image alt tag

How to keep your business safe when using the Internet of Things

By Max Burkhalter
December 30, 2019

The Internet of Things is a hot topic among business owners everywhere. The IoT enables the sharing of information between multiple, disparate devices almost instantaneously, allowing users to react in real time to changing trends. It is a technology that is reshaping the economy; the IoT is used to greatly increase the efficiency of a company's various operations. Modern conveniences such as e-commerce, mobile apps and many more would not be possible without it. Yet, the IoT also brings with it a wealth of security concerns. According to Forbes, traditional network security systems are ill-suited to keeping sensitive information safe when the IoT comes into play, and this problem will only get worse as more devices are connected to the IoT.

Double-edged sword

The Internet of Things has allowed society to become interconnected like never before, where information can be accessed and shared with ease. But this also brings risk with it; countless devices are connected to the IoT, but very few are secure. Typical consumer gadgets like smartphones are not secure, often due to human error. Each device connected to the network increases the risk of data breaches, where sensitive information is exposed thanks to a lack of responsible security practices and architecture. Whether due to poor password strength or obsolete equipment, hackers can gain access to data they shouldn't thanks to the IoT.

This downside is further exacerbated by the fact that many IoT devices are not updated to keep pace with the latest security threats. In addition, since every connected piece of equipment is a potential vector for an outside threat, viruses, malware and ransomware can all target unsecured or outdated hardware and infect them. These then become staging areas for further attacks on all the other equipment connected to this device through the IoT. The rise of the IoT means that current IT security practices are quickly becoming outdated. As Forbes says, "IoT...breaks [traditional] perimeter-based security that assumes devices inside the network can be trusted." 

Hackers and viruses alike use the IoT to compromise devices.Hackers and viruses alike use the IoT to compromise devices.

Staying safe

For owners of businesses, especially those with large amounts of sensitive information on hand, secure networking practices are a must. Employees of all levels must be trained in proper computer safety protocols in order to protect both the company's data and their operations. To that end, there are many basic ground rules that are indispensable. 

IoT, as mentioned, breaks the long-standing assumption in IT that devices already connected to the network can be trusted. Nowadays, companies should be very careful when it comes to allowing various devices onto their networks. Work-related equipment needs to be properly secured by IT professionals before being given access to an organization's systems. Items used for work should be kept up to date, with updates being installed as soon as possible after being released. Older equipment, such as out-of-date laptops, should be replaced with newer versions. Nonessential devices, such as personal cell phones, can pose risks to network security, and their usage should be restricted or supplemented with additional privacy protocols. 

While these measures are sure to make security concerns much less of a risk, it is important to remember the human component in security. One of the most crucial rules every company should follow are strong password guidelines. According to Verizon's 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 81% of hacking incidents were simply due to weak passwords being guessed, or stolen passwords from data breaches being used. Strong passwords are a must for an organization; business owners would be wise to consider mandating strong password requirements for their users. In addition, employees should be trained to not leave their passwords written down, especially in easy-to-find locations; nor should password hints be too revealing. Companies and employees alike should also stay abreast of recent high-profile data breaches; it might be a good idea for passwords to be periodically changed to prevent stolen passwords from compromising data.

Regulatory organizations have stepped up their efforts to stem the tide of security risks that the IoT has introduced. Businesses of all sizes possess sensitive information related to both the company's operations and their customers. Failure to practice responsible security practices can spell trouble. To this end, Perle offers powerful connectivity tools that can help organizations maximize their network security strength. Our industrial-grade Ethernet switches and console servers are designed to work within big data environments where the security of sensitive information is a top concern. Read some of our customers' reviews to find out more.


Have a Question? Chat with a live Product Specialist!

Have a Question?

We can provide more information about our products or arrange for a price quotation.

email-icon Send an Email
contactus-icon Send an Email callus-icon Call Us

Send us an Email