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Best Internet of Things Security Practices for Your Company

Headshot of a woman By Jennifer Warren November 25, 2019

Categories: IT Insights Managed Mobility

Your Company’s Internet of Things Security

Internet of Things connected devices are growing at a phenomenal speed. With this growth, outside threats increasingly target company assets: devices, machines and equipment. In 2018, endpoint security spending amounted to 373 million dollars. By the end of 2019, it will have grown to 459 million dollars. And those numbers will continue to grow with each passing year.

IoT with a Purpose

When organizations deploy an IoT product, they are looking for increased operability and ease of use for the end-user. At the same time, they are looking to ensure proper security measures are in place both for the individual devices and network interfaces. The goal of the Internet of Things is to share, analyze and utilize data.

The Importance of Internet of Things Security

Why is security so important? One security breach affecting one device could mean large amounts of compromised data. With the IoT, one device could interface with a variety of other devices or systems, reaching beyond typical set ups.

Take for example, your coffee machine. When you plug it in the socket, the machine receives all the electricity it needs through the plug to work. Imagine that electricity is data, being transmitted or communicated to one device.

In the IoT ecosystem, there is no such thing as one line of communication. At its core, it is several devices and systems communicating with each other through a vast network. That network will touch and transmit data through several other systems. One “break” or “leak” in that communication can affect and compromise data from all devices and systems, not just one.

IoT Best Practices

So how should your company handle internet of things security? Here are a few best practices:

User Authentication

This is a control mechanism that only allows those who have permission to access specific networks and data. While it may seem like overkill, companies should go with two-factor authentication. The 1st authentication for the user will be their password and the 2nd will be a code sent via SMS.

Context-based Authentication

This allows users to access web applications based on information like user roles, group memberships, device usage, location (IP Address) and geographical location. The users are authenticated by their “normal” behavior. So say an employee works remotely and usually logs-in on their computer at home. Instead of asking for a password, a system using context-based authentication will use this regular behavior as the baseline to identify the user.

Network Segmentation

This occurs when you split your network of connected devices into separate tiers or subsegments. In the event of a breach, it will only affect one subnet or subsegment, not all data from all systems or devices. Professionals can build network segmentation into your Network Operating System (NOS) using the fabric approach. The fabric approach connects all devices over any existing network in which components pass data to each other through nodes like switches and routers.

Data Encryption

Make sure to encrypt all data during transit. Implement audit trails and check points within your systems. That way, if any suspicious activity occurs in real-time, you’ll be alerted. When you do detect a threat, it’s equally important to have strategies in place. It just makes mitigating the damage and addressing the issues easier and more timely.

Device Firmware

As we all know, mobile devices and equipment come with factory installed firmware. These devices and equipment don’t typically update automatically. Firmware can be updated without user authentication. That means a pretty big hole in your security. Patch it by creating a strategy for routine device updates. This effectively closes back doors left open for hackers to enter.

Security Specific to Your Company’s IoT

Just remember, the more complex and diverse your interface is, the tighter your security needs to be. The more robust your network of devices are, the more you open yourself up to security breaches. Managing your network interface and having systems in place for the possibility of a breach is crucial. Curious to know how Motus can help? Connect with us about maintaining your IoT with security at top of mind!

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