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5 Guidelines to Ensure IoT Security

The more you are exposed to technology, the more vulnerable you become to security lapses.

Internet of Things has already penetrated our lives in a permeable fashion, whether we have noticed it or not. And that is just at the basic level.

IoT has brought about a paradigm shift in every major and minor industry in the world and its effect has already been felt so deeply.

Right from wearable devices to hospital management and retail selling, IoT has stamped its indelible mark everywhere.

The good news is that you get to enjoy the benefits of increased connectivity, but the bad news is that security incidents could strike you from any angle.

Security issues are also going to escalate because more and more devices are going to get connected in the future, and the more connected they get, the more susceptible they become. It is believed that by 2020, 62% of the service providers has a bigger chance to monetize their IT requirements.

Hence, the only thing that poses as hindrance to connected devices becoming perfect is the security issue. As manufacturers, especially the new and inexperienced ones scramble over each other to capitalize on the IoT trend, security and caution are thrown to the winds.

Every element in the IoT ecosystem — the back-end system, cloud, network, data and cloud is prone to cyber attack and hackers are always looking for new ways to infiltrate.

Apart from being cautious, here are certain things you can do to ensure your devices do not have security holes:

1. Connect Your Devices Only When You Need

We know that with IoT, you would probably be connected all the time. But you can decide when you want to connect those devices.

For example if you have a fridge that tells you when the milk supply gets over, you can configure it to function during a certain hour or hours in the day. This is because you will not be prone to attacks at other times. It would also be a good idea to set different passwords for different devices so it is not easy to infiltrate all your devices at the same time.

2. Set Yourself Up for Long-Term

If you intend to have a successful and safe IoT relationship between devices, then make sure there are no holes in the foundation. Establish standard protocols to ensure internal security and test them from time to time.

Review your network traffic, assess the pattern and frequency of interaction between devices, scan your web interface and monitor authentication. If you can afford it, assign a reliable member of your team to security, so there will be someone always looking out for security issues.

3. Choose the Business-back Approach

Companies should first aim to protect the most critical information related to their business and customers. This is called business-back approach.

It is true that you must consider the technological vulnerabilities like insufficient patching or routers and servers, but this is also equally important. How would it look when an employee accidentally creates an opening that paves the way for information leak (like, credit card details, for instance) ?

Take away point: the Federal Government and DoD community have introduced FIPS 140–2, a cryptography standard to their IT system. It protects highly sensitive and classified information. This makes it virtually unbreakable.

4. Never See Security as an Add-on Feature

The ultimate aim of every enterprise would be to protect the customer and their confidential information. It is, thus, important for all the devices to have a password-protected lock screen to prevent attacks and stop unauthorized attacks. The reality is that many devices don’t even have screens. IoT manufacturers must ensure that cyber security at the operational level is a very important thing.

Imagine you have a wearable that connects to your smartphone; perhaps, a heart rate monitor that shows your heart rates, your sleep patterns and so on.

Think about the level of security you could be enjoying if your wearable device gets connected to other smartphones through Bluetooth at proximity! If the wrong person gets it, he could even rewrite the firmware code and install it on another IoT device. That’s really scary, right? That’s what we were talking about.

Advice from expert

Guido Laures, the CTO of Spreadshirt, an e-commerce platform advices retailers to create their own security features, to integrate external scripts to ensure an impenetrable layer of protection and make https a mandatory while reminding their customers to update their browsers.

Take away point: It is important that developers write key protections for their IoT products before consumers can start accessing and using them.

5. Potpourri of OS Leads to Mixed Security Threats

A study by Gartner revealed that IoT will have about 26 million units installed by 2020. Also the usage of IoT devices are expected to hit 7.3 billion units in this time frame; all the major tech giants have already come up with their own IoT platforms.

But the problem here is that these OS operating systems may not be compatible with each other to provide the highest level of security that you need. To counter this problem, you need to implement the highest level of security; you need to secure each device, system levels and network.

Conclusion

If your major concern is about privacy and the security of your sensitive data, then spend a great amount of time checking out the security aspects of the devices.

What privacy policies do they have?

What security protocols do they assume?

Are they patchable in any way?

These are a few major questions you must get answered. Privacy and security should not be afterthought; they are the thought.

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