Security Considerations For Business IoT
We’re seeing more and more businesses making investments in the IoT. Despite some concerns about cybersecurity that are associated with connected technologies, the benefits are difficult to ignore at this point. A modern business can do everything from improving file sharing and accessibility to boosting in-office security — all through adoption of the IoT. Because there are security concerns though, businesses working toward more in-depth IoT adoption need to be careful about how they go about adopting and maintaining systems. To begin with, such businesses should consider some of the following aspects of IoT security.
Network segmentation can be a fairly complex process. The basic idea though is for a business to divide its broad online network into multiple smaller networks, as a means of controlling the flow of information and the implementation of security measures. This can all be done without moving away from IoT integration. Indeed, purely from a security perspective, it’s recommended to implement the two concepts alongside one another.
Essentially, one can boil the question of why network segmentation matters down into the simple idea that a flat, uniform network — particularly with the IoT in effect — is more vulnerable to security threats. On a single, flat network, a security breach can affect all aspects of the business’s online operations. To use the simplest example, a hacker getting into a single employee’s computer can in theory access data and information on the entire business network to which that computer is connected. Segmentation, while it cannot eliminate the risk of any single breach, does help to decrease the likelihood of an entire business network being vulnerable to a single issue.
When we talk about the different devices that can factor into the IoT — from sensors in offices, to employee smartphones, and so on — the main focus tends to be on capability. We want to know that involved devices will be able to connect and transmit information seamlessly, and this need has actually driven a lot of the advancement we’ve seen in related technologies, right down to their cores. The best PCB antenna design software is now built specifically for personal and IoT devices, such that said devices’ circuit boards have all of the connection power they need. This has led to the very possibility of the IoT.
Security for involved devices is still of paramount importance though. If circuit board antennae and other internal attributes lend devices the ability to connect to and interact with a broader business network, then it’s all the more important that the devices themselves be kept as secure as possible. This means different things for different devices. In some cases it may simply mean that employees need to implement strong passwords for their personal devices (something we’ll speak to below, in the next section). In others it might mean that network-connected sensors meant to collect data of one kind or another need to be well concealed, and physically difficult to manipulate. Whatever the case, it’s a modern business’s responsibility to ensure that security is considered with regard to all aspects of its IoT system.
Part of device and network security also comes down to passwords. These have long been among the most basic and essential aspects of digital security in the modern world, and that hasn’t changed with the emergence of the IoT. Indeed, it’s all the more important for businesses using IoT practices to make certain that employees are adopting adequate password security practices. One breach in an IoT system can make a broader network more vulnerable.
Our rundown of IT security practices previously recommended Google Password Manager as a means for employees to keep track of their different passwords. However, initial generation of passwords should be considered as well. Ideally, a business should recommend either specific passwords it has generated, or methods and strategies deemed to be safe. It’s a simple aspect of digital security, but an important one.
Finally, it’s important to keep employees trained even beyond the generation of passwords as well. A business adopting the IoT needs to educate its employees on what exactly that means, what the involved risks are, and what the plan is for mitigating those risks. Furthermore, any later additions to IoT systems need to be made clear to employees as they come about as well.
Only through this sort of thorough approach can a business ensure that all involved are working to maintain digital security. Even a single employee who is unaware of the established security practices relating to the IoT may unwittingly become a vulnerability.
All of this involves a fair amount of effort. But the benefits of secure IoT integration for a modern business — more seamless, efficient practices and easier management of company data — are well worth it.