What is the Internet of Things and why is it so critical to modern business security? You may have noticed the recent proliferation of "smart devices;" devices that connect to the Internet to provide more advanced features such as automation. For a basic Internet of Things definition, you need only consider all of the devices in your office that are now granted network access and activity, and the consequences of this evolution.
What is the "Internet of Things"?
A decade ago, a television was just a television. Today, most televisions are "smart" televisions. Smart devices operate throughout your business. Coffee makers, fax machines, copiers, printers; most of the devices in your office today are WiFi enabled and thus connected to your network. While this facilitates smoother operations, it also represents a very serious security risk. Many of these devices either don't have internal security or they have very lax security measures.
Why Is the "Internet of Things" Dangerous?
Due to a lack of security measures within Internet of Things devices, they can often be compromised by malicious attackers in order to gain access to a corporate network. Essentially, they function as a weakest link inside of the network architecture. Properly securing these devices also greatly increases IT maintenance costs. Security professionals may ensure that the desktop computers and servers in a network have been properly secured, but they may not make sure that their printers or other Internet-capable devices have been updated and upgraded with the latest patches - this makes the network as a whole harder to maintain and manage. Even worse, Internet-capable devices are rapidly expanding; today, even light bulbs may be WiFi connected.
How Can You Protect Against the "Internet of Things"?
There are two major approaches that need to be utilized when protecting against the Internet of Things: layered security and reduced attack surface. Layered security solutions lock critical business assets behind additional security protocols, therefore isolating them from the rest of the network. Reduced attack surfaces involve limiting "Internet of Things" devices on the corporate network and using advanced methods of authentication to protect access.
Protecting against the Internet of Things requires rigorous security standards, including comprehensive malware and virus scanning solutions. The Internet of Things represents a changing and evolving corporate network that requires different methods of security. For more information about the Internet of Things and the dangers that it represents, contact CWPS today.