In this era of digital transformation where companies are deploying digital technologies to improve their operations, deliver value to customers and gain a competitive edge, internet of things (IoT) initiatives invariably act as the backbone. Huge amounts of data are generated by and collected from a wide variety of IoT devices. It is then analyzed, and actions are taken depending on the results of the analysis.
However, if you can’t trust the data and the devices that produce it, there’s no point in undertaking the massive effort required to collect and analyze the data or make business decisions based on it. IoT security is all about enabling that trust, and that’s why it is such an important topic today.
The reality of IoT
Many IoT devices simply were not built with security in mind. The introduction of connectivity to legacy devices or to newer devices whose designers lack expertise in developing for high-security networked environments can result in the introduction of new and unanticipated vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by attacker who use an IoT device as a point of entry to a network that they can then leverage in pursuit of higher value systems and data.
The challenges ahead
The diversity of IoT devices and lack of standardization poses challenges. However, proven, time-tested security techniques adapted to the IoT environment can be the key to addressing these challenges. Digital certificates to uniquely identify devices and form a root of trust for IoT systems, firmware signing to ensure that devices can accept authentic and unaltered updates, security patches to eliminate discovered vulnerabilities and encryption to protect sensitive data collected by IoT devices are three important technologies to enable a secure and scalable IoT.
IoT security is seen by many today as a barrier to their IoT projects, particularly when treated as an add-on as opposed to a core component of development. Security teams must recognize their role as a key enabler in the IoT, navigating the vast ecosystem of connected products and platforms and developing ways to ensure and maintain trust.