How The Internet of Things Will Change Cybersecurity - And How You Can Prepare

The Internet of Things - best explained as a trend which sees physical objects not traditionally connected to the web being brought online - has the potential to completely change how we live and work. Connected home appliances like thermostats, fridges, and coffee makers add more convenience to our lives than ever, while sensors and endpoints in the workplace create new workflows, revenue streams, and business insights. Unfortunately, there’s just one problem.

From a cybersecurity perspective, IoT is an absolute nightmare.

The issue is that most vendors and manufacturers that aren’t traditionally cybersecurity firms. They don’t understand what makes a device secure or insecure. And yet with the advent of IoT, they’re creating devices that are connected to the web.

You see where this is going, right?

Exacerbating matters is the fact that from a security perspective, IoT is more than just a whole new ball game. It’s a completely different sport. Traditional approaches to cybersecurity - traditional tools, processes, and skills - are insufficient at best.

In order to ensure your business is adequately prepared for the coming flood of connected devices and endpoints, you need to completely change your mindset.

Here’s what this involves:

  • First, you need to understand that security awareness training will only get you so far. For example, according to security provider PhishMe, even employees who have completed training are still susceptible to phishing scams.
  • Second, you need to realize that you cannot trust vendors and manufacturers to secure their devices - at least, not until we can establish a solid regulatory climate for IoT. Convenience and connectivity come first; security is a distant second. Until such time as this changes, it’s up to you to pick up the slack.
  • Third, you need to account for the fact that devices and systems are going to be interacting with one another in new and unexpected ways. Securing those interactions is every bit as important as securing the endpoints themselves.
  • Last but certainly not least, you need to accept that like mobility, the Internet of Things isn’t something that can be stopped. Eventually, your business will become part of the connected world. The more you do to prepare now, the better off you’ll be.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that while IoT comes with its fair share of cybersecurity headaches, it’s also got the potential to do some great things in the security space. Through artificial intelligence, for example, IoT devices could work together to act as a sort of digital immune system, working without human supervision and proactively addressing cybersecurity risks as they surface.By constantly monitoring themselves, learning, and evolving, these systems could very well give way to a new era of digital security.

But the technology isn’t quite there - not yet. Until such time as it is, it’s up to you to fill in the gaps. With the knowledge laid out in this piece, you’re equipped to do so. 

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