While the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding, so are its risks. Enabling devices to connect to the internet and to each other can potentially open them up to vulnerabilities — if they haven’t been designed with IoT security in mind. We’ve all heard about the high-profile incidents where hackers used a common IoT device to infiltrate a larger network. Because of this risk, it’s imperative to ensure the security of devices, and architect IoT solutions in such a way as to minimize chances for unauthorized people to gain access to networks, databases and device credentials.
This guide provides an introduction to IoT security, the challenges of securing IoT, and tools used to protect IoT networks. As a connected device company, ensuring that your IoT security is robust and educating customers on how to secure their devices can help protect you and your customers and increase brand loyalty.
IoT security is a group of methods used to secure internet-connected and network-based devices. IoT security includes strategies, techniques, and tools used to safeguard IoT devices from being compromised.
The same interconnectivity with other devices and the internet that makes IoT so powerful also increases the risk of these devices being vulnerable to cyberattacks. The increase in people working from home since 2020 further exacerbates this concern. The average home in the United States has 10 IoT devices, each representing a potential risk point.
The following section is designed to provide an overview of IoT security issues that may pose risks, with some of those risks being more pervasive based on the design of the device, or even the type of network utilized by the device. Best practices should be followed to ensure devices are secured as much as possible, such as implementing device encryption, utilizing trusted cellular technologies and relying on experienced partner entities.
In general, almost any IoT device can be hacked, making a solution vulnerable. Here are some of the top challenges IoT cybersecurity needs to solve.
In truth, almost any industry can be at risk for IoT security challenges given the rapid increase of device usage. Devices like a common television or an autonomous vacuum may open a risk point to a home or a building, putting any other devices on the network at risk. Security wasn’t widely considered when IoT was established, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.
And the risks don’t only come from external sources. When implementing and updating protection, IoT admins and network experts use tools where even the slightest of configuration errors can cause an outage. This is especially critical for large enterprises in transportation, power, healthcare, and financial services.
Additionally, some industries have next-level privacy requirements, such as healthcare and financial services. And if your organization does business in the EU, regulations like GDPR requirements made security even more crucial.
Security should be top-of-mind for IoT developers when designing and developing new devices. Here are some of the tools that can help.
Devices deployed on cellular networks are inherently more secure than Wi-Fi, simply due to the hurdles that need to be scaled with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi networks are largely dependent on the customer for security. In contrast, cellular carriers have built their companies to specialize in network operations, administration, and security. They're constantly looking for security risks to their network and the devices on that network. For this reason, cellular is a strong choice for connected devices.
Authorized resellers and entities trusted by the cellular carriers are more secure and reliable than unauthorized vendors or even potentially state-owned foreign companies. For this reason, choosing a high-quality partner is closely tied to the success of a connected device company. For example, because Zipit is an authorized reseller partner and a trusted entity to the carriers, the carriers are committed to finding solutions to security and supporting our device manufacturers rather than simply booting them off the network when there’s an issue. This security and reliability ensure your products don't become blacklisted by carriers or customers due to security issues.
Implementations and frameworks should follow best practices for financial information and subscriber security. It's important for device manufacturers that are going down the path of implementing e-commerce-style solutions or credit card-based subscriptions to validate that their infrastructure and solution design incorporates best practices and abides by regulations. Again, choosing a partner that focuses on subscriber security, like Zipit, will help prevent related security problems.
Given the rapid growth of IoT and the sophistication of cybercriminals, IoT security is a crucial focus. Beyond the security focus in Zipit’s implementations and frameworks, we have a robust network of partners we can point you towards full-spectrum help with IoT security.
Contact us to discuss your company's unique needs. We’re happy to offer insights.
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