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Understanding IoT Security

Security for M2M and IoT applications

Reducing external risks to your network of connected devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is big business. By 2025, the potential economic impact for IoT applications is estimated to be as much as $11.1 trillion per annum*. This strong potential for added value arouses the interest of individuals, organisations and investors, who want to utilise this technology to improve their efficacy and ultimately their bottom‐line. Unfortunately, it also attracts those who would seek to exploit the endeavours of others for their own ends. Cybercriminals have been targeting connected devices since before the invention of the modern internet. In the 1970’s criminals would get free long‐distance calls using tone generators to re‐create the system of tones used to route the calls.

*Source: McKinsey Global Institute ‘The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype’

What is IoT Security? 

IoT Security is how people and organisations reduce the risk of data disruption, misdirection, theft or damage within their network of connected devices.

Every part of the IoT must be protected. Native and cloud applications must use strong authentication, be securely coded and tested for vulnerabilities. Communication networks and gateways should be secure, encrypted and preferably redundant. Finally, IoT connected devices themselves must be designed, tested, and manufactured with security in mind.

IoT security solutions for consumers are straightforward for the end user, with the complexities of implementation managed by the IoT solution provider. IoT security solutions for enterprise users need to be more sophisticated allowing for greater levels of customisation.

Why do we need IoT Security? 

IoT Security is an important issue for everybody, with security breaches often having a long‐lasting adverse impact on consumers and enterprise users alike. For consumers IoT Security is important because end‐users need to feel that their privacy is being respected and their data is protected from misuse. Consumers are typically well protected by legislation and regulatory bodies, meaning that the IoT solution provider is primarily responsible for the security implementation. Within the EU, any IoT application involved in the collection or processing of personal data falls under the scope of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For enterprise, operating a large number of IoT connected devices significantly increases the opportunities for business disruption from compromised devices. The enterprise can be directly affected by network disruption caused by their IoT solution being hijacked for Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks and cryptocurrency mining. They can also suffer reputational damage through the potential loss of customer data and intellectual property.

Keeping applications secure at every part of the value chain 

The most important part of maintaining IoT security is constant vigilance. Regularly auditing every part of the value chain will help to prevent security threats.

IoT devices and applications are often made vulnerable, due to the use of weak or default passwords, old or unsupported firmware and software. Basic steps, such as using complex, secure passwords and keeping up‐to‐date with software and firmware security patches will help to avoid this.

Security for M2M and IoT applications 

Reduce external risks to your network of connected devices.

An encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) will reduce the risk of communications interception and allow secure IoT services to be provided over public networks. While a robust Connectivity management platform, such as SIMPro can be used to track and control SIM services.

Cloud and big data IoT applications are often targets for data thieves, so controlling access to data for users, networks and devices is an important first security step. Then you must ensure that those trusted connections aren’t compromised through:

  • Connection and access logs
  • Effective and secure password policies
  • Encryption
  • Phishing and malware protection

Securing your IoT and M2M applications might seem daunting, but there are 10 simple steps that you can follow to minimise your risk. Security assessment schemes like Cyber Essentials are also effective as a first step towards identifying your exposure to security threats.

Your greatest IoT Security asset

An organisation’s greatest IoT Security asset is its people. Security training can teach employees about their responsibility for safeguarding customer data, and how to recognise, assess and respond to threats. Given the right tools and processes, security risks related to human error such as phishing and insecure passwords, can be significantly reduced.

The people who work in partner organisations are important too – particularly IoT technology providers. Suppliers should show the same commitment to IoT Security, through regular training, monitoring and auditing. ISO 27001 information security management, ISO 9001 quality management and Cyber Essentials certification, show that a supplier takes the management of its customers’ data seriously.

The benefits of secure IoT 

Having a strong IoT security solution does not just prevent unauthorised access, it can also improve your IoT application through:

  • Protecting networks from disruption
  • Opening up new IoT applications
  • Improving customer confidence
  • Fulfilling legislation and industry standards

IoT Security solutions for your sector

We can work with all sectors to secure their IoT applications. Our expert team can specify end‐to‐ end solutions to reduce security risks and help you protect your critical data.

Some of the industries that have deployed our IoT Security solutions include:

IT & Enterprise
Building security systems with alarm transmitters based on General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) are vulnerable to interference and potential signal jamming.

A solution based on three different communications technologies, that responds to interference, provides secure two‐way communication between alarm transmitters and the security system.

Energy & Utilities
Devices for monitoring energy and water flows often share the same communications infrastructure as the equipment responsible for regulating this critical infrastructure.

Secure gateways, strong access controls, encryption and VPNs are essential to ensure that this critical infrastructure is not compromised.

Health
Keeping tabs on employees takes on a whole new dimension in a global pandemic. Needing to ensure that public health requirements are adhered to and employees are safe can be a challenge with a large workforce.

Being able to securely identify and locate employees, anywhere and in real‐time is a valuable and convenient solution to meeting track‐and‐trace requirements.

Public sector
For Police forces, reliable and secure CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), are essential operational tools.

An end‐to‐end solution that securely manages communication links and data without exposing internal networks, adds significant value in the public sector.

 

Your next step… 

If you would like to find out more about our IoT Security solutions, or confidentially discuss how we can reduce your security risks, call us on 0330 056 3300.

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