While the very concept of IoT may sound incredibly interesting, it’s also important for you to realize why so many people may be alarmed by this idea. Why? Well, because if you can control your home via a device, so can someone else; however, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just think about all the information that is out there in the digital environment. In the future, a hacker will be even able to tell the content of your fridge (provided that it’s a smart fridge).
This is even more important for businesses who deal with volumes of customer data on a daily basis. Therefore, staying safe in the age of IoT is more important than it ever was before, especially for SMBs which are planning to start using this technology in the future. Here are five methods they could use to stay safe.
1. The importance of a strong password policy
The first thing you need to understand is that no matter how ironclad your IT security is, if a malicious third-party manages to figure out the password of an account with a good enough authorization, you’re doomed. The problem with enterprises lies in the fact that all it takes is a single weak link for an abundance of relevant corporate data to be compromised. This is why you need to A) instruct your team on how to make their passwords reliable enough and B) explain why it’s important that they regularly change them. Finally, it’s also relevant to warn them of sharing their passwords with others, even if they’re pretty close.
2. Keeping your software updated
The next thing you need to take care of is the updates of your software. Just because you’re protected at the moment, it doesn’t mean that this will remain true in the future. This is just one of the reasons why people prefer going with cloud computing for their small and medium enterprises. Making software updates as automated as possible is pivotal to the overall security of your data and it is something that you can’t afford to overlook. Therefore, enable automatic updates (on trusted software only) and try to read patch notes every time they’re announced.
3. Hardware firewall solutions
Unlike individual users online, enterprises work with a plethora of sensitive information that belongs to their clients. We’re talking about credit card information and personal data that could seriously endanger one’s identity when revealed. As for the enterprise that would allow such a slip, their reputation would be tarnished to the point of no recovery. This is why more and more businesses turn to firewall hardware as their last line of defense. Still, in order for it to be effective, these internet security solutions need to be A) easy to understand and B) easy to use. This, on the other hand, doesn’t mean that they’re easy to crack or bypass.
4. Layers of authentication for your devices
The next thing you should understand is that every single device that you’re using for work is at risk, regardless if it’s your office desktop PC or a personal smartphone with a collaboration application installed. This means that if a malicious third-party were to acquire and unlock this device, they would have both insight and control into this matter, far surpassing what you might have prepared for. Fortunately, in the era of biometrics, you have more than a couple of authentication methods up your sleeve. The more of them you decide to use, the better. Sure, this may make the unlocking somewhat more complex; however, when considering the risks, it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
5. Using a VPN
The last thing that every business needs to consider is the use of VPNs (virtual private networks) in order to add one last line of defense to their business, thus further insulating it from those who want to do it harm. The use of VPNs also boosts one’s security and is more cost-effective than a physical private network. Admittedly, they’re somewhat more complex to configure, which is why outsourcing this problem to someone more skilled tends to be a preferred solution. Other than this, there’s the factor of scalability, which is why you need to consider a network that will be able to handle the future level of traffic, not just satisfy your current needs.
The last thing you need to understand is the fact that your business already belongs to the IoT network, regardless if you’re aware of it or not. Therefore, if you’re not prepared for this in time, you’ll be putting both your enterprise and your customers at considerable risk. The first step in avoiding a trap lies in knowing there is one.