IoT solutions are improving all kinds of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and many more. Plus, with up-and-coming technologies like 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and edge computing, there are new and innovative advancements being made in the world every year.
Along with the numerous benefits of IoT, there are also risks that come with IoT, especially without the right protocols in place. Because of the range of IoT applications throughout the world, there are more opportunities for both technological advancements and breaches, which is why security is an increasingly relevant IoT topic.
In this article, we’ll discuss IoT security and the different strategies businesses can adopt to protect their devices, their company, and their data.
IoT— a brief overview
So, what is the internet of things (IoT), and why is IoT security a critical strategy for businesses? The Internet of Things is the network of devices that connect and communicate with each other via the internet. This goes beyond smartphones, too—sensors, vehicles, hospital equipment, and even kitchen appliances are more and more often made with IoT technology. From running smart homes to supporting the worldwide supply chain, IoT is everywhere.
Devices that can be remotely controlled or monitored over the internet (often through a chip or SIM card) fall under the IoT umbrella. By collecting and exchanging data through the internet, IoT devices are being used by businesses to streamline their procedures, make their processes safer, gather and analyze useful information, improve their services to customers, communicate better, and so much more.
However, with data being shared almost constantly, private information can be put at risk, which is why IoT security is so important. IoT security is essentially any tool or safeguard that protects IoT devices and the networks or cloud services that those devices use to function or communicate. Reliable security includes being able to monitor, assess, prevent, identify, and address threats to an IoT ecosystem.
Are IoT devices secure?
The big question for a lot of industries that use or plan to use IoT devices is whether their devices will remain secure. There are no guarantees that an IoT device will be perfectly secure at all times, which means it’s possible for data to be at risk, especially if hackers are able to access a network. However, if businesses and other organizations that use IoT follow the proper protocols, like updating their systems frequently and following basic privacy practices, they can limit the vulnerability of their devices to security breaches.
Security Challenges of IoT
What are IoT security issues? Here are some of the most common IoT security challenges that should be addressed by businesses and industries:
- Volume management. In 2021, there were over 10 billion active IoT devices, and that number is expected to exponentially grow over the next decade. Some companies have dozens of devices, others have hundreds. Either way, managing this many devices is a demanding task, and without security, some devices could slip through the cracks.
- Cyberattacks. Hackers that can access your network through a device can do some of the worst damage, especially because a poorly defended network is one entry point that allows them to go after numerous devices and an endless supply of data. Cyber attackers particularly use distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
- Unencrypted device traffic. Unencrypted devices can put personal and confidential data at risk, and without a multi-layered protection plan in place, devices will be easily hackable. Sending unsecured information over the internet is one of the more basic cybersecurity threats, which is multiplied on an IoT scale.
- Poor password security. Device mismanagement and fundamental oversights, like inadequate password protection, can lead to often preventable threats that infect your devices with malware or malicious activity.
- Outdated software. Running on outdated operating systems is a common, but dangerous practice. Administrators and other IoT device users that don’t regularly update their software also leave their devices vulnerable to bugs and therefore, malicious activity.
- Lack of universal standards. Because IoT is a fairly recent development, manufacturers haven’t created a standardized system for IoT security, such as authentication and authorization for devices, compatibility, uniform firmware and software, etc. Without standardization in IoT, it’s difficult to prepare for and prevent unknown security issues.
Benefits of IoT Security
IoT infrastructures and devices are key to optimizing operations—in fact, companies that resist implementing IoT devices will quickly fall behind their competitors. However, IoT security is also non-negotiable. Not only will better security offer businesses and administrators more peace of mind, but it helps protect information that makes brands trustworthy and reliable.
IoT security works to protect your assets and offer more control over your entire IoT ecosystem, so you have eyes on your devices and their health as much as possible. With the right protection, companies can also embrace the advance of IoT devices and stay relevant in their industry.
4 Ways To Improve Your IoT Security
Train personnel to use IoT securely
According to a study done at the end of 2019, 32% of companies are concerned about a lack of skilled personnel to correctly practice IoT security systems. Certain industries may demand more specific protocols, but the following are some general rules of thumb that prevent human error.
- Use one primary administrator for all IoT devices to minimize oversights and exposures
- Don’t use passwords across multiple websites or devices
- Use strong and uncommon passwords
- Update your password from any default passwords after setting up your device or network
- Carefully consider the permissions you allow from app to app
- Know when GPS signals can be jammed or even faked
- Educate remote workers on best security practices
Regularly check for patches and updates from manufacturers and other firmware updates that keep your devices in optimal condition. This is an easy practice if you have the proper monitoring systems in place—but when devices aren’t updated, these devices are low-hanging fruit for hackers.
Unsecured Wi-Fi systems are often targeted by hackers, so it’s important to have strict access settings, including the router. The best practice is to have a router firewall, disable WPS, and enable the WPA2 security protocol. Use strong passwords for Wi-Fi access, too—and encourage any remote employees or administrators to use secure Wi-Fi networks.
Secure IoT cloud solutions
The cloud is becoming more mainstream every year, which means using solutions designed for both IoT and the cloud is going to be important. As IoT and the cloud converge, look at the security implications for both, including how the cloud-based network may be able to improve security. There are resources and tools that help with both IoT and cloud monitoring, endpoint encryption, and other security measures that are especially useful for companies with a large volume of devices.
In the face of little universal security standards for IoT devices, IoT SAFE is a security protocol being used to help standardize IoT SIM card protection. This technology is integrated into SIM card software and hardware to provide cryptographic features and standardized security, which results in safer IoT data communications and scalable IoT operations.
How Simon helps with IoT Security
There are a variety of IoT security solutions, depending on a company’s needs and priorities. Risk mitigation and management is always a good place to start, and so is finding an IoT company that supports secure IoT operations at scale. SIMON IoT has asset tracking and security systems in place to help you monitor your devices. If you have an extensive IoT fleet or heavy supply chains, then asset tracking and security may be key factors in your IoT management. Another resource is KORE’s SecurityPro platform, a live streaming anomaly detection software that helps you have greater visibility for your connectivity fleet.
Learn more from our Definitive Guide for the Internet of Things in Business if you’re still unsure if IoT devices are the right move for your company. If you need IoT solutions that offer the ultimate security at scale, use SIMON IoT solutions. We offer the best pricing for IoT SIM cards that are reliable, secure, and excellent for any size of enterprise. Get started today!