How to Handle IoT on Your Business Networks
IoT devices include any items connected to the internet not classified as computers, servers, or mobile devices. IoT has been exploding in the last few years, and there are now approximately 127 new devices being connected to the internet each second.
Routers, IP security cameras, voice assistants like Alexa, and wireless printers are all common IoT devices that it’s not unusual to see being used in organizations as part of the network infrastructure.
One factor that is going to continue accelerating the growth of IoT in the near future is 5G, which promises internet speeds significantly faster than we currently have with other technologies.
While IoT holds a lot of promise and is in an accelerated adoption phase, it is lagging when it comes to cybersecurity. For example, 98% of IoT data traffic is unencrypted, leaving it at risk of a “man in the middle” attack where a hacker spies on a network and can compromise any traffic that’s not encrypted.
Central Florida businesses can definitely benefit from strategic use of IoT devices, but they need to be thoughtful when adding them to their network and consider several things.
Considerations That Should Be Made When Adding IoT
If you’re looking at adding IoT devices to your business processes, you’re not alone. 54% of enterprises say that they’re adding smart devices because of their cost saving benefits.
But, before you add a new IoT sensor to your shipping department or bring Google Home into the office, here are some important considerations.
Is having an Alexa in a medical office a HIPAA violation? That’s an important question that Amazon has been working to answer. In 2019, they announced software that allows health care companies to build Alexa toolsthat would be able to securely transmit private patient data.
However, your “off the shelf” voice assistant most likely doesn’t have that same capability and sharing patient notes with a voice assistant can be a HIPAA violation.
Data encryption needs to be considered when adding an IoT device. What type of data is the device transmitting? Is it sensitive? How secure is it?
Many IoT devices have Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to make it easy for the device to be located by others on a network. However, this feature is notorious for being an entry point for hackers.
It’s estimated that there are nearly 5.5 million vulnerable IoT devices with UPnP enabled that can allow a hacker to launch a denial-of-service attack or breach the network in other ways.
It’s important to be aware of the vulnerability of this setting and to turn if off to reduce the risk.
One of the biggest mistakes that users make when setting up IoT devices is not immediately changing the username and password. This leaves the devices wide open to being breached by an automated attack that uses known device manufacturer logins.
In addition to changing the login and ensuring you have a strong password in place, you should use multi-factor authentication if its supported on the device which greatly improves access security for all logins.
How Updates Will Be Handled
Is the firmware on your office router updated? IoT devices have updates that include security patches that need to be installed to seal newly found vulnerabilities.
While OS and software updates for computers are often hard to miss because they pop up an alert as we’re going about our day, the same is often not true of IoT devices, because people are not generally logged into the settings panel.
Some businesses set up a device and then don’t log into the setting panel again until something goes wrong.
It’s important to decide on how updates will be handled and create a strategy that will include regularly checking devices for updates that need to be installed.
How IoT Devices Integrate with Your Software
IoT devices are generally added to optimize processes and lower costs through automation and better data handling. But, if they don’t integrate easily with other software you’re using, the productivity benefit could end up being much less than you anticipated.
It’s important to look at your IT infrastructure as a whole and ensure that any new device will “play well” with your existing technology. This includes ensuring no hardware or software conflicts and that data can be transmitted easily between IoT devices and other software where that data needs to be used.
Get Help with IoT Integration & Security from C Solutions
IoT can offer cost savings and productivity improvements, but it has to be integrated properly. We can help with a strategic plan that puts security first.
Schedule a free IoT consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.