Increased connectivity inherently comes with a higher risk of information security. The Internet of Things (IoT) brings new opportunities for organizations to deliver better services and generate new revenue streams, but it also creates new challenges in cybersecurity. As more device dependencies and integrations become possible, it can create a single point of failure for entire systems. Not only does every chained device present an opportunity to gain access to the system, they also interact autonomously and can spread any exploit throughout the network rapidly.
For companies that want to leverage the capabilities of the IoT, they’ll need to address all the new issues relating to device-specific cybersecurity. Connected systems, such as CCTV cameras, without security architectures installed provide simple injection points for bad actors, as demonstrated in the Mirai Botnet attack from 2016. With all these risks, every company that manufactures, uses, or maintains IoT devices needs to stay ahead of the trends from hackers and bad actors.
The Difference Between the IoT and the Traditional Internet
IoT security challenges are different from the traditional cybersecurity systems because they require no human intervention to communicate. With conventional systems, hackers depended on users to interact with malicious code by using phishing techniques. As autonomous devices connected to networks, it allowed bad actors to develop exploits that penetrate the network from any one of the nodes. These devices could also connect to mobile phones or tablets that rarely have advanced protection, making them vulnerable from many different entry points.
The ability to operate independently from human interaction while gathering, analyzing, and acting on information is what makes the IoT attractive to companies. Smart homes and intelligent Building Management Systems (BMS) bring new cost efficiencies to individuals and businesses alike. Since the first massive cyberattack from 2016, the industry continues to evolve and establish new ways to protect against these threats. Companies can now leverage the capabilities of the IoT and secure their networks with the right integrated risk philosophy.
New Ways to Combat Cyber Risks
Devices have become smarter and are now capable of detecting changes to their software and automatically shut down or revert to previous firmware versions. While this is great, older devices without additional protection remain vulnerable. Hackers can turn older devices into weapons that participate in a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack once compromised. Similarly, network-level security can now also monitor and scan connected devices, while Artificial Intelligence (AI) analysis detects suspicious behavior. The IoT Security Industry continues to mature, and new systems from Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) now include robust protection architecture including device penetration testing.
It's become apparent that network segmentation is also device-specific. Keeping device communication channels separate from other critical infrastructure will limit the risk of an attack moving into other information systems. Companies will need to develop integrated risk philosophies that make device security a priority.
New Opportunities That Will Come Up as the IoT Matures
Since the IoT became a reality, many new business cases have emerged that leverage the latest technologies. While some of these may seem pervasive, some solutions like Real-Time Health Systems (RTHS) and Smart Pills are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Similarly, retail industries can provide personalized advertising and leverage blockchain ledgers to streamline payment systems. There are also opportunities for harnessing Edge Computing using IoT connected devices in the near future.
In the longer term, IoT devices will enable governments and municipalities to develop smarter cities that both improve the quality of residents’ lives while reducing waste and power consumption. Everything from intelligent parking solutions to tracking waste levels throughout the municipal regions became possible with the rise of the IoT.
2019 Cybersecurity Trends
One of the biggest threats in the modern business world remains ransomware attacks. More hackers now exploit networks to take critical business information hostage. The amount of attacks every year keeps increasing, and with more devices connected, the trend will continue where cybercriminals specifically target these points in the network.
To combat these threats, new legislation will require all devices to include security and protection systems (especially for those used in the public sector). Additionally, network monitoring tools increasingly leverage AI and Machine Learning models to establish usage baselines and highlight any suspicious activity. For companies seeking to capitalize on the benefits of the IoT, taking adequate steps to ensure the system’s total security will require a proactive and innovative approach.
DOCUmation as a Technology and Productivity Partner
Every organization needs to come to grips with the digital transformation trends of today. DOCUmation delivers technology solutions that streamline processes, enhances integration, and drives greater efficiencies. As technology continues to disrupt every industry and business sector, finding a partner who’s capable of developing a digital-first strategy that ensures future sustainability is of vital importance.
To leverage the latest technologies into improved business practices, speak to one of DOCUmation’s digital experts today.