In the ring: the entirety of NASA’s computing power behind the 1969 space race, versus just about any smartphone you can grab off the High Street.
It’s not even close: using the iPhone 6 as a baseline, our smartphones are at least 30,000 times faster than the machinery used to guide Apollo 11. The power that we quite literally hold in our palms every day is mind-blowing—we can draw a similar comparison with the 4G of today against the GRPS of the 20th century, with 4G roughly 100,000 times as fast as its predecessor.
But it’s not just the capability our tech now has that’s astounding—it’s also the rate of progression. The world is vastly different to what it was 10 years ago, let alone 50. And with such a rapidly changing world comes the concern that we’re moving too fast for our own good. To put it simply, we’re innovating so quickly that we’re bound to leave back doors open.
Coupled with our increasing dependence on smart tech, budget constraints, a lack of knowledge—and the simple fact that we’re not just dealing with mobiles and laptops anymore—there were always going to be growing pains when it comes to IoT security.
IoT Security players stepping up to the plate
The last few years have seen some pretty infamous cyber attacks, such as the Mirai Botnet attack of 2016 that brought down swathes of the internet, or the NHS data breach of 2017. So users are right to be concerned about whether their tech is airtight—data can be precious, private, or both; and nobody wants to imagine their smart device being taken over and controlled by a hacker.
Luckily, in order to match the pace at which IoT is changing the world, security vendors are pouring their efforts into innovative security solutions that are able to protect both commercial and personal devices from attackers. This year’s Mobile World Congress had a heavy focus on cybersecurity, with a big showing from players like the FIDO Alliance and their state-of-the-art authentication tech.
And one of the main takeaways from the recent Smart IoT London was innovative security on par with innovative connectivity. From security modules for devices to network pipes like IPSec VPNs, there’s plenty being done to ensure data traffic only reaches the eyes its meant for.
Key considerations for securing your IoT application
Nonetheless, security needs to be a top priority when it comes to building your own IoT application or connectivity solution. Here are the key elements to keep in mind:
Build it safe from the get-go:
Security considerations need to be a priority, as early as the planning stages. It’s easier to lay security groundwork during an initial setup than it is to retroactively add features; and it means you’ll be safe and solid from day one.
Don’t go cheap:
When you’re acquiring an IoT device, spend some time checking out its pedigree. While budgets are always a factor, don’t make a beeline for the cheapest product with the fullest feature set. They’re almost certain to come with vulnerabilities—which will inevitably cost you much more down the road.
Secure your network at all ends:
From using the right firewall and anti-malware tech to making sure all areas are properly patched, don’t give anything (or anyone) a chance at sneaking in by covering all your bases.
We’ve all hit ‘Remind me later’ on those pesky update popups. But they’re there for a reason. Make sure to carry out system updates and apply patches from your end as soon as they become available.
Get your IP addressing right:
Private or public IP—that is the question; and private is very often the answer. With private dynamic IP addressing, your device remains ‘hidden’ from the Internet at large, so it’s safe from many forms of attack.
Conversely, a public IP address only fits the bill for firewalls that need complex VPN services, or custom servers that need direct access to the Internet. Salesmen are good at making Public IP features seem attractive—but it’s usually the less secure, more data-hungry option. You can read more about choosing the right IP type here.
Educate your end-users:
It’s important for device or solution end-users to understand: if a technology is an integral part of their business operations or daily lives, it’s critical that they take measures to keep it secure, such as updating software and credentials.
Working together to keep tech safe
From life-saving healthcare devices to applications that combat climate change, IoT has the power to reshape industries and solve problems we didn’t even know we had; but in such a rapidly shifting, high stakes tech landscape, it’s crucial that you secure your solutions.
Providers, partners, and sector operatives need to work closely together, investing in and implementing a level of security that keeps tech safe—and that’s where we come in.
As IoT experts, we’re here to help you build your IoT solution to be airtight from the outset, source the perfect security options, and keep that security up-to-date.
Whether you want to talk IP addressing, device acquisition, or solution design, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.