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Best practices for securing IoT devices

By Max Burkhalter
November 16, 2021

Wherever you look, wherever you go, it doesn't really matter — you're never too far from the internet.

Over the past decade, the world witnessed the construction of an immense digital infrastructure. One by one, innovations in digital technology connected the world online in ways previously unheard of, except in science fiction. Today, the internet of things (IoT) pervades life in a new fashion almost every single day.

In fact, the global market for IoT was over $300 billion in 2020, per Fortune Business Insights. By 2080, it's predicted that the market will exceed $1.8 trillion — a nearly 600% increase.

This proliferation of IoT devices marks an equally significant concern for cybersecurity. The more devices connected to the internet, the more pathways for bad actors to enter your network. To stay safe, consumers and businesses alike should prepare well in advance of this change. Here are several best practices for the internet of things that may secure your information moving forward.

Stay updated
Always keep your IoT up to date with the latest software updates. Manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve device security. As threats arise, they figure out how to prevent them. Once a fix is identified, they code that into their software update. If your devices are left without the newest protections, however, they may pose a risk to your network security.

Use encryption
IoT devices collect large swaths of data, which is often the primary target of hackers. One of the most effective ways to subvert bad actors is to encrypt your information. Despite its benefits, 98% of all IoT traffic is unencrypted, according to Palo Alto Networks. This leaves data exposed to malicious actors who want to listen in on your network and obtain sensitive information. Encryption tools make data unreadable for unauthorized users.

Automate security with antivirus software
When it comes to cybersecurity, the out of sight, out of mind approach doesn't really work. But that doesn't mean automation can't be a valuable tool in thwarting cybercrime. Installing antivirus software and enabling automated threat detection relieves you of needing to manually patrol your network. Cloud-based systems with machine learning capability are especially adept at understanding regular network performance and identifying anomalies.

Keep tabs on all connected devices
When a device connects to your network, it opens a doorway into your home or organization. Nowadays, that can mean dozens — if not hundreds — of potential entry points for hackers to choose from. Protecting your information begins with knowing exactly what devices are on the network and ensuring that they're safe and secure.

Take advantage of authentication tools
Device-level security is just the beginning. From an organizational standpoint, user-level security is just as important. Companies should take steps to implement authentication protocols that restrict who has permission to access what on your network. This puts an added layer of security between your information and outside users.

Regularly audit actions on your network
By taking an opportunity to look back on what is happening on the network, you can assess security performance. Keeping a log of activity and metrics can help you monitor for strange behaviors and irregularities.

Disable unused devices and other entry points
It's important to minimize the potential attack surface. In other words, unused devices, sensors and routers may be forgotten about, but still pose a threat to network security. Identifying and disabling these entry points will further secure you and your information.

To learn more about how Perle can support your IoT security, please read our customer success stories.


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