Hackernoon logoConsumer Identity Management is an important security tool for an IoT ecosystem by@Deepak_Gupta

Consumer Identity Management is an important security tool for an IoT ecosystem

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating an exciting new world of new and improved experiences for all. It necessitates the management of exponentially more identities than current CIAM systems can handle. CIAM is responsible for identifying people and controlling access to various data types. It also assists in identifying devices and controlling user access to data, thus minimizing data breaches and malicious activities. The age of IoT is here. How easy it is to access these items has become a threat to consumer data and must be protected.
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@Deepak_GuptaDeepak Gupta

Co-founder @LoginRadius, developer...love learning new things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating an exciting new world of new and improved experiences for all. It necessitates the management of exponentially more identities than current CIAM systems can handle. 

CIAM is no longer primarily concerned with managing consumers but also with managing the hundreds of thousands of "things" that can be connected to a network. 

These devices are often linked and are expected to communicate with other things, mobile devices, and the backend infrastructure. Some have even coined the term "Identity of Things"  (IDoT) to describe this modern identity ecosystem.

The IoT refers to the interactions between:

  1. computers and humans
  2. devices and devices
  3. devices and application/services
  4. humans and application/services

Since the industry is just getting started with IoT design and deployment, now is a good time to think about how CIAM fits in with other security services needed by an IoT-connected company.

Key Identity Management Challenges in IoT

As mentioned earlier, CIAM is responsible for identifying people and controlling access to various data types (like sensitive data, non-sensitive data, or device data). It also assists in identifying devices and controlling user access to data, thus minimizing data breaches and malicious activities.

The age of IoT is here. However, the issue is not that it allows for things to be connected easily to the internet. Instead, how easy it is to access these items has become a threat to consumer data and must be protected.

This brings us to the key identity management challenges in IoT. 

Credential abuse 

Credential abuse happens when you lend your passwords or username to another person. This is quite common among employees. They do this to help their colleagues avoid the frustrations of having an invalid password or being unable to access email or other resources.

Credential abuse is almost always motivated by criminal intent. Since there isn't a proper IAM or CIAM solution in place, hackers may gain accidental access to areas they can manipulate.

Speaking of IoT, only a handful of interconnected devices have a password management system capable of protecting corporate data. According to ABI Research analysts, this lack of a proper identity management solution presents a great opportunity for cybercriminals.

Default Password Risks

Many CIAM and IoT devices are shipped with default passwords that anyone could guess. Users are required to change the default password of IoT devices. Although most users do, some prefer to wait for a long time before they change it.

Nevertheless, those who change their default passwords still choose the names of close family and friends for their passwords. That's an unacceptable security practice!

71% of Forrester Research survey respondents agree that consumer-facing business apps and services must prioritize their security standpoint.  

Enterprises can seize opportunities and engage consumers with personalized and secured strategies, such as by:

  • Identifying the requirements of your customers and stakeholders
  • Using an on-demand CIAM platform that can scale to meet the needs of your company and its customers
  • Using a combination of digital skills, identity strategy, and best-of-breed CIAM technology to create frictionless, multichannel experiences.
  • Using a CIAM services model to align with IoT devices, accelerate time to market, and become market-adaptive

Implementing Security for Identities Right From the Beginning

While IoT security is clearly a hot topic on everyone's radar, there are a few things enterprises can do to get the most of their IoT investments.

Deploy access control

You should determine the behaviors and activities that are deemed acceptable by your connected objects and define rules of engagement for them within your ecosystem.

You can also create a baseline of expected behavior, which may then be tracked and monitored to spot abnormalities or activities that are outside of permitted parameters.

Mandate IoT to meet security standards

Organizations routinely rely on service providers to fulfill their needs. These providers provide everything from consulting services to equipment that can be deployed on-site. 

In the age of  IoT, the problem is that there’s very little scope for the consumer to determine if any of the technology has been compromised.

Therefore, you should subject IoT devices to the controls described in standard security frameworks. For example: 

  • Include a security clause in your contracts;
  • Request fresh vulnerability scans or demand your right to conduct your own vulnerability scans;
  • Mandate vendors to offer timely upgrades in order to address detected flaws;
  • After any firmware changes, rescan the devices to check that any previously identified issues have been resolved and no new ones have developed.

Safeguard against IoT identity spoofing

Here is the thing. Hackers and their techniques have exponentially multiplied over the years with examples like counterfeiters and forgers. It goes without saying that this amplifies the attack surface or the attack vector, which can severely impact IoT security.

As a countermeasure, security technologies should verify the identity of IoT devices and ensure they are tied to an appropriate identity management and access control solution.

Overall, every IoT device must have its own identity. Without it, an organization is highly vulnerable to being spoofed or hacked.

Wrapping Up

With the growth of IoT, businesses have unprecedented opportunities to integrate technology into their everyday business operations and give consumers a more personalized experience.

Meanwhile, to get the job done seamlessly, enterprises are busy updating privacy policies and rushing to ensure compliance fast. If they fail to prioritize security policies, consumer trust may be compromised, leading to businesses losing profits in the long run—justifying the need for a consumer IAM solution.

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