The increased adoption of IoT — whether it is due to the key benefits of this technology or because it was necessary during the pandemic — is creating a demand for clearly defined cybersecurity measures. The number of IoT-connected devices is estimated to reach 25.2 billion in 2025, up from 6.3 billion in 2016. With so many connected devices sharing critical data, risk mitigation is highly crucial.
Cybersecurity has seen many iterations in protecting data and endpoints for decades. From antivirus scanners to endpoint protection platforms, the methods for guarding against viruses and malware have needed to adapt as the threats themselves have adapted swiftly.
And now, with the globe’s digital footprint on an upward trajectory, the latest trend is the cybersecurity mesh. This method responds to the increasing number of connections that exist all around us and that have a murkier definition of network access.
According to Gartner’s Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021, the cybersecurity mesh provides the plasticity needed to respond to digital business acceleration. The idea of the mesh is based on the platform that networks have no physical boundaries.
In light of this, the cybersecurity mesh is defined around a particular person, such as an individual employee within an organization, or a thing — like an IoT device. This way, the security infrastructure can build perimeters around access points comprised of a larger ecosystem instead of creating a cybersecurity perimeter around a central point and then expanding it to enclose all people and things within.
This also allows network management to maintain security at a differentiated level of access to various network parts. With digital connections continuing to spread and mission-critical data being communicated in future Applications of surgical robotics and autonomous vehicles, the need to secure each endpoint is essential.
New Government Legislation
On Dec. 4, 2020, the IoT Cybersecurity Act was signed into law to govern IoT devices leveraged by government agencies. Government regulation of IoT security helps protect against vulnerabilities in future devices utilized by the government and will ultimately prohibit non-protected devices currently in use.
This landmark legislation requires that guidelines be set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The NIST must create standards around identifying and managing security vulnerabilities, secure development, identity management, patching, and configuration management. IoT devices are categorized as hardware that can connect to the Internet and contain at least one sensor.
While this only applies to IoT devices in the government sector, this law targets manufacturers to sell IoT solutions to the government. This may ultimately create a trickledown to the private sector in which all IoT device manufacturers adhere to stricter security guidelines.
Network Security as a Service
It may be unclear whether the new legislation will set off a tidal wave of rigorous cybersecurity enforcement. Still, it sets a good precedent as the world becomes more and more connected. Security by design is an essential strategy when implementing an IoT ecosystem.
Security by design covers more than just endpoints — it also encompasses the gateways, routers, data centers, and cloud security when creating an IoT ecosystem to help secure not just where data travels but how it travels.
With this method, security is designed at the forefront of an IoT project, making it easier and comprehensive to secure all components of an IoT stack as it is being built.
But security is an ongoing process, which is why network security as a service is becoming a popular option among IoT adopters. With insight into endpoints and the network, users have the greatest level of visibility into threats and anomalies.