The Internet of Things & Cybersecurity

The “Internet of Things” or IoT, as insiders call it, is most certainly gaining ground and has already started to impact the daily lives of individuals and businesses.  And while IoT certainly has the potential to be transformative, as the IoT market and infrastructure increases, so does the “surface area” that is potentially vulnerable to hackers and cyber criminals.

The Internet of Things is about much more than traditional PCs and networks, and it even goes far beyond wireless smartphones and tablets.  Now pretty much everything you own (or will own in the coming years) is connected to the IoT – from refrigerators and cars to medical equipment and wearable technologies, such as Fitbits. And while having everything in your life connected may seem like a good idea, it comes with significant security risks.  And though your initial reaction might be “but how does that impact our business”, the reality is that if your employees have even one of these devices synced to a work-owned computer, smartphone or tablet, suddenly all of your intellectual property, customer data and operational infrastructure are theoretically exposed.  And just like that, an infected IoT device on your company’s network can become a gateway for hackers.

And beyond personal devices, more and more business are also moving towards an integration of the IoT in their day-to-day operations without thinking through the security implications. For example, does having a lighting or HVAC system in your office that is controllable through your smartphone and activated by motion detectors sound like a good way to become more energy efficient?  You’re right, it probably is. However, with that system integrated into your network, it also exposes you, and chances are right now you’re not doing much to secure that portal.

Many security experts believe that ransomware attacks are the most imminent threat for the IoT, because suddenly your company’s heating and cooling system or lighting is held hostage until you “pay up”.  And even if they aren’t able to access your big data, they still might be able to bring your daily operations to a halt, which can have significant implications of productivity and profitability.  Until now, the corporate IT world has primarily focused on endpoint security, but in the age of the Internet of Things, this is no longer sufficient.  Before you embrace the IoT with open arms, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about how you can best ensure your business assets are protected.