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.

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