IoT security risks and steps to safeguard

Companies moving to capture the enormous opportunities presented by smart connected products and Internet of Things (IoT) face substantial risk as well, especially when it comes to the security of customer data and intellectual property in the cloud.

Traditional enterprise security solutions do not sufficiently address the security needs of the IoT as the IoT introduces new challenges such as:

 

  • Increased privacy concerns which are often unclear

  • Platform security limitations that affect basic security controls

  • Ubiquitous mobility that provides complications in tracking and asset management.

  • Cloud-based operations that make perimeter security less effective

Security challenges in the cloud are nothing new, but the tremendous increase in scale and complexity that accompanies the Internet of Things greatly increases the attack surface of organizations compared to traditional information technology deployment.

Steps to Minimize IoT risks:

The job of securing IoT deployments is in many ways an extension of the kinds of security functions developed by companies which includes data encryption, application firewalls, identity authentication, and internal monitoring. These investments and approaches can provide important building blocks for an overall security plan.

Beyond those basics, however, companies need to focus on securing the new IoT endpoints, applications, data feeds, and the cloud-based services that sit in the middle of the entire IoT ecosystem.

Here will see a set of specific steps that companies should take to create effective risk-mitigation strategies for IoT products, services, and deployments.

  1. Secure Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure that supports IoT technologies demands security at a variety of layers, such as communications between deployed endpoints, IoT hubs and cloud management servers which needs to be encrypted to prevent snooping, sanitize input to IoT application servers and back-end databases to weed out malicious traffic and application-based attacks.

  1. Leverage Standards-Based Best Practices

The cloud-based systems that host IoT services should be protected in the same way as other IT deployments, relying on industry standards and best practices for security management, including the use of robust, layered defenses. Security controls and processes should be aligned with government and industry-recognized guidelines such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013, the newer ISO 27018, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), and the NIST Cybersecurity framework

  1. Design for Security

Thorough security planning must be a foundation of the design and development process for IoT-related products and services to make sure they can connect and communicate securely and will resist casual and determined attempts to compromise their integrity.

Static and dynamic testing prior to release can identify more subtle but exploitable vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and cross-site request forgery attacks, which can be difficult to identify and prevent later.

  1. Secure IoT Devices

Securing connected devices is similar to securing other elements of your IoT infrastructure. You need to protect data at rest on the device and in transit between endpoints and other IoT infrastructure (such as hubs or other devices), or between back-end management systems.

  1. Secure Device Connections

Communication between IoT devices, applications and back-end services should be secured using Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security Protocol (SSL/ TLS) encryption, as with other sensitive online transactions.

  1. Secure IoT Services and Apps

Robust procedures are required during initial design and subsequent maintenance of IoT products and services to identify security vulnerabilities in core and third-party software and libraries. In addition APIs used by IoT applications need to be examined to ensure that security features are up-to-date.

  1. Secure Users and Access

IoT product design should ensure that user provisioning and de-provisioning are seamless and that products are infused with security best practices such as strong password creation or multi-factor authentication. IoT devices supporting infrastructure and control systems should also support multiple user roles with granular permissions that can be adjusted to suit a variety of predetermined use cases.

 

Conclusion:

As companies embrace the Internet of Things, the need to secure the newly connected billions of devices and the entire IoT ecosystem creates a set of questions and potential obstacles to broad IoT adoption. Companies anxious to accelerate their IoT initiatives must focus on and invest in a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to security in order to minimize business risk.

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