The way we reconcile our security concerns with IoT’s inevitable integration will determine whether the revolution upgrades our lives or creates chaos.
Remember when the Internet of Things was more concept than reality? Those days are long gone. Demand for IoT technologies has skyrocketed in the last year, with IHS estimating 20 billion connected devices globally in 2017.
And it’s not just the smart refrigerators and Fitbits and Bluetooth speakers we see at home. IoT technologies have permeated the enterprise as well, with sensors, analytic measurement tools, and VoIP phones appearing, sometimes without the blessing or involvement of IT and security leadership. The infiltration is not unlike what we experienced more than a decade ago when the smartphone initiated a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution.
Even as Business Insider predicts business spending on IoT solutions to hit $6 trillion by 2021, the rapid adoption of IoT has come, unfortunately, at the expense of security standards. In the first half of 2017, the number of IoT attacks increased by a staggering 280%. It’s clear that swift action is needed to address the gaping holes in IoT security that could devastate organizations and consumers alike. But with such new and rapidly evolving technology, where do we even begin?
An uphill battle
With billions of IoT devices projected to hit our networks over the next few years, we can’t stop every attack. After all, you can’t be perfect, and you can’t be everywhere. We’ll never be able to stop everything at the first layer, and that’s ok.
So, what do we do? We get even more proactive. We get even more diligent. We move as fast as circumstances allow. Remember the old NSA mantra: defense in depth.
As dry as it sounds, consistently reliable security procedures are a surefire way to prevent the majority of IoT attacks. Since IoT devices often look and feel like ordinary household objects, we may forget or even ignore the reality that they’re connected to our network. But they are, and they demand the same amount of scrutiny as traditional endpoints. It’s cliché, but it bears repeating: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.