You may have heard about how the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to revolutionize the way we interact with our everyday technologies. But it is already impacting how businesses across the globe facilitate their daily operations. IoT devices already play a significant role in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, but their use is now omnipresent in hospitals, vehicles, and throughout our urban infrastructure. As the use of Internet of Things technology accelerates, companies face several new security risks posed by the devices and the expanding interconnected network that supports the IoT.
Many IoT devices possess inherent vulnerabilities that can compromise your digital environment and expose your company network and servers to an array of potential cyberattacks. But what is the Internet of Things? IoT describes a network of small, interconnected devices that cohere and operate as a larger system. IoT devices communicate between themselves to automate data collection, information sharing, and other routine tasks that businesses require to keep their operations flowing smoothly.
While the IoT has already established itself as the breakthrough technology trend of the decade, the use of IoT-connected devices is expected to grow considerably over the next ten years. Recent studies of IoT analytics show the industry will double in value to roughly $13 trillion globally by 2030. Yet withal, cyber incidents that start with IoT devices rank among the top security concerns for companies polled this year, and ransomware attacks and data breaches top the list of worries.
The proliferation of new IoT technologies introduces another element of cybersecurity that business owners simply can’t afford to neglect. Every IoT device that connects to your network represents a potential threat because it can form the first point of entry for cybercriminals who know how to exploit IoT technology. Each day, more everyday products and tools come online and widen the window of opportunity for sophisticated threat actors.
While companies have just recently started to adapt their cybersecurity protocols to laptops, phones, and tablets, the IoT extends the many similar security concerns to everything from home monitoring technologies like doorbells and thermostats to small wearable devices like wristwatches and headphones. The recent and swift rise of the IoT means that an ever-increasing network of devices could leave your systems hacked, and the risks continue to grow at a faster pace than ever.
The IoT and escalating security concerns
Businesses have become increasingly dependent on IoT sensors to help them collect valuable data at corporate offices, warehouses, and distribution centers. The manufacturing industry relies heavily on IoT technology to analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitor and maintain warehouse equipment. However, connected environments in smaller offices, too, have grown more complex in only the last few years.
The IoT presents several opportunities for increasing both revenue and customer satisfaction levels. But, as mentioned, the promising outlook for IoT devices is not without its downsides. The sheer volume of interconnected technologies only increases the probability of a costly data breach. As the use of IoT devices continues to expand at unprecedented rates, so do the odds of a successful cyber attack.
The cybersecurity risks associated with the IoT are as numerous as they are diverse. Every new device introduces a unique pathway for savvy criminal hackers to gain unauthorized entry into your network. Criminals routinely target businesses known to deploy IoT solutions because their security vulnerabilities are easy to expose. Threat actors intent on finding their way into your system start by exploiting your poorly secured IoT devices.
If your workforce is telecommuting more now than in years past and using their own devices to log on to your network, this can pose a significant security risk if left unchecked. Cybercriminals are constantly scheming up new ways to expose businesses with remote workers. While the networks at your physical offices might be secure, employees who office remotely usually have poorly designed IoT devices in their homes. Threat actors will find it relatively easy to gain access to your network through home-based IoT technologies and monitoring systems that were never designed with cybersecurity at the forefront.
Most companies that manufacture IoT products for everyday use update their software periodically to correct known security issues, but many of them do not. As a rule of thumb, people who buy and consume IoT devices can’t count on routine security updates from the developer. IoT technologies are usually small and inexpensive and include default security settings that require updating to keep your network secure. However, the average user will not think about changing the settings until it is too late, leaving an easy entry point open for hackers.
Too many IoT devices lack suitable upgrade paths, without an option to update the product on firmware. This lack of an access pathway not only introduces a risk to the firmware but also leaves your entire network vulnerable. IoT hacks pose a significant problem to businesses of all sizes, and the consequences of an attack are often devastating. The Internet of Things technologies presents a ripe opportunity for scammers to access your valuable data and change the settings on devices that your business depends on to operate without interruption.
Protecting your IoT devices
If your business is deploying IoT solutions at an increasing rate, staying proactive with your security is crucial. PCH technologies can help you implement centralized protection that covers every aspect of your operations. Companies that deploy piecemeal cybersecurity solutions leave their networks unnecessarily exposed. We can help implement a top-down security initiative to ensure that all your connected devices are secure so your organization can reap all the benefits of the IoT.
For more on how a business collaboration with PCH Technologies can eliminate your current IoT security weaknesses, request your free discovery call online now or call us at (856) 754-7500.