Securing IoT Devices: Essential Strategies for Businesses
From sensors to cameras, there’s a range of smart devices ready to help you accomplish any task at hand. But in order for these technologies to work together, they must have a way to communicate. That’s where Internet of Things, better known as IoT, comes in.
Through IoT, devices share data to automate and streamline workflows, giving you time to focus on higher-level objectives. Understanding the benefit that these technologies bring, IoT devices make up 30 percent of all devices connected to enterprise networks. And while IoT devices have become a necessity to remain competitive, implementing such technologies can present some risks.
Without proper security and setting configurations, IoT devices have the potential to give cybercriminals access to a network and the data housed inside. Therefore, when it comes to securing IoT devices, here are some concepts to keep in mind.
Inventory Your Internet of Things Devices
Because it’s likely that you’ll be implementing multiple IoT devices across your network, keeping track of these devices should be a primary concern.
Despite this steps importance, many organizations don’t inventory their IoT devices, which also means that they don’t have “centralized control” over them. That said, keeping an inventory doesn’t need to be a complex task. Most basic network management tools can provide you with a detailed list of connected devices and what is happening within the network at any moment.
By performing a basic audit of these devices, you can better determine which IoT technologies to authorize and which to remove, such as those belonging to employees.
Select Secure Devices
Regardless of which types of IoT devices you allow, each should be evaluated to determine what kind of data is stored and transmitted. By evaluating an IoT devices’ security, you can determine if it was designed with security in mind. This concept is called security by design.
Security by design is an approach developers may take to implement safe, secure practices from the onset—rather than placing all the responsibility on the owner of the device.
Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of IoT devices have zero built-in security, leaving them vulnerable to attack.
Stay On Top of Device Updates
For those IoT manufacturers that do practice security by design, they’re likely to support their products long after they’ve been released.
In turn, should a vulnerability surface in their product or its software, reputable device manufacturers will offer updates and security patches to strengthen the device’s defenses.
When these updates become available, it’s essential to immediately update the impacted device. And although updates should show up in your IoT’s settings automatically after they’re released, they’ll likely require you to manually apply them.
Implement Network Segmentation
But what happens if a cybercriminal exploits a vulnerability in an IoT device’s software before a patch is released? Should this occur, a breach in a single IoT device can give a hacker access to your entire network.
Because this scenario is all too common, it’s important to practice what’s know as network segmentation when securing IoT devices.
Through network segmentation, you can either partition part of your network with a firewall or create separate network just for IoT devices. In turn, should an IoT device be breached, hackers are barred from accessing your primary network’s core systems.
Harden Your Endpoints
When you use IoT devices to automate tasks, it’s likely that you’ll set it and forget it until disruption arises. Because of this, many IoT devices have been engineered to operate unobserved. That said, because your IoT devices won’t remain top-of-mind, it’s important to harden the security of these endpoints by taking actions like:
- Encrypting all data collected and stored on devices both in motion and at rest.
- Disabling the possibility for device code injection via web servers
- Closing and securing serial ports
Keep Up with Supplier and Vendor Devices
Although you may take every precaution to protect your IoT devices and your network, your partners and suppliers may not do the same.
For this reason, it’s important to know how your vendors use IoT devices and how they use those technologies when connected to your network. After all, IoT security issues can exist for anyone who is part of your operations.
Tackle Network-Wide Security with Ideal IT
While IoT devices present fresh opportunities to better your organization’s operations, it’s important that that you take the time to properly configure the security of these devices. In turn, many organization’s rely on Rocket IT’s Ideal IT solution to handle the security of across their enterprise networks, from endpoint to endpoint.
Ideal IT puts security first, with common-sense IT strategies to keep your network safeguarded from cyber attacks.
Protect your devices, secure your network, and start leveraging your IT ecosystem to meet your business needs. Ready to discover how it’s done? Request a consultation today!