What is IoT Security?
IoT security is the ongoing process of ensuring that Internet of Things connected devices, and the networks they’re connected to, are safe from cyber threats.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the billions of physical devices worldwide that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Virtually any device you can imagine is, or will eventually become, part of the IoT (e.g., planes, cars, pills, speakers, TV’s, refrigerators, insulin pumps, light bulbs). This adds a level of unimaginable digital intelligence to this “network of devices” that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate and support near-real-time automated analytics-driven decisions and actions.
Its promise is limitless; it will transform major sectors of our lives including building automation, agriculture, energy, transportation, and medicine. Its peril is nearly as limitless; necessitating new approaches to the secure design, manufacturing, deployment, use, and validation of our respective IoT footprints.
Sun Tzu once said, “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril”, well said, and as true today as it was 2,500+ years ago.
How Does IoT Security Differ from Traditional Network Security?
IoT differs from conventional (human + PC) computing in four major ways:
- Device autonomy. Communications across the IoT are often device-to-device, taking action based on data with little to no human intervention.
- Use cases for endpoints. IoT devices monitor and control an almost unlimited spectrum of events across industrial processes, military technology, buildings, homes, vehicles… even the “Internet of Bodies” (IoB).
- Scale and complexity. Tens of billions of IoT devices generating tens of zetabytes of data daily creates a vast attack surface, plus a nearly infinite web of interoperability.
- Potential impact of a security event. The scale and interconnectedness of the IoT means the potential impact of a security breach of a critical IoT system could be equally massive—crippling enterprises, toppling economies or causing life-threatening catastrophes.
The 3 Fundamentals of IoT Security
Although IoT security can appear more complex (for good reason) the fundamentals of information security still directly apply in the world of IoT:
- Protect the Device – Ensure the physical & logical security of the device
- Protect the Communication – Ensure the Confidentiality, Integrity, & Availability of data & communications
- Protect the Application(s) – Ensure they defend against advanced application security vulnerabilities
How Can You Prove Your IoT is Secure?
How can organizations demonstrate to customers, business partners, their boards and other stakeholders that their expanding IoT environments are secure and can remain so?
Some key steps to ensure IoT security include:
- Leveraging proven frameworks for information security and privacy that encompass IoT, such as ISO 27001, ISO 27701 and NIST 8259
- Leveraging a proven web application security framework like the OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS), to protect the software on IoT devices
- Taking advantage of expert guidance and a proven process to assess your IoT security ecosystem and prioritize next steps, with a goal of simplifying your IoT security challenges.
Making your IoT provably secure can offer multiple benefits, including a shorter sales cycle and shorter time to revenue, reduced effort dealing with security questionnaires and customer audits, and provable alignment with security and privacy regulations to lessen legal and compliance risk.