Security for IoT: How to defend your IoT implementations

To truly unlock the value of IoT, you need to know how you're going to keep your network safe. Here are a few steps to do just that…

Richard Weddle

14/05/2019

According to studies into the hurdles preventing the adoption of IoT, security is one of the major concerns facing any business interested in new technology. If people weren’t concerned about the privacy and safety implications of interconnected devices, they would already be a much more significant part of our lives.

Just like any innovation, IoT implementations are something that requires careful consideration and planning. Businesses are set to spend up to $6 trillion on these devices by 2021 because they can boost workplace efficiency, productivity, and revenue. Of course, to truly unlock the value of IoT, you need to know how you’re going to keep your network safe.

Here are a few steps that businesses can take to prepare their security for IoT.

1.     Encrypt Your Data

Regulations like PCI and MiFID II recommend that all digital data transmitted over the internet should be encoded. This means that if someone manages to access your information, they won’t be able to read it. You can encrypt your data with:

  • Firewalls to protect IoT web applications
  • Wireless protocols with inbuilt encryption
  • Secure Sockets Layer Protocol (SSL) for online tools

While most IoT device providers are now using encryption in design, there are still tools out there that don’t come with encryption built-in. Working with a team like Nice Network to ensure that your platform is secure may be the key to success.

2.     Improve Data Authentication Processes

Often, the most significant issues with IoT security aren’t linked to the devices or tools themselves, but to the passwords and authentication methods that employees use to access their accounts. Countless people use the same password for every account they have. This means that even if someone manages to get your employee’s email password, they could also get into your IoT system.

One of the best ways to upgrade your IoT security services with multi-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of defense to your security strategy, by placing a personal “fingerprint” on top of the standard username and password combination. This way, even if someone guesses a staff member’s password, they won’t have the additional factor needed to log into their account.

3.     Manage the Hardware and Software

Security for IoT needs to be implemented on multiple levels. From a hardware perspective, it’s important to store your devices in a locked room or building. A good way to protect these devices is to keep them locked away in a safe place and limit the number of employees that can access them.

From a software perspective, remember that IoT implementations need to be upgraded over time. The people responsible for your IoT tools and applications will regularly introduce new firmware updates that patch old vulnerabilities in the system. As such, it’s essential to ensure that your devices are up-to-date so you can avoid any unnecessary attacks. Sometimes, it’s possible to automate your IoT devices, so they update without human involvement.

4.     Isolate your IoT Devices

For the safety of your network, it’s often a good idea to isolate your IoT devices. This means that if someone hacks into a machine, they won’t necessarily be able to access your entire business technology stack. Some of the underlying architecture models available for IoT implementations include:

  • Device to device: The IoT applications in the same network connection and connect via protocols such as Bluetooth
  • Device to cloud: The IoT devices in your network connect directly to the cloud and transfer data accordingly
  • Device to gateway: Your device relates to a digital system through a portal, translating protocols, filtering data, and encrypting information at the same time.

Most of the best IoT security practices involve taking a multi-layered approach to protecting your connections and devices. At Nice Network, we can guide you through the available strategies that you can use to isolate and defend your IoT devices.

5.     Invest in Mobile Monitoring

By far, one of the most effective IoT security services that any business can invest in is mobile device monitoring.  While end-to-end encryption and siloed networks are essential, there’s nothing more crucial than knowing the current status of all your IoT devices in real-time. A monitoring solution from Nice Network will show you how your IoT system is improving your business processes, and what you need to do to keep it secure.

We’ll even help you to see how you can keep your investment running smoothly in the long-term by investing in a highly secure IoT platform.

Is Your IoT Security Up to Scratch?

It’s impossible to argue with the benefits that IoT brings to modern businesses. From a better insight into your device network to improved productivity, there are countless ways that these devices can enhance your company. Unfortunately, an HP study found that up to 70% of IoT devices may be vulnerable to some form of attack.

Working with a specialist like Nice Network means that you can identify challenges and opportunities for your business in the IoT space, and make sure that you’re ready for a secure business transformation. Contact us now to find out more.