As enterprises look to implement the IoT within their IT infrastructure, there are certain security concerns that need to be addressed.
While, for some time, the Internet of Things was simply a concept, connected devices are now being deployed both in individual residences as well as within business settings. However, as enterprises look to implement the IoT within their IT infrastructure, there are certain security concerns that need to be addressed.
What potential does the IoT hold? And how can businesses ensure the proper protection? Let’s take a look:
IoT potential: Use cases
There are several IoT devices that are making their way into enterprise environments, including those that help manage and control utility consumption.
IT World Canada noted that devices like the Nest smart thermostat and Green Wave smart lighting systems are becoming increasingly popular. Through remote management, these enable business users to keep a better eye on their energy usage and help ensure that resources aren’t being unnecessarily used when no one is in the office.
The IoT is also enabling companies in industrial sectors to monitor their trucks and machinery. These monitoring system help managers better oversee the condition of their vehicles and machines, providing opportunities for preventative maintenance.
Even the trend toward near-field communication payments hinges on the IoT.
A possible threat
While the IoT has considerable potential when it comes to an array of enterprise industries, there are certain threats that these organizations must be aware of.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ IoT Security Report, there were nearly 4 billion connected devices being utilized last year, and this could increase to 25 billion in the next five years. However, security and privacy concerns could slow the rate of adoption in the enterprise market.
“IoT will increasingly have sensing, analytics and visualization tools that may be accessed on a personal, community or national level,” the report stated. “Information sharing and ease of accessibility via the IoT makes businesses vulnerable to targeted cyber attacks, so the huge benefits must be weighed against the growing risks.”
IoT devices could provide a launch pad for distributed-denial-of-service attacks.
“These vulnerable devices can be exploited during software updates and used as launch proxy servers that can be targeted at businesses which are then extorted for monetary payment,” the report stated.
IoT security considerations
With proper planning and security in place, however, businesses can reap the benefits of IoT technology while lowering their risk for attack.
ZDNet contributor Ken Hess suggested keeping five security points in mind, including security for the actual devices, the network, servers, data and the operating system being used. When looking at each of these items, it’s important to factor in and mitigate weak points. For instance, Hess noted that physical security can be a weakness when it comes to device protection. Similarly, unpatched software systems can create exploitable vulnerabilities for both the operating system and servers.
Hess also suggested utilizing encryption, multi-factor authentication, robust firewalls and automated system patches to help ensure security. In addition, it is helpful to carry out data integrity checks to ensure that information isn’t tampered with or compromised.
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