Conquering IoT Cybersecurity Challenges Through Visibility and Awareness

September 20th, 2021

The Internet of Things (IoT) has changed how we collect, share, and analyze information, creating incredible opportunities for organizations to make more informed and effective decisions. However, as more devices are connected to internal networks or the cloud, cyber threats increase – more data being shared, the constant connectivity opens up additional opportunities for compromise. With IoT being leveraged in critical infrastructure, it’s more important than ever that these organizations maintain visibility and awareness into the hardware and software within their digital ecosystems to prevent cyberattacks.

Internet of Things security can be complicated by the scale of data generated and collected from these devices. The influx of connected devices is leading many organizations to implement overarching cyber risk programs that attempt to prevent IoT attacks before they occur by monitoring and mitigating threats in progress and restoring operations as quickly as possible in the event of an attack. Before they can put such a holistic cyber plan can be put in place, organizations and more importantly, their technology provider, need to know exactly what devices and tools are on their network to secure them. 

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

As the world shifted to a “new normal” amidst the pandemic, it would come as no surprise that shadow IT has gained prevalence throughout many organizations. Shadow IT is when employees connect a device or cloud application without notifying their company or IT team. Users eager to adopt the latest cloud applications to support remote work bypass their IT administrators, thereby unknowingly opening both themselves and their organization up to increased cyber risk. From increased risk of data breaches to violations of regulations and compliance standards, shadow IT risks make it difficult for organizations attempting to secure their systems - after all if you don’t know a device exists, how can you take steps to protect it?

Securing Critical IoT

Particularly in critical infrastructure, the IoT may rely on legacy technology, with inadequate updating and patching, which leaves these organizations even more vulnerable to attacks. The recent attack on the Colonial pipeline is just one example of how attacks on IoT have become more prevalent, highlighting the potential consequences if critical infrastructure is breached. The Biden Administration is even working with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop cybersecurity standards for organizations that operate critical infrastructure. Still, it’s never too early to start cyber hardening the networks of you and your clients.  

Starting with an inventory of your organization’s assets, including who accesses them and how is the first step to ensuring your network is optimized to defend against the latest cyber threats. A comprehensive cyber risk plan must also include regular assessment and testing of all internet-connected devices, including IoT devices and those that employees implement of their own accord. Visibility can come in many forms, including health grades, alerts, reports, and more. What is critical is understanding where the organization stands today and what needs to be improved for the future, which requires complete visibility into the digital ecosystem. 

As organizations modernize their IT infrastructures and implement IoT technologies, securing the devices and data involved becomes increasingly tricky. IoT threats are evolving, and it is more important than ever for organizations to know what’s going on with their users, systems, and devices to keep up with emerging threats.

Implementing cybersecurity for you and your clients can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out our webinar, “Getting Started in Cybersecurity: Expert Tips from Integrators for Integrators,” which features an expert panel of leading technology integrators who discuss the challenges they faced to protect their own organization against evolving cyber threats and how they implemented security programs successfully.

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