The technological revolution has made it to all industries, and the healthcare sector is no exception. One way this is evidenced is through more providers adopting the Internet of Things (IoT), with statistics revealing that by 2025, IoT healthcare will be worth a whopping $534.4 billion.
With IoT becoming a significant aspect of modern businesses, it is a key time to understand what IoT security is and how you might go about implementing it within your own organization. You need to realize that each connected device in your system equals a new security concern. Think about it; the Internet of Things connects devices and systems over the Internet which makes connected devices an attractive target for cybercriminals. In fact, statistics reveal that more than 55% of IoT devices are susceptible to medium or high-intensity attacks. This is proof that organizations need to have robust IoT security plans to mitigate potential threats and uphold their network safety.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at IoT security, the best IoT security practices, and how they keep your systems safe. Check out our complete guide below!
IoT security is a term used to refer to the protection strategies or methods used to keep network-based devices or those connected to the internet safe. Keep in mind that IoT is extremely broad, and with technological revolution still on the rise, this term will only continue to broaden.
For instance, almost all technological devices, including even video game consoles, thermostats, and wearables, can connect to other devices or the Internet. To protect these devices from being accessed or compromised by malicious hackers, IT experts use a variety of strategies, tools, and techniques, all of which fall under the umbrella of the Internet of Things security.
Some of the technologies used to combat cyberterrorism in IoT devices include network security, public key infrastructure (PKI) authentication, and Application program interface (API) security.
IoT security has now become a hot topic as more organizations realize how much connected devices can impact a business when compromised. For instance, a survey showed that in 2021, the average cost of a data breach was approximately $4.24 million. This is enough to take most organizations out of business!
Here's a quick overview of the leading IoT security issues that most organizations currently face.
The healthcare industry has expanded its IoT device selection to include more devices that enhance cost efficiency and productivity. While this is a bold move on their part, it has also increased the sector’s technology dependency. This then amplifies the damage caused by a successful cyber security breach.
This high adoption of IoT devices is especially concerning because while their benefits are undeniable, the healthcare industry wasn't ready to invest in the resources needed to keep them safe. This lack of industry forecast has left healthcare providers vulnerable to security threats.
IoT devices have a very large attack surface because their connectivity is highly supported by the Internet. Ironically, this internet connectivity is highly valuable as it enhances accessibility. It, however, also gives hackers a chance to access IoT devices remotely through unlawful tactics such as phishing.
The IoT field is still growing, which means that some devices lack the computing power to allow the integration of antivirus software or complex firewalls. For instance, IoT devices with Bluetooth connectivity have been suffering from a fresh wave of data breaches. A great example would be the Tesla Model X that was hacked in less than 90 seconds due to a Bluetooth vulnerability.
When it comes to cybersecurity threats, no industry is immune. This is why it's critical that you adopt the best IoT security practices to keep your devices and networks secure.
Here are 5 of the top IoT security measures;
Most IT systems have regular updates that automatically patch their security flaws. IoT devices are, however, different because you have to visit the vendor's site to find out whether they have new updates.
If possible, make sure you collaborate with your device vendor to come up with a regular system upgrade and attack management strategy.
Most IoT attacks are fueled by poor password hygiene. In fact, a study revealed that more than 80% of all cyberattacks are caused by having weak passwords. Ensure you secure all your IoT device’s endpoints by using strong passwords, preferably those containing alphanumeric characters.
You should also reset a device's password as soon as you connect it to a new network and ensure it is unique, does not form a sensible word, and has no affiliations to your organization.
Regular data security awareness training should be a critical aspect of your IoT security. Sometimes employees assist hackers unknowingly by sending them privileged information or clicking on malicious links. To avoid this, make sure you educate your employees on the best IoT security practices as well as the most common vulnerabilities and security risks.
This will give them a solid understanding of the importance of IoT security and reduce the risk of cybercriminals exploiting them to gain access to sensitive data.
This is one of the most effective proactive IoT security strategies. Make sure you continuously keep track of the IoT- connected devices in your organization as well as actively monitor any new devices. You should also establish and implement tiered security measures and protocols to flag any non-authorized devices in your system.
Most of the IoT security risks can be avoided if the design team identifies them during the research and development stages. This allows them to use secure hardware and integrate security protocols in the operating system, eliminating most vulnerabilities across all stages of development.
As the popularity of IoT devices rises, there will be more smart products for cybercriminals to access. This is why it's essential that you partner with organizations that can help you detect and act on any IoT security risk within your networks. You should also adopt proactive measures to identify any vulnerabilities and ensure that your systems are always protected.