How the Internet of Things Complicates Security

Security gets more complex with the Internet of Things, but training and visibility are two key remedies.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is permeating the IT landscape of enterprises, with sensors being added to a variety of devices. The disruptive smart devices increase efficiency and speed up communication, but add complexity to security. In some cases, IT isn’t even aware of the inclusion of IoT devices that employees decide to utilize in their jobs. This makes protecting the network from a breach more challenging.

With hundreds, possibly thousands, of devices exchanging data with access points within the network and with cloud solutions, there is ample opportunity for a security breach. How can enterprises manage security threats?

Policy and training: The first line of defense is employee training and policies that support a secure environment. Employee training is surprisingly effective; once employees understand the level of trust that’s been placed in them to protect the network, they tend to follow the policies put in place by IT. Items like unauthorized smart devices and Shadow IT are just two of the areas that can be largely addressed through training. Good password policies and settings that limit the idle time on a smartphone are examples of how policy can also help close the security gap.

Visibility: Investing in software solutions that measure benchmarks in order to detect future anomalies is a necessary addition to firewalls and malware detection tools. While these were previously an effective strategy, too many enterprises continue to rely on them in a far different environment. The current technology requires that IT have information about user behavior and file movements so that even subtle changes in patterns can be detected.

Separation: Keeping IoT traffic on a separate part of the network is a good way to prevent the infiltration of the entire network. It also offers a remedy against congestion that can occur when a fleet of IoT devices is launched.

The home front: Keep in mind that your employees carry many of their smart devices home, where they interact with a host of smart appliances like refrigerators and personal assistants. Do your employees have the training they need to secure their smart devices at home and keep them from impacting your enterprise network?

When managing a network that includes IoT devices, it helps to have an unbiased expert that can guide you through important security decisions. Contact us at Compass Solutions to learn more about your options for managing security for your enterprise.

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