The Pulse Secure Blog

Exploring and Discussing Secure Access Trends and Technologies

Internet of Things or Internet of Threats?

By the year 2020, Gartner predicts there will be nearly 21 billion connected devices. The benefits are undeniable, such as enhanced productivity in industrial manufacturing environments, accurate and timely services for medical professionals, and a better quality of life for consumers as connected devices streamline everything from travel to entertainment. But as the ecosystem grows, the number of unsecured devices also grows, turning the Internet of Things into the Internet of Threats.

Every new device and new connection within IoT represents a new risk:

  • The identity of the physical object itself can be compromised
  • Data can be compromised
  • The analytics process can be interrupted or hacked
  • Services can be hacked
  • Communication process via the internet can be compromised or re-directed

In response, the IoT device management market is skyrocketing. Markets and Markets reports that “the IoT device management market size is expected to grow from USD 693.4 Million in 2017 to USD 2,559.6 Million by 2022, at a CAGR of 29.8% from 2017 to 2022.”

The Challenges of Securing the Internet of Things

As you seek to implement a secure IoT deployment, you face a number of challenges. First, there are no security standards in place for IoT devices. Devices are made by different manufacturers who have varying specifications and protocols that they adhere to. Some of those manufacturers incorporate robust security into their device design. Others, unfortunately, do not.

Privacy is a second challenge. Consumers connect to the IoT and therefore to your company database. How will you ensure that their personal and transactional information remains confidential and secure?

Third, you have to consider how to address interoperability. You need secure gateways and connections between devices – but there are currently no best practices, standards, or regulations that guide how to maintain security, how to apply patches appropriately, etc.

As a fourth challenge, don’t forget legal and regulatory ramifications. You have to be aware of each country’s privacy and data laws to ensure that you are in compliance across your entire network of connected things.

And, finally, you face the challenge that this is an emerging connected ecosystem. It is evolving – and evolving quickly. With continuous changes, practices that ensured security yesterday may not be sufficient for the threats of today.

Three Steps to a Secure IoT Network

The complexity, connections, and speed that characterize the Internet of Things demand a redefinition of network security strategy. At Pulse Secure, we recommend – and support through our Pulse Policy Secure solution – three steps to ensure a secure IoT network:

  1. Choosing the right IoT systems for your business. If you want to deploy IoT devices – a necessity to stay competitive in today's marketplace – you need to create a solid strategy before you put devices in place. A strategy enables you to create a secure and robust ecosystem from the ground up. It is infinitely easier to secure your IoT network if you take a proactive, strategic approach than to retrofit security onto IoT devices and systems that are inherently insecure.
  2. Deploying IoT systems at the right network segment. Once you have chosen your IoT devices strategically, it is critical to segment your network to protect your data and to mitigate risk.
  3. Providing the right Secure Access. With an IoT system in place, you need to maintain visibility of every endpoint on the network and establish strong authentication protocols and rules to ensure that only appropriate users can access devices, systems, and data.

Redefining your security strategy is essential to harness the full power of today’s interactive and connected devices. Choosing the right systems, deploying them to the right network segment, and providing the right Secure Access will prevent the Internet of Things from becoming the Internet of Threats.

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