The Internet of Things (IoT) has been one of the hottest topics in technology in recent years as more and more connected devices hit the industrial, consumer, and commercial markets. From smart appliances, TVs, and thermostats to security systems, medical devices, and business tools, there are now more devices than ever that are able to connect and be controlled through the internet.
While this technology has been revolutionary and incredible, it does not come without its risks and threats, especially when it comes to the IoT’s functions within modern businesses. The popularity and exponential growth of the Internet of Things devices have been like a magnet for cybercriminals. They look for ways to steal information through the planting of malware and compromising of systems. Unfortunately, this isn’t an incredibly difficult feat right now.
According to recent studies, 76% of cybersecurity risk professionals believe that the Internet of Things leaves them at risk for cyberattacks and less than 20% can identify a majority of their company’s Internet of Things devices. Thankfully, many organizations are making a wise decision to outsource IT to meet their technical and security needs. To learn more about outsourcing IT, click here: https://www.bairesdev.com/insights/it-outsourcing-services/
How Can Companies Help Secure Internet of Things Devices?
In addition to hiring an IT outsourcing company to take care of your organization’s needs, there are steps that in-house personnel and management can take to help prevent cybercriminals from being able to compromise systems or access private data.
- Make the alignment of IT, security, and operational technology a priority. – If your organization wants to achieve its goals and implement the Internet of Things initiatives, you must understand the risks involved and create a plan to mitigate said risks. This cannot be exclusively done by a single team either. Executives and management must ensure that each and every employee understands the required processes and procedures. Every organization must take proactive action for the identification, tracking, patching, and prevention of threats within their Internet of Things ecosystem.
- Know all devices and systems within the ecosystem. – A security breach can stem from the interconnectivity of third-party software, hardware, and other services. Your organization must be aware of the third-parties associated with these devices and how they are interacting. A third-party risk assessment program or outsourced IT team can help evaluate the risks associated.
- Limit access where possible. – By limiting access to your company’s Internet of Things devices, you are adding an important layer of cybersecurity by cutting down potential weak points. All users authorized to have such devices should be thoroughly trained in cybersecurity best practices. Organizations should use firewalls and access systems to monitor, permit, and deny usage.
- Strengthen authentication and implement two-factor authentication when possible. – A whopping 60% of people report using the same username and password for all of their online accounts. This means if a hacker gains access to one, they gain access to all. Sadly, default login information is also commonly used for Internet of Things devices.
Hackers are able to run scripts that input thousands upon thousands of usernames and passwords into a website or software program until one works. They then have access to private information or are able to take over Internet of Things devices to wreak havoc on your systems. Two-factor authentication is a helpful solution to prevent this issue, as hackers would also need access to a secondary device in order to access any kind of accounts. This includes secondary identity proof such as fingerprints, code generators, text messages, emails, or even facial scans.
- Know every endpoint of your network. – Each endpoint added to your network adds another gateway through which a hacker can attack. Endpoints should be something that your IT outsourcing company keeps track of and monitors as part of overall security management. These devices require constant management and monitoring as well as regular security updates.
- Implement end-to-end encryption. – End-to-end encryption not only protects data as it travels throughout the network but also when stored on a server. Should a cybercriminal gain access to this data, they would not be able to understand or do anything with it.
The Importance of Securing Internet of Things Devices
With the estimated number of Internet of Things devices expected to surpass 41 billion by the year 2025, now is the time for your company to implement necessary security measures and find an IT outsourcing team that you can trust. Organizations must be proactive about ensuring that all IoT devices have security protection and that all employees using these devices have gone through training in proper cybersecurity procedures.
The risk of not complying with proper security practices is simply too great as it is now, and is only going to increase in magnitude and risks as the number of Internet of Things devices continues to grow at an exponential rate.