The Internet of Things will continue to grow over the next decade and have an increasing influence in manufacturing. Perhaps security wasn’t at the top of your radar before, but there are an infinite number of reasons why it should be. In fact, the top three hot topics at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit for this year’s agenda are:
- Cybersecurity and threat management
- How to enable safer cloud computing
- Risks and opportunities of smart products and the Internet of Things
In the following article, we take a look at some measures IoT manufacturers can implement within their organizations and the development of their products. All to ensure security for their customers as well as their own employees.
Is There a Significant Threat to the Internet of Things?
You may not see, at this moment, the necessity of prioritizing security, and you may even wonder who would target your company.
However, it’s better to take a cautious approach — and, as the old saying goes: better safe than sorry.
Besides the few hackers who are in the business of breaking into things simply for notoriety or attention, there may also be others who don’t have your best interests in mind: organized crime groups, hackers working with political motives, even terrorists who may turn to digitally infiltrating a nation or organization and causing trouble.
With IoT-enabled technology now appearing in vehicles, drones, and many homes that use smart devices, hackers can have access by way of remote control. It is imperative that you make security the very foundation of your operations, rather than just an afterthought.
Prioritizing Your Security
When customers don’t prioritize their own security, IoT manufacturers often don’t see the need to invest their resources, time, and money into products that highlight this. They’d rather rush their product out to the market and make sales. Danny Boice of Trustify says that many simply invest in the “minimum requirements” in order to sell.
However, you should always design the product with security in mind. One practical way to do this is to use an experienced security professional at the very beginning. Designing your product with security as a priority will improve your IoT device, and eventually its selling point.
A life support plan must also be part of the product model. Can a user disable a product after its lifecycle? If it were to change owner hands, is there a disability function which ensures no personal data is passed on as well?
Create Admin Control Functions to Encrypt and Authenticate
Strive to create products that have the option for administrative controls. Your customers must understand that they will buy a product which limits public access, and instead gives them more control by being a privileged user.
Across the board, companies that use various software don’t emphasize security enough. Separate algorithms can and should be used for communication, with programs encrypted for only those privileged users to access.
Set Standards and Protocols for Data
An insecure connection can be hazardous. All customer information should be encrypted, and there should be an industry standard within your enterprise which covers all protocol for personal data. While some data may need to be shared with a third party, have your disclosure policy ready and accessible to your clients as well as business partners. This could also help you avoid legal troubles in the long run.
Penetration and Vulnerability Testing
When developing your product, test it again and again for security breaches. If you must, hire outside security professionals who can understand potential threats and identify them. When product testing, look for known vulnerabilities. Once your product is on the market and in full use, you’ll have a sound mind knowing that you’ve covered most of the potential risks and have good security systems in place to handle them.
Data Transmission and Storage Should Also Be Encrypted
IoT manufacturers sometimes overlook the fact that, during Bluetooth transmission, some names and passwords may be publicly exposed. These should also be encrypted, giving the buyer and original user full security.
IoT Security Starts With Us All
Building a secure foundation in your enterprise means training your employees, mechanics, designers — everyone — to comprehend and fully digest just how important and relevant security is in today’s world. Then, when marketing your product, it takes offering those unique selling points to a potential customer who understands why their security could otherwise be at risk and is willing to put down money for it.
Do you want your product to be a one-hit wonder? Or do you want it to be the piece people come back for over and over again because it gives their lives greater value?
“The internet is no longer a web that we connect to. Instead, it’s a computerized, networked and interconnected world that we live in,” wrote Bruce Schneier, in his New York Times essay. “The world-size robot we’re building can only be managed responsibly if we start making real choices about the interconnected world we live in.”
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