There are 17 billion internet-connected devices in the world – and more than 40% of them are Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. As the cost of technology and connectivity goes down, these devices will continue to grow more popular than ever. But is your IoT security ready to handle the risks?
While people don’t typically interact with IoT devices, these innovations are being considered as mission-critical information delivery tools at more and more enterprises. However, that creates the potential for loss of data that’s more valuable than ever, too. Considering how fierce your competition is, IoT security could be one of your most significant business advantages if done well.
IoT Security is Life and Death… Literally
While fines and data breaches can be scary, these consequences are simply the tip of the iceberg where IoT security is concerned. Consider advanced pacemakers and insulin pumps that send real-time feedback to doctors and automated patient systems. Or autonomous cars that are already making appearances on the road today.
If IoT systems aren’t properly protected, the negatives go beyond a bad headline or a damaged reputation – hackers will be able to cause mayhem and mass casualties from thousands of miles away. And, as these technologies become more widespread and interconnected, the attack surface IoT is only going to expand.
And what has the industry done to prepare for this increase in threats? Unfortunately, the short answer is not much – device manufacturers and regulators have both largely failed to create a global standard where IoT security is concerned. But that finally seems to be changing.
Security by Design
Recently, agencies like the U.S Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are asking IoT equipment makers to implement security by design – a development practice that “reduces cyber risk and increases accountability by using a disciplined process of continuous testing, authentication, safeguards, and adherence to best development practices.”
In plain English, this means IoT device manufacturers are expected to build and embed security features that are capable of protecting their technologies – as well as the information stored within them – from the threats they’re most likely to encounter.
Central to this initiative is the end of default passwords. For years, hackers have exploited access controls across devices that make it difficult to replace passwords – and that’s assuming the end user knows they exist in the first place.
Additionally, agencies like the FCC are making it a priority to regulate security at the network layer. And the early returns are encouraging. Innovations like network virtualization and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) have been successful in establish greater controls as a result of this push.
Ultimately, IoT security isn’t any one person’s or organization’s job – everyone has a responsibility to improve this technology. The industry features a volume and variety of vendors that makes it impossible to enforce more stringent requirements across the board. While groups like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created voluntary security frameworks, it’s going to take individual action to ensure safe, functional devices.
Fortunately, it looks like you’ll have some help moving forward…
AI’s Impact on IoT Security
Beyond the transformative business models this advanced technology is capable of delivering, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is redefining the relationship business have with their markets and data management tasks.
That’s because machine learning makes it possible to not only secure data collection and storage systems, but uncover device feedback and convert it to actionable threat intelligence. AI adds value to IoT security by giving you a deeper understanding of what your vulnerabilities are and how employees, business units, and third-party stakeholders interact with your IoT environment.
Equipped with AI, you can overcome the IoT application, access, and data security challenges that are holding back your business. These intelligent systems specialize in analyzing the constant change to identify any abnormal device behavior as early possible – pulling the needle out of IoT’s haystack, so to speak, by identifying and eliminating risks that would otherwise go unseen.
The pressure to innovate has never been more intense. While organizations like yours rush to deploy IoT equipment and manufacturers seek possibilities to accelerate device production cycles, IoT security is a crucial step that often gets overlooked.
Don’t be another victim. AOTMP® University’s Managing IoT Devices In Your Telecom Environment Course has the tools, actionable strategies, and best practices you need to starting improving IoT security now.