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IoT device security
is key to realizing
tech potential

Author: Poornima Apte

A business network is only as strong as its weakest link. With the Internet of Things (IoT) expanding rapidly, several factors are driving the need for robust IoT device security—continued growth in the number of devices operating at the edge, the convergence of IT (Informational Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) and the rise of third-party players in device setup and management. Device operating systems once functioned more or less independently, but they're now integrated into IT networks, which is promising for edge computing but risky because of the rapid growth of threat vectors.

IoT device security has to be a top priority, with the global Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market slated to grow at a compound growth rate of 21.3% every year until 2028. Much more is now at stake because of the sheer scale of the challenge—every sensor at the edge is a vulnerable node through which hackers could infiltrate an entire network.

How to security IoT devices

IoT device security embraces many of the traditional rules of cyber security and a few from the OT landscape.

  • Changing default logins. IoT devices have their own login information—and third-party vendors often leave default passwords in place. Because IoT systems are always on and always connected to the network, they can be an easy entry point for hackers. Companies need to ensure that each device has a unique password, perhaps through a comprehensive password management system.
  • Pushing out patches. Companies need to regularly patch IoT device protection to remedy vulnerabilities, much as they do with IT software. If you've issued devices to your employees, require them to regularly check for and install updates.
  • Microsegmenting networks. Isolating IoT networks from critical system resources and programs limits the damage that attackers can inflict while preserving the advantages of integration. Make sure that access is only granted to authorized stakeholders.

How managed services providers help automate IoT device security

The sheer scale of IIoT deployment can be daunting, especially for companies looking to automate IoT device security management. IoT devices generate a tremendous amount of data, so ensuring data provenance and trustworthiness is key to peace of mind.

A managed services provider can help. The right partner can continuously monitor and validate network nodes and edges and flag anomalies. Blockchain technology can encrypt critical data so that the network can trust what it sees. A continuous live pulse on extended distributed applications, including edge networks, will let companies breathe easier.

The IoT offers plenty of potential, as it connects networks to new data sources and optimizes performance in real time. Understanding and mitigating the associated security risks is key to getting the most out of it.

Learn how Verizon's smart approach to IoT device security can keep your endpoints safe.