The internet of things (IoT) includes connected devices that we rely on regularly. Find out how to protect these devices according to IoT security practices.
As eager participants in a digital world, we know how convenient it is to use and leverage connected devices. These tools give us access to all sorts of information, often with a single click or voice command. In modern times, this network of connected devices is known as the internet of things (IoT).
Although it’s convenient, helpful, and expected, the internet of things poses a few challenges that we shouldn’t be quick to ignore. While privacy is one area of concern for some, cybersecurity is another for others.
This post will dive into the IoT world and discuss why IoT security matters on both the personal and corporate levels. You’ll gain an understanding of why security is essential and discover practical and straightforward tips you can apply right away.
What is the internet of things (IoT)?
The internet of things (IoT) is a phrase used to describe a vast network of different types of devices that connect wirelessly to the internet. Although we use and leverage these devices regularly, we may not be aware of the role that each device plays within a connected web of similar tools.
The IoT world includes everything from smartphones to home appliances pre-programmed with WiFi compatibility. Typical internet of things devices include:
Baby and home monitors
Wearables (watches, health monitors, etc.)
One of the defining characteristics of the internet of things is that it doesn’t simply describe the devices you’d expect to connect to the internet. For example, you likely expect that a laptop has wireless functionality.
However, the IoT world includes devices that have not traditionally been linked to any kind of internet capability. This includes products such as ovens, refrigerators, cameras, health scanners, and more.
The significance of IoT
The contemporary significance of the internet of things is twofold.
First, average users and consumers are incorporating more of these devices into their homes and lives consistently. It’s not sufficient to simply have a smartphone—we also want voice-activated personal assistant hubs dotted throughout our residences.
On the other hand, the IoT realm is becoming more important for businesses. According to research from Gartner, there are over 20 billion connected devices in existence. As this number continues to grow, so does the need for best practices and security measures.
According to the IoT Security Foundation, the potential economic impact of connected devices is forecast to be worth trillions of dollars in the near future. This means that taking security seriously isn’t just a good idea; it’s financially sound to do so.
Security risks and implications for IoT users and developers
IoT poses unique security challenges for multiple reasons.
IoT devices are rarely regulated by governing bodies, authorities, or legislation.
Many IoT devices are not password protected in a traditional sense; this removes the first layer of personal privacy and protection.
The sheer number of IoT devices is growing exponentially, often by the day. This makes it challenging to regulate and track security vulnerabilities.
The products are personal. Many IoT devices contain data about an individual’s physical health or home environment, details that should be closely protected.
As the world of IoT grows, the cybersecurity risks and challenges are likely to increase. Without careful attention, it’s easy for single users and corporations to overlook just how vulnerable they can be regarding IoT issues.
How to be proactive with IoT security
Your organization must be proactive to fully protect and mitigate the risks associated with the internet of things. Waiting until a problem occurs could prove to be extremely crippling to your network and operating systems.
Fortunately, there are several ways to actively protect your organization and individual devices from the harmful intentions of threat actors. Take these steps as soon as possible to ensure that you’re covered against unnecessary risks.
1. Develop a comprehensive IoT security strategy
Businesses and organizations must first develop a full-fledged IoT strategy. Strategic planning begins with knowing who your users are, which devices they need, and how each device is used regularly.
Once you understand the basics (often through an IoT analysis), you can begin developing a security strategy. This process should include identifying potential security cybersecurity threats (both internal and external) and matching these threats to specific IoT tools.
With this information in mind, businesses can then develop a layered approach to IoT security strategy. A multifaceted plan should include:
Personnel education and training
24/7 remote monitoring
Privileged access management
Threat response (stolen, lost, hacked devices)
2. Profile every device on the network
Whether you’re keeping tabs on devices at home or managing a vast network of corporate devices, awareness is critical. For maximum IoT security, you should know:
What these devices are
Where they are located (physically and geographically)
How often they connect or transmit wirelessly
The intended purpose or usage of each device
Building a reliable profile is the best way to understand IoT deployment structure. The more proactive you are in setting up a foundation, the more knowledgeable you can be about potential security risks and vulnerabilities.
3. Create a system for automatic updates
If you leverage IoT devices, don’t rely on manual updates for important patches or antivirus protection. In the event that you forget to install or run these updates, you could open a wide door for potential hacks. Instead, use automatic antivirus programs and patches that regularly eliminate or reduce your risk potential.
The connection between IoT security and artificial intelligence
Even though the internet of things poses unique challenges, it also brings many positive advancements. These advancements can lead to growth, innovation, and productivity. When artificial intelligence and the internet of things join forces, the potential is nearly limitless.
Artificial intelligence can provide the data that’s required to run and operate connected devices around the world. With AI, devices can use and leverage relevant information more quickly than they would if they were waiting on human responses. This enables devices to make quick, thoughtful, and intuitive decisions for the end-user.
Additionally, AI enables an ever-expanding global IoT network. New innovations in cloud computing, robotics, simulators, and delivery machines are made possible because of the combined forces of AI and IoT. As these technologies continue to merge, we can expect to see even greater technological advancements for individuals and businesses.
The internet of things isn’t simply a passing trend; our reliance on the world of IoT is likely here to stay. While IoT makes simple tasks more manageable and helps users increase productivity, we should be wary of any device or practice that causes us to sacrifice personal security and privacy without consent.
From an organizational or corporate standpoint, IoT security is critical for remote-based business practices, which are increasingly popular. Without proper protection, organizations could be at risk for costly security incidents.
When it comes to IoT—play it safe. As you enjoy the benefits of connected convenience, don’t forget to prioritize lock-tight security measures.
If your business is faced with an IoT challenge, the right AI solution can provide a timely and helpful fix. Don’t forget to connect with our team today to learn how artificial intelligence can help you tackle digital challenges in the modern marketplace.