Internet of Things: 4 Risks for Enterprises to Consider
When Business Insider surveyed technology executives about what was stopping them from investing in the Internet of Things (IoT), 39% responded that uncertainty surrounding security and privacy were the barrier. In fact, it was the number one reason given in the survey.. What are the risks that have so many in the IT department concerned?
Understanding the IoT
Before discussing the risks that businesses need to be aware of, it is important to understand the Internet of Things.. The definition is quite simple, IoT is a way to connect everything to the Internet infrastructure through embedded computing devices. In the consumer space, examples would be televisions, home automation systems or any other smart devices. Businesses have many applications as well. Embedded computing devices exist within manufacturing equipment, environmental controls, transportation systems, healthcare systems and just about anywhere else that data can be collected and analyzed. With all of that data being moved around and stored, here are 4 risks that executives of enterprises should consider and be aware of:
1. The Denial of Service Attack
When businesses, and customers, become reliant on a constant data feed, taking that out of the equation quickly results in frustration, dissatisfaction, business interruption and revenue loss. Attackers are well aware of how devastating these types of attacks are to the enterprise and will use them against IoT connected devices to disrupt service and business processes. Ensuring that network services are properly secured can help prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities that make these attacks possible.
2. Transporting Data
In order for the IoT to work, devices must be connected for data to be transmitted between the endpoints and the applications that collect and disseminate information. The problem is, unless this data is encrypted as it travels over the network, it can be exposed to both internal and external threats. Threat actors have the ability to steal customer information, payment card data, Intellectual Property or user credentials as they travel across a network in plaintext. Using SSL or TLS encryption protocols that are properly configured is a must.
3. Vulnerability Management
With the IoT relying on so many devices that have embedded computing systems, the number of vulnerabilities that a company needs to effectively manage increase proportionately. Addressing vulnerabilities means that enterprises need to plan for a way to prioritize and manage the patching of devices. Endpoint security vendors offer solutions to help, and these tools need to be investigated as an integral part of any IoT strategy.
One of the biggest security flaws in any system is mis-configuring things that leave the doors wide open to attackers. The IoT is no different. If users are not separated to the least privilege necessary to do their jobs, then data is at risk. If data is not stored using encryption or if it an attacker can easily copy it to a portable storage device, then it is not safe. If devices are connected to your network and still use the default username and password, attackers have an open door to whatever they want. Before the IoT becomes a reality in your organization, make sure that proper planning takes place so everything is configured with security in mind.
The Takeaway: Make Security a Top Priority
The Internet of Things holds a great deal of promise for businesses that see the potential of big data. However, like any other technology, it will become a target for attack as more companies rely on these tools. The fact that devices used in the IoT are always connected means that they are always vulnerable. Always make security a top priority of your plan.