Secure Your Enterprise's IoT: Internet of Things Cybersecurity Tips
Whether you’re aware of it or not, the Internet of Things (IoT) is likely an active feature of your day and your workload. Defined as “the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet,” the IoT is an important digital world that your current cybersecurity strategy might be overlooking.
Let’s dig into what the Internet of Things encompasses, inherent cybersecurity risks with the IoT, and how to fortify your organization’s security posture by addressing critical components of IoT cybersecurity.
What Is the Internet of Things?
About 20 years ago, the IoT would have sounded like something out of an Inspector Gadget scene—in 2022, however, it’s so embedded into our daily lives that we might not even notice its presence.
The Internet of Things includes many “smart” devices that are capable of connecting to Wi-Fi or otherwise accessing the Internet, such as:
- Manufacturing robots
- Coffee makers
- Specialized sensors
- And more!
IoT devices are exponentially growing both in sophistication and quantity; in fact, the number of connected devices is expected to grow from almost 14 billion units in 2021 to nearly 31 billion by 2025.
Since many of these devices are likely part of your everyday routine, you might not even pay them much attention—but as helpful as they are, they can also pose threats to your network or assets.
Top IoT Cybersecurity Risks and Solutions
Just as with any other digital device or Wi-Fi enabled piece of equipment, your IoT devices pose cybersecurity risks that are exacerbated by:
RIsk: Not Including IoT Devices In Your Cybersecurity Plan
The most foundational IoT cybersecurity risk is simply overlooking their presence at your enterprise in the first place. Without factoring these ubiquitous devices into your cybersecurity strategy, you can’t plan for securing them. You don’t want to have this lightbulb moment regarding securing the IoT devices on your network when you suffer a breach or hack—at that point, it’s simply too little, too late.
Solution: Complete In-Depth Security Audits to Find and Track IoT Devices
To minimize the risk from IoT devices, a security audit should be performed that locates and tracks all of the various types of assets on the network and the operating systems they’re running. This way, these IoT devices can be properly identified in your company’s cybersecurity strategy. Such audits should be performed periodically to account for any new devices that may be added to the network over time and retired devices can be dropped from your network.
Risk: Not Updating IoT Devices
Your iPhone pushes out updates and security patches every so often, right? Your IoT device probably does too, depending on the complexity of its capabilities and what software it might be operating on. However, if you’re not keeping an eye out for updates or patches that are being pushed through, your IoT device is vulnerable—and the same goes for your network.
Solution: Regularly Update Software
The antidote for outdated software on your IoT devices is simply to regularly update—or at least check for updates. It sounds like common sense, but it’s easy to overlook these devices as being capable of having software updates or security patches to install, which is vital for fighting malware or overlooking a potential vulnerability within your organization. Set an automated reminder to check for updates or program your device to automatically download and install new versions.
Risk: Not Implementing Password Protections for Your IoT Devices
If your devices aren’t password-protected, or at the very least operating on a network that is password protected, then it’s likely that you’re leaving the door wide open for hackers to walk right through.
Solution: Utilize Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication Where Possible
While we know that the majority of people are frustrated with passwords—a whopping 75% of people, according to a 2019 Google study—they’re effective at protecting your network, assets, and organization’s reputation. Adding multi-factor authentication processes furthermore secures your enterprise; in fact, incorporating multi-factor authentication blocks 99.9% of attacks!
Importance of Internet of Things Cybersecurity
IoT cybersecurity is vital to the enduring protection of your organization. Let’s face it, smart devices and other Wi-Fi-capable pieces of equipment are certainly not disappearing or becoming useless. If anything, the opposite is happening! These IoT devices are becoming ever more present and involved in accomplishing various tasks over the course of the day, both in your home and workplace.
The importance of IoT cybersecurity is rooted in the same logic as protecting any other computer or digital system involved in your organization: digital threats can appear anywhere and cybercriminals will exploit any open door that they can find within your network. Hackers can develop slaved networks of compromised devices in order to carry out deeper attacks or infiltration missions.
Secure Your Enterprise with Compuquip!
Implementing good cybersecurity policies starts with securing all devices on your network, including the potentially-overlooked IoT devices! After all, you can’t develop an effective, comprehensive strategy for protecting your organization if you’re not aware of all connected devices or equipment within your organization.
Contact the experts at Compuquip to determine the best course of action, whether that entails performing a security audit to identify each connected device or developing a comprehensive strategy for establishing good Internet of Things cybersecurity practices.