored and are configured to only approve connections with authenticated servers and devices.
Understand Your Network Architecture
As a business owner, you must understand your IoT network architecture. This will make it easier to separate sensitive IoT networks from regular business networks. You will be able to set up additional security measures to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access from occurring at any level of the business.
IoT devices can improve processes and decision-making, but they come with inherent risks if they are not used or appropriately managed. As a business owner, you must learn about the threats that your company faces and take corrective and preventive actions to protect yourself, your business, and your consumers from these threats and reduce the chances of suffering a data breach or information theft.
Kajeet’s Solutions Engineers can help you plan, set up, and run an IoT program that secures your data and optimizes data usage across all aspects of your operations. Whatever field or industry you operate in, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our IoT Solution Engineers.