The adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is accelerating, giving businesses unprecedented potential to streamline processes and reduce costs. Implementing these systems changes how companies obtain and analyse data and make data-driven decisions on business operations. However, these innovative technologies come with security and privacy risks that companies must consider before enjoying the full benefits.

As companies continue to rely on IoT and IIoT to understand their business processes better, it’s vital that they take a proactive approach to securing their technology. To mitigate this risk, it’s wise for companies to invest in an effective cybersecurity mesh architecture to protect against emerging cyberthreats.

IoT and IIoT: What are the security risks?

Without security for IoT and IIoT, companies are at risk of cyberthreats such as data interception, firmware exploits, denial of service (DoS), and man-in-the-middle or device spoofing. These cyberthreats are concerning for companies trusting technology to gather information, enhance production processes, and communicate with each other.

One key issue with these devices is that they aren’t designed to be secure from cyberthreats as well as physical attacks. IoT and IIoT devices are vulnerable to theft and damage such as flooding, fire, electrical surges, and vandalism.

Because IoT and IIoT devices lack the computational capacity for in-built security, IT teams may find it difficult to detect a breach before it impacts systems and data. The longer it takes to contain data leakage, the higher the cost.

Another alarming issue is that many IoT and IIoT devices have passwords hardcoded into their firmware.  Hardcoded passwords can let hackers create a botnet; a network of vulnerable devices infected with bot malware controlled remotely. An IoT and IIoT botnet can launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Five ways to mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks

Many companies aren’t prepared to secure their IoT and IIoT environment. Fortunately, there are five ways to mitigate the security risks. It’s important to view IoT and IIoT as a comprehensive security environment, rather than as separate units.

  1. Segment the production environment: create a segmentation strategy to isolate all IoT and IIoT devices from components of others to sit outside of the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). Micro-segmentation creates even smaller parts of a network that IoT and IIoT devices can access, reducing the risk of attack surfaces.
  2. Control network access: zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a security solution that assumes every access attempt as a potential threat with requests evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Demand seamless visibility: enforce seamless visibility across all networks and devices across the business. This ensures that all devices, networks, and risks are managed across the production and IT environments in real time.
  4. Use intrusion protection system (IPS): IPS is a network security technology that detects malicious activity and takes action to prevent it by deploying virtual patching of IoT and IIoT devices.
  5. Use automatic secure remote access: centrally manage remote access through zero trust so that everyone on the network can safely connect and manage a device from another device, at any time, and from anywhere.

The next steps

IoT and IIoT are still emerging areas, meaning tech companies are pushing out these products without always considering the potential security implications. However, as more companies embrace these technologies, the greater the risk of cyber and physical attacks.

Fortinet’s Security Fabric is designed to mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks. Its cybersecurity mesh architecture approach delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across all devices and networks.

To find out how Wavelink can help protect your network, users, and data with the support of Fortinet Security Fabric, contact the sales team today: sales@wavelink.com.au