10 Steps to Enhance Your Enterprise IoT Security

IoT Security internet-of-things IoT

Negosentro| 10 Steps to Enhance Your Enterprise IoT Security | Internet of Things (IoT) devices have been in the market for almost a decade now. They offer a great deal of value to both enterprises and their customers.

A report by Fortune Business forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT, which was earlier valued at $290 billion (in 2018) is expected to reach $1.11 trillion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate of (CAGR) 24.7%. 

Despite the growing IoT industry, one of the biggest challenges organizations increasingly face is maintaining security in their IoT environment. According to the Threat Intelligence Report, the average time it takes to attack an IoT device once connected to the internet is merely 5 minutes.  

However, there are several ways to enhance the security of your IoT devices: 

How Can You Improve IoT Security in Your Enterprise?

1. Require IoT Equipment to Meet Security Standards

IoT infrastructure is often large and entails a wide variety of stakeholders. In some cases, these vendors are also responsible for providing equipment which is placed at your customer’s premise. 

Before they embed their solutions into your IoT infrastructure, ask questions like:

  • Are your third-party vendors trying to push an IoT into your organization as a part of their solutions or services? 
  • Do they comply with security standards?

In some cases, when customers want an upgrade or a new piece of equipment, the vendor might be unwilling to take responsibility for the cost of it.  

So, ensure that all the IoT equipment meets security requirements and it’s clear who is responsible for the lifecycle and update of the equipment as well. 

Include security functional requirements and regular software updates in the contract, request security vulnerability scans periodically, ask the vendors to provide timely updates on identifying security risks. 

2. Firmware Updates

Every IoT device consists of firmware, which is basically permanent software programmed into a read-only memory. However, firmware requires constant updates to patch security vulnerabilities and other issues that may crop up with time. 

These firmware updates often contain important security patches to protect your IoT infrastructure from potential threats. 

3. Strengthen the Authentication Process

Authentication is one of the most important components of cybersecurity. Hackers run programs and use brute force attacks to steal credentials or work their way around authentication processes to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. 

Once they have access to your personal data and credentials, they can manipulate your IoT configurations and even conduct malicious activities. 

One of the primary ways you can strengthen your authentication process is by implementing multi-factor authentication. In this process, the user has to authenticate their identity by providing multiple authenticated proofs, such as the combination of passwords and fingerprints or other biometric. 

Having a sound authentication process can help you enhance the security of your IoT infrastructure by a significant margin. 

4. Implement End-to-End Encryption

End-to-end encryption can play a critical role in securing your IoT infrastructure. Encryption should be done for both data-at-rest and data-in-transit. If the connected IoT devices cannot perform encryption natively, you should implement infrastructure techniques like encrypted tunnels to properly encrypt data. 

5. Deploy Access Controls

Monitoring and controlling access within an IT infrastructure are some of the biggest security challenges organizations face while working with a wide variety of devices, networks, and assets. This is where access management comes in. 

Think of it as an automated system that connects various devices to the network and secure it. The best way to deploy an access management system is to make it a part of the edge network because it is the entry point for many devices. 

Such access management systems should be able to perform device profiling to identify the endpoint, operating system, and other attributes. In addition to this, it should ideally have the authentication and registration process, compliance checking, and network access control. 

This will ensure that devices connected to the network are secure and operate as intended while also limiting their ability to conduct unauthorized or malicious activities. 

6. Protection Against IoT Identity Spoofing

Spoofing is a cybercrime that occurs when an attacker impersonates someone who is authorized or known by the network in order to gain access to sensitive information, such as financial records, bank details, credit card info, or personal information. 

It can even take place on a much deeper level, like IP address or DNS spoofing. 

It’s important that businesses regularly monitor and check the identity of the IoT devices that they’re connected to, and ensure they are legitimate and secure for communications, downloads, and software upgrades. 

Moreover, you can also integrate security software that authenticates all of the IoT devices to prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity.

7. Limit IoT Devices to Initiate Network Connections

Companies should regularly monitor IoT devices and only allow them to connect with the network using access control lists and firewalls. You should also consider limiting the ability of IoT devices to initiate network connections. 

This way, you can establish a one-way secure principle where IoT devices cannot initiate internal network connections, which can limit their ability to move within the network or access internal components. 

Another way companies can limit the capabilities of IoT devices is by making them go through network proxies or jump hosts. By doing so, an organization can inspect the network traffic coming from and to IoT devices, and assess it to identify security threats or vulnerabilities.

8. Isolate IoT Devices

There are four different types of IoT devices including device-to-device, device-to-cloud, device-to-gateway, and cloud-to-cloud. 

If all the devices are intricately connected together, an attacker who has access to even one of the devices could move within the IoT environment and leverage security vulnerabilities to perform nefarious actions. 

Therefore, it’s essential to separate your IoT devices using routing, VLANs, or by creating a separate network for the devices to run on. 

9. Device Monitoring

Hackers and their techniques have become more sophisticated over the years. This means that cybersecurity attacks are becoming increasingly difficult to detect and mitigate. 

By monitoring the status of all your IoT devices, you can have a better security perspective of the entire IoT infrastructure. Consider using network alerting and monitoring tools like ICMP, Syslog, and SNMP to monitor the security health of your IoT infrastructure. 

10. Insert Security into the Supply Chain

Companies have a large IoT infrastructure, which includes multiple stakeholders in a supply chain, including suppliers, technology vendors, customers, and others. However, many enterprises overlook the importance of security which may lead to significant damage to the organization in the event of a data breach. 

It’s important to note that security is one of the most critical components in the IoT supply chain. Make sure that every IoT device and network is approved by the security team to ensure that they are compliant with your company’s security standards and do not violate data privacy or confidentiality policies. 

Takeaways

It’s important to assess your IoT environment to ensure that all the devices connected to your network are secure. The steps mentioned above can help you secure your organization’s IoT infrastructure from potential security threats and avoid pitfalls due to a lack of security measures. 

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