How to Implement IoT Access Control to Improve Cybersecurity

Zac Amos
How to Implement IoT Access Control to Improve Cybersecurity
Illustration: © IoT For All

Emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) devices and networks continue to make daily life easier and more convenient for users. However, these devices also pose significant cybersecurity challenges, giving bad actors more openings to access private data and other sensitive information. Fortunately for administrators and security, IoT access control offers a multi-layered approach to improving cybersecurity.

What Is IoT Access Control?

IoT access control is a cybersecurity measure that manages and regulates access to IoT devices and systems. It allows system administrators to control how devices and users act in an IoT environment, like authorizing entry into a system, assigning roles to users and devices, and limiting their access to specific resources.

IoT devices and systems pose significant cybersecurity risks due to constant technological developments. Bad actors can use the expanding attack surface to access sensitive information and data gathered by IoT devices by compromising one device in an entire network. IoT access control can reduce the chances of malicious third parties accessing critical resources by deploying multiple cybersecurity defenses.

Applications in Cybersecurity

IoT access control helps improve cybersecurity for millions of interconnected devices in many ways. Here are several methods administrators and security teams can leverage them to secure their networks.

1. Manage User and Device Access

Access control can help improve cybersecurity by managing user and device access in an IoT network. Administrators can use the devices’ unique IP addresses to assign roles to users and manage their permissions once inside the network. 

Role-based access control (RBAC) limits user and device access privileges according to their designated roles. Guests within a secure IoT network can access limited functions and resources while logged in. Security teams can revoke user and device privileges anytime if needed.

2. Implement Authentication Methods Upon Entry

One of the tenets of IoT access control is immediate and constant verification of user and device identity. IoT access control enables administrators to authenticate each user and device logging into a system. 

Statistical data shows that 90 percent of cyberattacks come from compromised usernames and passwords. Aside from asking for credentials like passwords to verify identity, security teams can require users and devices to present a separate security key or pass multi-factor authentication to gain access to an IoT network.

3. Monitor and Track Behavior in a Secure Network

IoT access control works by implementing multiple cybersecurity measures to fortify systems and networks. Administrators can use access control to monitor user and device behavior in real time. This feature enables security teams to track and identify suspicious user and device activity, like unauthorized access attempts. 

They can cross-check unusual patterns against the latest threat intelligence to catch potential security threats. This proactive cybersecurity measure gives security teams more time to investigate attack patterns, thwart them as they happen, and prevent similar security incidents from happening in the future.

4. Update Firmware Regularly

Regular firmware updates can help administrators improve IoT network security by reducing bad actors’ attack opportunities. Security teams can use the latest intelligence reports to roll out cybersecurity measures and address security issues. 

Malicious third parties constantly look for small openings or weak spots in a network’s defenses. Prompt security updates help protect against vulnerabilities and improve a network’s resiliency against cyberattacks.

5. Deny Access to Critical Systems or Resources

Hackers will do anything to compromise networks and gain access to critical systems and resources. Databases filled with private information like usernames, passwords, addresses, and account numbers are prime targets for bad actors. 

Cybersecurity teams can use access control to deny users and devices access to these crucial elements. Managing who has access to secure systems and resources helps improve safety in any IoT network.

6. Isolate IoT Devices and Users

System administrators and security teams can implement IoT access control in many ways. It’s a versatile cybersecurity measure that adapts to evolving threats to IoT devices and networks. Another IoT access control method is network segmentation. This defensive procedure involves creating subnetworks for every new device or user that enters a network. 

Administrators and security teams adopting a zero-trust mindset can use network segmentation to limit bad actors’ and malware’s lateral movement and prevent compromised sections from affecting the entire network.

7. Encrypt Data for Secure Transmission

IoT access control anticipates harmful actions and creates layers of security to secure critical resources like user data and other private information further. Security teams can use data encryption to make it more difficult for hackers to get value from intercepted information. 

Encryption helps maintain data confidentiality and integrity by rendering resources useless unless without the encryption key. Data breaches are costly to any organization. IoT access control measures like data encryption can minimize damages and prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

IoT Access Control: A Multi-Layered Cybersecurity Approach

Keeping networks secure and user information safe from bad actors is all in a day’s work for cybersecurity teams and system administrators. Investing in IoT access control can help them secure networks and prevent security incidents from happening.

Zac Amos
Zac Amos - Features Editor, ReHack
Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about all things tech-related, from cybersecurity to AI to IoT.
Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about all things tech-related, from cybersecurity to AI to IoT.