Best practices to ensure security for your IoT project

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interconnected devices that exchange information with each other. These devices can be computing devices, mechanical equipment, digital machines, objects, etc. They have the ability to transfer data over a network without the need of human-machine or human-human interaction.

With the incorporation of sensors, IoT gives machines the ability to collect important data from multiple sources. Enterprises can make use of this data to empower digital transformation. There is no doubt that this system provides many valuable advantages, but it has its drawbacks as well. The biggest risk to an organization is the security vulnerabilities that these IoT devices may encounter.

As per Gartner, the number of connected devices is increasing every minute and is expected to exceed 20 billion by the year 2020.

Connected devices help organizations in improving automation and efficiency but at the same time, they expose the system to security threats as well. Hence, organizations must have a proper security strategy and the right solutions while deploying IoT within their infrastructures. This would help them to achieve their business goals and ensure the safety of their important assets.

Internet of Things security spending worldwide from 2016 to 2021, by segment (in million U.S. dollars)


This statistic shows the Internet of Things (IoT) security spending worldwide from 2016 to 2021, by segment. In 2017, the endpoint security spending amounted to 302 million U.S. dollars.

Let’s take a look at how business leaders can build their security strategy for IoT.

Device security

One of the important strategies is to secure the device itself. There are so many devices that are not attended on a regular basis. Lack of continuous observation and monitoring leaves these devices open to security breaches. By making these devices tamper-proof, you can block hackers from reaching the data and save the device from intruders.

Another good practice is to deploy a layered approach. In this approach, the hackers have to go through multiple layers of security that are designed to secure the device and its data from any unauthorized access.

In addition to the above-mentioned practices, there are certain known vulnerabilities that companies should protect, like:

  • Open TCP/UDP ports
  • Open serial ports
  • Open password prompts
  • Web servers
  • Unencrypted communications
  • Radio connections

One more practice is to use only patchable devices. Many legacy devices were attacked by the Mirai botnet, which didn’t have any way of deploying a security patch. So, it is clear that legacy devices are more susceptible to such threats and they must be given more caution. Hence, you must evaluate the security capabilities of the devices before investing in them.

Network security

You should always use secure networks for IoT and IIoT. And also include strong authentication and access control methods to prevent unauthorized access to data and networks. Users must be educated to use passwords that are not easy to guess and cannot be cracked by a brute force method of password hacking.

Two-factor authentication is another good method for secure login. In this method, users have to enter a password along with an additional authentication method in which a random code is received on their registered phone number or email.

Context-aware authentication or adaptive authentication is also an excellent way of authentication for IoT applications. In this method, some contextual information and machine-learning algorithms are used to assess potential risks without hindering the experience for users.

Using strong encryption to secure protocols would prevent security breaches for IoT devices. There are high chances for a device to device communication to be hacked. IoT includes a group of network protocols that are used at different layers. The use of a network layer and transport layer encryption provides multiple hindrances to attacks that are based on the network.

Data security

The most important outcome of an IoT deployment is that a huge amount of data gets collected. And this data has to be protected otherwise it can lead to a security threat for the company. Hence, it is essential to focus on security at the analytics part of data too.

Mostly all the connected devices store and transmit sensitive information which needs to be protected. Companies must always encrypt application and user data. Operational policies must be designed and followed by employees. A thorough training must be conducted for people who are involved in an IoT environment.

Critical elements like granular audit trails, endpoint anomaly detection, and a responsive forensic security capability ensure that security breaches are detected and corrective measures are taken in time. This would help in preventing the breach and losses.

It has been almost a decade that IoT is in use, but there is no global standard for its security strategy yet. It is important to understand what data is being collected, how it is processed and where the data is stored to determine any regulations on your IoT data. This will help you to build a foundation for a data compliance strategy.

The IoT needs built-in security

The number of IoT devices is growing. And these devices are increasing the amount of data that is generated every day. With an increase in the number of connected devices and data collected, it has become necessary that IoT devices must have built-in security. There are numerous benefits of building a device with built-in security:

  • It will be secure from its inception
  • It will improve the security of the entire system
  • It will be secure in the absence of any external device-specific security

Developers must make use of encryption. They must track their open-source software and ensure that it is updated. They must write admin interfaces that don’t include any issue recognized in the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 risks.

In conclusion

Most of these are cyber security protocols, but you have to make sure that they have the resources and discipline so that developers can implement these methods efficiently. You have to raise the level of your security measures to save your company from losses and extract great benefits from IoT solutions. A smart security system using IoT can help you to ensure security and take your organization to another level in terms of safety, security and compliance.

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