IoT connected devices are growing at a phenomenal speed. With this growth comes the necessity to protect your company’s assets: devices, machines and equipment from being compromised.
Internet of Things security spending worldwide from 2016 to 2021, by segment (in million U.S. dollars)
The statistics show that in 2018, the endpoint security spending amounted to 373 million dollars and by the end of 2019, it will have grown to 459 million dollars. And, the numbers as you can see will continue to grow with each passing year.
When enterprises deploy an IoT Product, they are looking for increased operability and ease of use for the end-user. At the same time, they are looking to ensure proper security measures are in place both for the individual devices and network interfaces. The goal of IoT is to: Share, Analyze and Utilize data.
Why is security so important? One security breach affecting one device that interfaces with a variety of other devices or systems can result in a plethora of data being compromised. Think of it this way, when you plug your coffee machine into the socket, all that is needed for the coffee machine to work is electricity running through the wire to your coffee maker. That can be thought of as one communication and/or transmission of data.
In the IoT ecosystem, there is no such thing as one line of communication. It is several devices and systems that are communicating with each other through a vast network that will touch and transmit data through several systems. One “break” or “leak” in that communication can affect and compromise data from all devices and systems not just one.
Here are a few IoT Security Best Practices:
- User authentication, (preferably two-factor authentication 2FA) is a control mechanism that only allows those who have permission to access specific networks and data. The 1st authentication for the user will be their password and the 2nd will be a code sent via SMS.
- Context-based authentication grants permission to allow users to access web applications based on information like user roles, group memberships, device usage, location (IP Address) and geographical location. The way users are authenticated is by their “normal” behavior. Let’s say an employee works remotely and usually logs-in on their computer at home. Using context-based authentication, the system will use this regular behavior as the baseline to identify the user instead of asking for a password.
- Network segmentation occurs when you split your network of connected devices into separate tiers or subsegments, so that if a breach occurs it will only affect one subnet or subsegment and not all data from all systems or devices. Network segmentation is built into your Network Operating System (NOS) using the fabric approach. The fabric approach connects all devices over any existing network in which components pass data to each other through nodes usually switches and routers.
- Make sure all data is encrypted during transit. Implement audit trails and/or check points within your systems to make sure you are alerted to any suspicious activity in real-time. Equally important, have strategies in place if a threat is detected to mitigate the damage and address issues as soon as they come up.
- As we all know, mobile devices and equipment come with factory installed firmware. Unlike your computer, devices and equipment don’t update automatically. Firmware can be easily compromised because updates can be implemented without user authentication. Identify and make it your company’s top priority to have a strategy on how often your devices need to be updated to ensure there are no back doors left open for hackers to enter.
Just remember, the more complex and diverse your interface is the tighter your security needs to be. The more robust your network of devices are the more you open yourself up to security breaches. Managing your network interface and having systems in place when/if there is a breach is of utter importance.
Contact us today, to learn more about how Wireless Analytics can help deploy, connect and maintain your IoT implementation with security at top of mind!