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Security A-B-Cs for the IoT: Pay heed to the Internet of Things’ potential risks

by Christina Juarez

April 11, 2019

You could call the Internet of Things (IoT) the “next big thing” in tech - if it weren’t so pervasive already. For those who aren’t exactly familiar with the term, the IoT can be defined as “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data” (thanks Google!).

Products like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa have brought IoT into the everyday lives of consumers. This development is already having a transformational effect on our personal lives and the lives of your customers - everything from a constant inventory of your fridge, to self-driving cars, to remote-control ovens, to doorbell cams. It’s also having a profound effect on all sorts of businesses.

It’s not without risk

As consumer demand for IoT technology increases, new devices, software, and systems are being developed daily by companies around the globe. However, with more new devices being connected every day, the threat of a security breach or hack of personal information increases. Individuals and organizations alike are clamoring to increase the use of the IoT as it drives efficiency and allows for increased innovation - but it’s not without risk.

Potential security issues

Currently, many IoT devices are built with little to no security. And when you think about the various roles IoT devices are playing in our daily lives, that’s a scary thought. Suddenly, much of your personal information is vulnerable to outside sources. Beyond that, from a business standpoint, if a hacker can find a way into your network through an unsecured IoT device, they now have access to information well beyond what was just on the device. For example, if they break into your network, they could have access to all your non-encrypted files on any computer or device connected to that network. This type of breach could be devastating for your business.

Perform your due diligence

While some governments have created rules and regulations around IoT, many have not. And those in effect generally leave much to be desired, especially when it comes to security requirements. As a business, or an individual, be very mindful of the various IoT devices or software you’re using. Ensure that your IT departments run thorough security tests and checks, and ensure there is a process in place to perform security updates when they become available.

If you’re looking to use IoT in your personal life, be sure to do your research. Look into how the IoT companies store and protect data, and read into any issues that other users may have had when it comes to the security of their personal information.