The Internet of Things: 7 steps to help solve security challenges

As IoT becomes more a part of day-to-day business, security of the devices and technologies becomes more important.

by Bindu Sundaresan

Everyday objects are becoming increasingly connected to the Internet. Whether it’s a smartphone that allows you to check your home security or an app that lets you start your car or close your garage door from anywhere in the world, these technologies are becoming part of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

As IoT evolves and moves further into the mainstream, security becomes a bigger part of the conversation. There’s no denying the importance of IoT security. Depending on the industry and application, companies using IoT technology risk possible exposure from a range of threats stemming from hacktivism, terrorism, and cyber warfare. There also are personal security issues, like the possibility of a residential smart door being unlocked, and larger-scale ones, like the potential for a smart grid to be taken over by terrorists.

Adapt proven security method

As everyone with a stake in IoT is well aware, security is paramount for the safe, reliable operation of IoT-connected devices. But there is less consensus about how best to implement security for IoT at the device, network, and system levels.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can effectively mitigate every possible cyber threat. The good news, though, is that tried-and-true IT security controls that have evolved over the past 25 years can work for IoT—provided they can be adapted to the unique characteristics of the embedded devices that will comprise networks of the future.

Take a holistic approach to protect IoT

Here are seven established security measures you can adapt today to help safeguard your IoT solutions and devices:

  1. Embed security across four layers: endpoint, network, data and application, and threat management.
  2. Include protection at the physical and media layer of the network.
  3. Determine the extent of required security in edge devices and its impact over time.
  4. Protect the network to help overcome challenges in protecting your applications.
  5. Incorporate a cloud strategy and security posture.
  6. Maintain your security integrity over the entire product life cycle.
  7. Apply the right security technology to each potential threat and evolution of that threat.

As with network security, a holistic strategy that includes the various layers across applications, endpoints, networks, and transactions is the preferred approach to warding off cyber attacks on IoT technologies. Your current security policies and procedures provide a good starting point for developing an IoT security strategy.

Read more about planning for IoT security in the Gartner report, “Address cyber security challenges proactively to ensure success with outsourced IoT initiatives.” You can also learn more about how AT&T can help your workers access knowledge on the road with our IoT solutions.