Technology

What is IoT Security and Why is it Essential for Enterprises to Protect Devices Against Cyber Threats?

Introduction

Ever since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has gone truly digital. The tech industry has completely evolved into something much bigger. Mobile phones have become a necessity, notebooks have been replaced with tablets and laptops, smart devices and gadgets are more common and automated robots are leveraged by industries.

Today, almost everything is connected, or interlinked. The number of IoT devices that are online and their workings have tremendously increased in the past two years. By the end of 2021, there are estimated to be about 25.4 billion IoT devices that will be connected. 

When it comes to enterprises or industries, the number of IoT devices used is vast. And as more devices get interlinked, securing them all would be the biggest challenge. 

This is where IoT security comes into play. Software and hardware connectivity needs to be secure for objects to work effectively and IoT security takes care of that. Without IoT security, bots and devices can be hacked very easily and once they gain control of it, then they can get access to the functionality and codes of the object and even the user’s digital data. Hence IoT security plays a major role in securing the devices. 

The pandemic increased the demand for IoT security in enterprises. This is to ensure much better reliability and safety of their management and devices. And since most of the things are happening online right now, enterprises need to be more careful than ever. 

IoT security plays a huge role in securing data and getting hold of vital information from getting tossed to “hackers”.

What is IoT Security

IoT security refers to the practice of production used to secure internet-connected or network-based devices. The term Internet of Things is huge and with the evolution of technology, it will only become broader in the future. From digital watches to gaming consoles, nearly every technological device has the ability to interact with the internet and with each other, to some extent. 

IoT security is the family of strategies, tools, and techniques used to defend these devices from being invaded or compromised. A variety of methodologies falls under the umbrella of IoT security. They are -application program interface (API) security, public key infrastructure (PKI) authentication, and network security systems, etc. These are a few strategies IT leaders can make use of to face the growing threats of cybercrime and cyber terrorism that might affect vulnerable IoT devices. 

Even though IoT security helps companies defend their data or devices, it’s got some minor challenges too. Some of the main challenges are lack of industry foresight, remote exposure, resource constraints, insecure interfaces, etc. 

Benefits of IoT Security

Challenges aside, let’s take a look at the benefits of IoT security- there are strategic benefits as well as management benefits. 

Strategic benefits-

  • IoT security enables new business models.
  • It enables the implementation of new features.
  • Enable regulatory compliance- by making sure that industry-specific rules for data privacy and safety are activated by authenticated commands and strong encryption.
  • Enable competitive differentiation- It gives your customers confidence and builds up their trust if you have a secure inter-device connection, that won’t ever let them down.
  • Enable local decision/AI- Make sure the data used to make decisions is authentic and AI logic is protected. 
  • It enables data privacy. 

Management benefits- 

  • Protect todays and tomorrow’s business models- the IoT is empowering more and more unique business models. IoT security plays a good role in the success of those business models. 
  • Successfully meet your IoT project goals- IoT security helps to avoid threats that can impact your revenue and reputation. It helps to keep your data secure and protects the integrity of your devices.
  • Ensure long-term success- Security is very important, it should be there 24/7. Having a solid security strategy and sourcing it correctly helps not only grow your enterprise but also helps you deal with threats and drawbacks.

How Can Enterprises Protect IoT Devices Against Cyber Threats?

IoT devices have made our lives expedient and much easier. Enterprises and industries have been getting hold of IoT security to protect their data at all costs. With some of these useful measures, enterprises can protect their IoT devices from getting hacked or invaded. 

  • Activate device discovery for complete visibility– One of the first things that an enterprise should do is exactly see how many IoT devices are connected to its network. Find out what types of devices are connected, keep an up-to-date inventory of all the stored assets. Note down all the model numbers and keep track of the serial numbers and other configurations. 
  • Apply network segmentation for stronger defence- the main security goal of network segmentation is to reduce the attack surface. Network segmentation splits a network into two or more subsections. The more a network is segmented, the harder it is for hackers to invade a device. Using virtual local area network (VLAN) configurations enterprises can implement network segments that keep IoT devices distinct from IoT assets. 
  • Acquire secure password practices– Poor password security results in the invasion of privacy and it’s way easier for the hackers to do their job. Therefore, maintaining a strong password for your IoT devices is mandatory for the safe travels of your enterprise. 
  • Patch and update firmware regularly– Security flaws should be patched on a regular time period. If the flaws don’t get patched, then it’s going to be there indefinitely and that’s going to be a problem. Ensuring your IoT devices are patched and updated with the latest updates is vital for the enterprise.
  • Pay attention to IoT devices all time– Reporting, alerting, and real-time monitoring are crucial for enterprises to keep track of their IoT risks. Implementing a real-time monitoring solution that analyses the behaviour of your network can be really beneficial for your enterprise.

Conclusion

Today, millions of companies worldwide are utilizing many IoT services and their security because of the vast advantages they provide. As days go by, technology is rising to its peak and enterprises are trying to keep with the changes. IoT security plays an important role in keeping enterprises and other businesses safe from being invaded.

Feril Mohammed Hazem is an industry expert and a professional writer working at ThinkPalm Technologies. He has a keen interest in AI. He is fascinated by futuristic technology and its ways. Off the screen, he is a movie buff, likes playing basketball and listening to music.

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