In this fast-paced world, IoT (Internet of Things) has become a trending topic in the business industry. Businesses are deploying advanced network capabilities coupled with cost-efficient sensors and devices to leverage from the large-sized ecosystems as well as machines.
These networks require an additional layer of protection from several cyber risks including malware, ransomware and data breaches. Securing any corporate and industrial IoT network from such cyber risks is not as easy as it seems, even when the networks and devices are properly categorized and centrally provided.
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This challenge increases when you and your IT security department are unaware of the devices added unofficially on the network. This scenario is referred to as 'Shadow IoT' which can lead to a serious threat to your business.
This is where the importance of managed IT service has come into existence. It is always suggested that IT managers are able to find any issues in the network. Identifying and knowing the issues is helpful to secure your data and systems from unsecured technology, but this may not be enough. IT managers should also focus on the approach and strategies to ensure network security when smart and IoT devices are used significantly.
Introduction to Shadow IoT
As employees connect personal devices to wifi and other networks in the company, it can increase the chances of cyber hacks if networks are not authorized and mobile certificates are not properly managed. With the greater availability of IoT products and costs-efficient options, smart devices are now easily connected and utilized more regularly.
It is estimated that more than 20 billion IoT devices will be in use by the end of 2020. Now, employees are setting up their own equipment such as smart TVs, other smart devices, and even IoT based coffee machines, microwaves and fridges, which are all accessed throughout the corporate network. The external team of consultants and contractors who visit your offices might connect their devices to wireless projectors or wifi to share information during a presentation.
In such a scenario, businesses that are not aware of IT security may lose thousands of dollars due to viruses and data breaches. In other words, misconfigured wireless printers, USB thumb drives, and even unsecured CCTV cameras, which are connected to computers and corporate networks can cause potential damage to your business.
Moreover, about 90% of enterprises report having shadow IoT networks that operate separately from oversight and even the main enterprise infrastructure. This lack of supervision and unawareness can make corporate devices vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Why Are Unsecured IoT Devices Susceptible to Attacks?
Commonly, vulnerabilities are found in small home systems, especially in IoT security cameras. This may be a factor of the sudden increase of cases of IoT breaches in the past few years. One of the common forms of cyber hacks associated with IoT devices is IoT botnet. This is the situation in which hackers access and co-opts your computer systems and smart devices remotely to carry out illicit transmissions to their systems via the internet. The threat is also referred to as "thing bot" where only small devices are involved.
On a small scale, remote access is considered the most significant security vulnerability. The problem is not critical when a smart plug for a light switch is accessed, but it can be a major concern when the sensors or security cameras are compromised. The result becomes dangerous if healthcare facilities fall victim to these attacks, especially when the attack consumes a cardiac sensor and it’s used without access.
How To Secure Shadow IoT Of Your Business?
There are certain steps that can be considered for the shadow IoT of your business while securing devices in use. When it comes to improving your network security, you should have a balance between efficiency and security. Here are some practical steps that can be taken to secure your shadow IoT:
- Machine Identity Management:
IoT is crucial for your IT team to stay familiar with the networks that exist in the company and how they are connected. This involves a sophisticated approach to machine identity management to eradicate the volume of IoT machines during data exchange.
- Effective Management:
Effective management also holds a core value in securing your IoT devices. Companies that lack proper management teams pay heavy operational costs to manage IoT risks. For this reason, you should ensure you have a proficient team that can handle the effective device identity management system. This is also beneficial to help employees acquire and access IoT devices in a secure way.
- Regular Communication:
It is important to have regular communication with the team about the potential implications of exposing the network of the company. This is because most employees don't consider the security risks when connecting their mobile devices to the networks.
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These are just some ways to secure shadow IoT in your business. Regardless of the business you own, security shadow IoT will help you to flourish your business without any hassle.