Risks from the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer simply a proposed framework or an idea where everyday objects, such as your washing machine, sedan, or printer, have network connectivity to send and receive data. This means that your office fax machine can notify the appropriate vendor when it malfunctions and needs service. Some consumer and commercial products already operate under a similar IoT model, collecting and sending data related to users. In the future, IoT will only become increasingly prevalent.

As this happens, cyber security will become even more important, as hackers have more points of entry into IT networks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a public service announcement about how IoT presents opportunities for cyber crime against businesses and individuals. Here are some common risks that you should be aware of.

Privacy

One of the most significant concerns about IoT involves privacy. With so many devices potentially capturing information about you and your company, there is a tremendous amount of data generated. Companies, competitors, and criminals could use this information to learn a lot about your company and/or damage your IT assets.

Specialized Service

IoT means that simple appliances like your company’s copy machine will have complicated hardware and software systems that may require different types of expertise to fix. When you call your equipment repair company, you might need different companies or technicians to fix different aspects of the machine. Specialized service might also cost more, as fewer technicians will have the skills necessary to fix the entire machine.

Expense

It is likely that internet-connected devices will cost more to purchase and maintain than older models without such features. If all new models come with such technology, companies may choose to keep older and less secure appliances running longer to reduce privacy and security risks associated with network connected appliances. Companies will need to closely weigh the benefits, risks, and costs associates with new technology against the old to see what makes the most sense.

Advanced Security Needs

Network connected devices will require advanced cyber security knowledge to fully understand what security risks are present. First, there will be many more network connected devices so it’s imperative to conduct regular inventories where all devices are discovered, so you don’t have unmonitored devices in your office. Second, default passwords must be changed immediately, as they represent an easy access point into network connected devices for hackers who already know established passwords.

Additionally, the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol makes operating network connected devices easy for users to quickly plug in their technology and be finished with setup. However, this also makes these devices easier for hackers to access. New systems must be developed that balance the convenience of UPnP protocols against cyber security risks for companies and individual users.

There are plenty of great opportunities presented by the Internet of Things that your company should take advantage of. You just need to make sure to make informed decisions and set up your company’s networks effectively. Contact us today for help.

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