The Internet of Things: 4 Ways to Stay Secure in an Interconnected World

From manufacturers to universities, everyone has their eye on the convenience and efficiency that The Internet of Things (IoT) can provide. While our personal and professional lives stand to benefit from connected technology, the trick becomes: how do we maintain our privacy and security when all of our data is connected by multiple, always-on devices?

IoT is an ecosystem of wirelessly connected devices that transmit and receive data. While this connectivity makes our everyday tasks easier, a larger web of wireless devices creates more vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. For example, one might assume that connecting a CCTV video camera to their network would increase security. However, as we learned from the cyber attack on Dyn in October 2016, hackers can exploit default manufacturer settings and cause severe operational shutdown.

Thankfully, embracing IoT doesn’t mean instant malware or compromised data. With some basic security hygiene, organizations of all sizes can minimize the risks associated with the ever-evolving technology landscape.

1. Authentication: Ensure only authorized personnel can access your networks. Check the integrity of passwords or look into hardware-based (not human-based) identifiers, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID).

2. Encryption: Protect data while it is in transit and when it is stored. Implement encryption methods that compress data in real time, at the byte level, to minimize resource consumption.

3. Device Management: Create an archive or inventory of trusted devices, so you can isolate outside devices that have not been approved to connect to the network.

4. Network Segmentation: Partition IoT devices from your organization’s standard IT devices. In the event your security is compromised through an IoT device, your operational IT infrastructure will remain secure.