Category Archives: IoT

Ways to secure IoT devices in your workplace

The volume of IoT devices is booming, Statista forecasts that there will be almost 31 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. So what is IoT and why does it matter? In the workplace, connected devices are becoming critical to various industries including healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, and energy.

Connected devices rank very poor in regard to security. Lack of available updates, encryption, and negligence, creates vulnerability in a business network due to IoT devices.  “Unknown unknowns,” are devices that IT security teams aren’t even aware of that could potentially lead to network exposer.

So what steps can an IT department take to lessen IoT vulnerabilities?

You don’t have to connect everything

Odds are your workplace has multiple devices that have the availability to be connected. When it comes to the latest kitchen appliances (fridges, watercoolers, etc.), not everything needs to be connected. In fact, a majority of these types of devices don’t have standard update protocols. Leaving most connectable appliances vulnerable to attack.

Developing a companywide standard for wearables and other IoT devices may help business network security. Employees with personal IoT devices should be wary about what they are connecting to and must adhere to set security standards. In an ideal scenario, employees wouldn’t connect personal devices to the business network, however this is sometimes impossible.

Separate networks are key

Thankfully most WiFi access solutions have what is called a guest network. It is important to keep this network separate from your business network that which includes shared data files and workplace computers. A guest network could be used as a barrier to entry from unauthorized users and breaches from unmonitored IoT devices.

In an ideal environment, IT security teams would create an entire network for IoT devices alone. Separating IoT devices that have questionable security will prevent access of your data and devices that are connected to the business network.

Monitor devices and assess your network

Workplaces need to ensure they are tracking everything that connects to their network and monitor traffic flow. Every device that enters or will enter the network must be assessed to determine the level of access it should have. An example is an employee’s wearable, ideally it would not be connected, but if it is, the access level is minimal.

All devices that enter the network must be monitored to ensure they are fully patched and up to date when updates are available. Any unknowns should flag an alert to the IT security team. Security teams should take the time to actively look for unknown devices on their network. IoT devices are only increasing, it is crucial for businesses to secure their networks from unmonitored devices and vulnerable IoT devices.

To learn more about creating a secure business network, contact CompuOne.

IoT 101: What is IoT?

IoT otherwise known as the internet of things – a broad name for a broad concept. Internet of things is a broad concept because “things” could literally mean anything. The internet of things provides connectivity to objects that would otherwise be known as “dumb.” All that is required to make an object “smart” is an IP address, a processor, and a wireless network.

Example of IoT devices:

Connectivity is powering the smart city, smart business, and the smart home phenomenon, creating a connected life. Some example of inter-connected devices can smaller such as a toothbrush or a lightbulb. Connected devices can also as big as an autonomous vehicle or an engine on an airplane.

Internet of things is growing, with no signs of it stopping. In fact, HP estimated that there were about 9.0 billion IoT devices used in 2013. They also predicted that number will jump to 1 trillion by 2025. These devices are working to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world, increasing productivity and quality of life.

IoT in various industries:

Truthfully, the internet of things is beneficial to businesses in in countless ways. Devices can be used in different ways for different industries. Here are some examples:

  • Manufacturing
    • Machine to machine communication is derived from embedded sensor systems, allowing organizations in manufacturing to run without having to be actively monitored.
  • Transportation and Logistics
    • Data accuracy increases with mobile scanners, RFID systems, etc. enterprises gain visibility of assets and operations are better streamlined.
  • Healthcare
    • Having connected devices is evolving patient care, being used to monitor medical assets, and maintains life-saving equipment.
  • Energy
    • Utility companies use IoT to gather necessary data for energy cost prediction, pinpoint outages, and schedule repairs as needed.

The biggest issue with IoT:

The main issue with device connectivity is that security is an afterthought. Sometimes, IoT devices are being sold to individuals and businesses completely unencrypted. Also, connected devices operating systems and software will eventually become outdated with no ability to update.

As the world of IoT continues to grow, the number of devices behind the same firewall (if any) also grows. Connected devices allow for an increased chance of getting hacked due to the vulnerabilities of outdated software. It is important to ensure your business is taking the proper security measures for all connected devices.


For more information on IoT security, contact us today.