Why IoT Security Should Be A Priority

IoT Security should be the next big priority

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the new go-to buzzword for businesses around the world looking to explain the modern interconnectedness of basically everything we touch. It refers to the whole ecosystem of “smart” devices that have come to define the technological state of society—and civilization as a whole. Aside from making life more convenient, IoT can also be used to gather data in real-time to help businesses generate insight. However, this reality also makes IoT devices particularly susceptible to abuse.

The existence of IoT essentially creates a vulnerable port where attackers can gain unauthorized access to information, making it a nightmare for security professionals. Televisions, refrigerators, remote controls, ovens, speakers—anything with a digital element provides a gateway for would-be cybercriminals looking to mess with the order of things. This danger applies to both individuals in a home setting as well as big enterprises looking to secure their endpoints and corporate network. And given the sheer number of IoT devices housed in any given business, finding a new approach to securing them has become paramount.

According to Priya Mahajan, head of APAC Public Policy and Regulatory Counsel who spoke recently at theConnecTechAsia summit, contemporary IT security doesn’t work for IoT because it relies on traditional, perimeter-based approaches like firewalls that don’t leave much room for modern cybersecurity approaches. Yes, a firewall can protect the corporate network, but the evolutionary nature of IoT demands a more fluid solution.

Remember the DDoS Mirai botnet cyberattack of 2016? It killed nearly 300,000 vulnerable IoT devices, including routers, webcams, and video recorders, essentially threatening the livelihood of the entire internet. This incident demonstrated the immense vulnerability of the entire system and how easily it can be impacted if proper security is overlooked.

A recent Gartner survey suggests 20% of today’s organizations have seen at least one IoT-based attack in the past three years, with worldwide spending predicted to increase considerably by 2020. In fact, Gartner goes on to say the biggest inhibitor to the growth of  IoT security will likely come from the lack of prioritization and implementation of best security practices in IoT initiative planning, hampering its growth by up to 80%. On a more positive note, however, Gartner is confident that by 2021, the regulatory compliance will become the prime influence for IoT security uptake.

Ruggero Contu, Research Director at Gartner explains, “In IoT initiatives, organizations often don’t have control over the source and nature of the software and hardware being utilized by smart connected devices. We expect to see demand for tools and services aimed at improving discovery and asset management; software and hardware security assessment; and penetration testing. In addition, organizations will look to increase their understanding of the implications of externalizing network connectivity. These factors will be the main drivers of spending growth for the forecast period with spending on IoT security expected to reach $3.1 billion in 2021.”

All organizations will have to comply with new guidelines and regulations seeking to improve critical infrastructure protection and enhance the cybersecurity of all.


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