The technological world is rapidly expanding. The explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) devices presents opportunity for companies across all industries. Sensors are low cost, relatively easy to implement, and built to last for years. The data collected from these devices can be hugely valuable for companies seeking to utilize this information to make impactful changes to daily operations. Public safety officials, city officials, and environmentally conscious companies have already started to adopt IoT sensors to enhance safety, improve city life for residents, and move to more environmentally conscious solutions.

While these devices can prove beneficial, industries must be aware of limitations to IoT and threats to their cybersecurity. Investing in a secure infrastructure is integral to successful implementation. IoT devices are easily scalable and designed for mass usage, but this, coupled with the fact that they are designed to be permanently connected to the internet, creates greater points of risk. Additionally, devices are machine-operated, which increases the difficulty to verify authenticity. Human error also plays a role, as users may choose passcodes that are too simple, or opt out of password protection all together, which leaves devices more open to hacks.

Over the next decade, IDC predicts there will be more than 80B devices produced. In many cases, this has led to challenges for regulatory compliance. The rapidly changing IoT landscape has led to complex, diverse networks, which has led to a lack of standardization for patch management solutions that are designed to fix vulnerabilities. With these concerns at top of mind, industries should invest in best cybersecurity practices that will enable them to build a healthy, secure IoT ecosystem.

5 Pillars of IoT Security

  • Least Privilege — Access to devices must be carefully considered. Management should assess the job functions of every individual engaging with IoT devices and only give their users the necessary access needed to perform their jobs. Additionally, system components should be limited to only the functions vital to perform their purpose. By limiting users and components, this reduces the threat of security breaches.
  • Micro-segmentationTo better protect devices, companies should seek to divide their IT environment into smaller parts. If a particular segment were to be compromised, micro-segmentation would make it more manageable to contain damages and limit the attacker’s ability to move from one application to another.
  • EncryptionIt is imperative that data be encrypted as it is stored or transmitted. Considering the “surface area” for attacks increases with the total number of connected devices, companies must invest in this critical step. Were a data breach to occur, the attacker would end up with unreadable data. This protects sensitive information and critical files from being stolen.
  • Multi-factor AuthenticationTo enhance security, companies should adopt a process where user identity and system components are verified by more than just simple password. To enhance overall security, users and systems must be required to enter multiple factors. The complexity of verification should directly relate to the risk associated to the requested access or function.
  • Patching — Though reliable standardization may not exist, companies can limit risks to their IT infrastructure by keeping systems maintained. This step is key absolutely necessary, as any system that is outdated is a point of vulnerability that attackers can infiltrate through. Ensuring a device is updated consistently reduces the potential for a security risk.

 

Want to learn more about how Live Earth and VMware integrate to provide users with one IoT infrastructure that secures, manages, and visualizes IoT devices? Visit the VMware Pulse IoT Center dedicated Partner page.

 

Key Takeaway

Cybersecurity is constantly changing, and companies must invest in both practices and technology that enhance the safety of their systems. Data breaches are still present, despite efforts from major corporations to adopt the latest technology or systems. That strategy will enhance security, but making these steps a fundamental part of security efforts can help prevent data breaches and limits the scope of damage if one were to occur. Technology will continue to advance, and the companies that adopt these strategies will be able to apply this method to all new systems they put in place, greatly enhancing their security efforts to minimize breaches.

Curious to learn more?  Get full access to the Live Earth + VMware Webinar Building and Visualizing a Secure Physical and IoT Infrastructure for insights from industry experts Mimi Spier, VMware VP of Edge and IoT Business, and Craig Johnston, VP of Business Development at Live Earth.

 

 

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