Not only are IoT devices being widely adopted in households across the world, but we also see an increase in the commercial use of such devices. For instance, businesses in various industries, from healthcare to manufacturing, are taking advantage of IoT technologies to improve their systems and boost efficiency.
There is no doubt that IoT devices have a great purpose in personal and professional use. However, what many people overlook are the security threats that come along with using internet-enabled devices. As a result, many businesses are putting their infrastructure to risk without even realizing it. A solution to this issue would be to create a network that is secure enough to support IoT devices without risk.
The Issues with IoT Devices
While they generally seem helpful and convenient, IoT devices can be a great source of risk for any infrastructure. Some of the threats related to IoT security include denial of service attacks, botnet threats, man-in-the-middle threats, identity and data theft, ransomware attacks, and other incidents such as remote recording. With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should think twice before incorporating IoT devices into your network.
IoT Devices Require a Lot of Management
Handheld and stationary IoT devices require a lot of physical management, which is something many companies fail to consider at first. Businesses that frequently use IoT devices to manage workflows should also use tracking and management tools to keep those devices in optimal shape. Without proper asset management, IoT devices might not be efficient enough, or they may become prone to security threats over time.
The Risk of Loss or Theft
While mobile IoT devices can serve as a great asset in your business, they can also be classified as a liability due to the high risk of loss and/or theft. Since these devices are very valuable, people might try to get their hands on them. Not only is losing the device going to be a significant financial loss, but it also implies the loss of data connected to that digital tool.
Hence, mobile devices can serve as a backdoor to higher levels of security infrastructures. Besides, even if you don’t run into any tech-savvy criminals who might try to take advantage of your mobile devices, you might simply misplace them at the wrong time and end up losing valuable data and the device itself.
IoT Devices Are Not Secured
Whether you’re new to using IoT devices or have some experience under your belt, you should keep in mind that these devices are not secured right out of the box. The lack of default security features means that you have to go through several steps to protect your data and device before using it. This includes changing the default passwords, updating the operating systems, and ensuring there is no suspicious activity taking place within the network.
Another good protective measure is to use a VPN to reduce security risks when operating IoT devices. What is a VPN? It’s a cybersecurity tool that keeps your connection safe and protects your privacy. Since many such devices operate automatically, it is best to install a VPN on your router. That way, all devices connected to that network will be protected by encryption.
Lack Of Experience with Such Devices
Let’s face it, IoT devices are relatively new on the market, and, as such, they might seem unfamiliar to most users. This can become a problem if you try to incorporate IoT devices in companies where people are not educated or trained to handle them. Besides, IoT devices produce such massive amounts of data that it can be easy for hackers to hide malicious traffic in high volumes of information flowing through IoT systems. The point is, your team should be well trained before taking on the challenge of handling IoT devices.
No Decommissioning Process in Place
What do you do with IoT devices once your company is done using them? You can’t just throw them in the trash, right? You need to have a specific decommissioning process set in place that will protect your company and its data. Keep in mind that IoT devices carry a lot of data, including proprietary information about your company, as well as individual user credentials. All of this can be exploited if it gets into the wrong hands. With that said, make sure to put together a plan on how to safely dispose of IoT devices once you no longer need them.
How to Protect Your Network
The rapid adoption of IoT devices in business has led to various security vulnerabilities. A study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute has shown that it takes up to 280 days for businesses to identify a data breach in their system, which is extremely concerning if you consider the volume at which security attacks are taking place nowadays. The risk of a data breach becomes even higher if you’re not implementing the proper security measures.
These include tracking and managing your IoT device inventory, conducting security training, and ensuring your staff members are on the same page when handling IoT devices. Most importantly, make sure to use a virtual private network to add an extra layer of protection to your entire network. If you’ve never integrated VPN services in your business before, now is the time to research what a VPN is and how it can help improve your security efforts.