How To Enhance IoT Security: Learning The Right Approach To A Connected Future

Kanika Vatsyayan -
IoT Security enhanced
Illustration: © IoT For All

The introduction of IoT has turned to be one of the biggest and most significant inventions ever made. The concept of connected devices has not just simplified our day-to-day lives but has redefined the term ‘convenience’ in the future.

From smart energy grids to industrial machines, smartwatches, smart mobiles, smart door locks, smart bicycles, fitness trackers, smart security systems, smart refrigerators, medical sensors to almost every device today has been shifted on IoT. The concept of establishing a network of things or physical objects embedded with software, sensors, and technologies to connect and exchange data with other systems and devices over the internet has turned to be the idea of the century.

However, to secure this virtual network of physical objects or things, we consider IoT security because it helps safeguard connected networks and IoT devices and ensures that any connected objects, either smart refrigerators, manufacturing bots, or smart door locks, are free hacking. In simple words, gaining control of IoT devices and stealing the user’s digital data becomes a challenge for hackers when IoT security is worked with precision.

Let’s quickly dig into detail on how IoT security could be enhanced so that a more protective and secure approach to the connected future can be established.

A Risk-Based Approach

A risk-based approach is a mindset that allows you to improve the certainty of achieving outcomes by employing strategies or methods that consider threats and opportunities. This approach can be applied during operations while designing the process or product or at product improvement stages.

Also, a Risk-based approach allows you to capture opportunities, prevent losses and improves entire operations throughout the organization. Therefore, it would be nothing wrong to say that considering a risk-based approach should be made a core element of quality management systems, performance excellence processes, including ISO 9001:2015. The approach could help you understand the risk matrix of your devices so that you can apply appropriate security controls in an IoT system.

Update Firmware & Software

Updating firmware and software is an essential process if you plan to improve IoT security, as software updates offer plenty of benefits. For example, these might help in repairing security loopholes that might occur due to computer bugs.

Basically, the update process is all about revisions and allows you to update/add features to your IoT devices and eliminate outdated ones. Moreover, updates always help your operating system running on the latest version. If you don’t work on updates or renew your IoT device, it may be hard for you to gain as many benefits in your business.

Nevertheless, working on the update process might need you to reach for some IoT security testing services to help you mitigate security issues within the IoT ecosystem. However, exposure to several IoT testing techniques like threat modeling, firmware analysis, protocol testing, incident response testing, etc., allows you to offer more stable solutions.

IoT Device Security Characteristics

Whether you have a small connected device or have a complicated IoT device network, always try to meet the specific security criteria with IoT security testing. There are seven crucial characteristics of IoT that you can check below. Then, based on your understanding, you can perform testing to ensure that all device features should work well, are bug-free, and are secured against any risks of hacking.

Connectivity: From hardware, sensors, electronics to systems, everything in IoT devices is connected, so you need to check whether the connected hardware and control systems can make a connection between various levels or not.

Things: Anything that can be connected or tagged is crafted to be connected. Your IoT device may contain various sensors or sensing materials that should be attached to items and devices properly.

Data: Data is the glue of IoT, and it is the initial step towards action and intelligence.

Communication: IoT devices are connected with one or more systems, so naturally, their data can communicate while exchanging or sharing through devices. Moreover, communication can happen over short distances or long distances. For example, Wi-Fi is easy to connect with software for audio/video calls. Therefore, for IoT, the data traveled from one place to another should be analyzed and tested.

Intelligence: IoT devices have sensing capabilities that we can call Intelligence, and this intelligence can be gathered from Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics.

Action: It can be the consequence of intelligence, and the action can be based on debates or manual interpretation. For example, in smart factory decisions, automation helps in making an important decision.

Ecosystem: It can be the place of the Internet of Things that relates to other technologies, communities, the picture, or goals in which the IoT fits.

These seven key characteristics of IoT must be kept in mind while evaluating the security of IoT devices. Moreover, working on these characteristics allows you to check the security abilities to ensure that your IoT product is stable to use. Moreover, checking for these factors help you establish some distinct lines of accountability and liability for the whole IoT ecosystem.

Automate Security Whenever Possible

Due to the growing demand for connected devices and endpoints, IoT deployments raise the need for increased automation for threat identification, data monitoring, and other facets of security levels. But still, the primary goal of using automation within the development stage should be checking should be security. Therefore, every feature of IoT devices should be checked to help users get the maximum level of protection. Furthermore, as different IoT solutions come with varying networks of communication and levels, so you should never hesitate to go behind an IoT device, including apps, to fulfill the critical security requirements.

Set Encryption as Default

Sometimes, it may be difficult for companies to save their data in an encrypted format. However, if you want to enhance IoT security, you should consider data encryption to ensure that data will never be transferred in plain text but is sent safely. If it is not possible for you to encrypt data, you can choose an alternative option like VPN to protect your confidential data.

Conclusion

IoT is more than a technology that most enterprises use to gain business benefits such as improving staff productivity and reducing human labor. Instead, it is a futuristic approach to ensure the better usability of resources and assets, the efficiency of operations management, reduce costs of operations, improve customer service, improve work safety, target business development and marketing, and many more.

However, if you have futuristic goals related to IoT use that you need to embed within your operations as well as products you offer, you should first focus on improving the security of your IoT devices by sticking with all the aforementioned factors since these have the potential to make or break your business.

Author
Kanika Vatsyayan - VP Strategies, BugRaptors

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Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...