For businesses everywhere, the Internet of Things has largely already arrived. According to Cisco's Internet of Things Group, by 2020 there will be over 50 billion connected devices worldwide.
Already, industries like retail, sports and entertainment, and more are tapping IoT tools to improve operations and cut costs. Standard Textiles, for instance, tapped IoT in conjunction with sensors and automation to inject greater visibility into its operations, improving quality and making operations more cost-effective.
The growth of connected sensors in business is a testament to the technology’s promise. But attaching unsecured connected devices to a business network broadens the attack surface for hackers.
“Whether devices are connected into a manufacturing system’s back-end or a consumer’s house, it’s another area where there is potentially a security weakness,” says Ravin Sanjith, program director of intelligent authentication at software analysis firm Opus Research.
4 Steps for a More Secure IoT Rollout
For businesses considering an IoT deployment of their own, here are four ways to reduce exposure to hacking:
Make Security Part of the Deployment from the Start: Too many companies don’t consider the security issues of an IoT deployment until it’s too far along. Experts such as Sanjith advise including security in the budget and planning for any IoT deployment from the beginning.
Test Devices Rigorously: The Ponemon Institute reported last year that 80 percent of IoT applications are not tested for security vulnerabilities. Conducting ongoing security tests, including from third parties, is a vital tactic, experts say.
Protect Data in Transit: When data is transmitted from a device to the cloud, it’s potentially vulnerable. Companies can reduce the amount of data in transit by deploying edge computing to conduct data analysis right at the point of collection.
Manage Security Directly: Too many businesses rely on end users to install security patches. Instead, update security automatically by remotely pushing out patches as soon as they’re available.