IoT is still in its infancy. Like Superman in his earliest years, the world has yet to fully understand its powers or come to terms with the potential security implications. That said, with a little help from a carefully curated IT security policy and a large helping of innovation, IoT may just find itself building the trust of office-goers around the world.
And about that trust: It’s actually more important than you might think. According to a report on IoT security by Ron Ross published at the tail end of the Obama administration, “That trustworthiness doesn’t happen by accident.” Instead, organizations need a clever strategy to deal with unique IoT challenges if you want your coworkers to really trust it.
Face down the challenges
Consider these three points:
- The complexity of managing hundreds or even thousands of new, connected devices
- Maintaining the security of that many devices in any number of physical locations
- The sheer number of connected devices
The bulk of IoT security challenges admittedly come down to a game of numbers. Do the benefits of that new fleet of PCs outweigh the potential security concerns? What about those countless light bulbs with an active connection? Is it useful innovation or unnecessary risk?
From an IT pro’s perspective, IoT is often daunting at best. Add the issue of standardization to the game—aka, different protocols and encryption methods with different devices—and trust becomes even harder to achieve.
What’s an IT pro to do? After all, IoT does come with a pretty sweet set of benefits. From smart hubs that’ll turn on the lights, projector, and videoconferencing system when the first person walks in the room to voice assistants that heed your every beck and call, IoT is worth the effort.
Follow the tech leaders
As it turns out, Ron Ross’s assessment of IoT in a government setting can apply to your office, too. For starters, a secure office environment that embraces IoT isn’t an oxymoron—as much as it sounds like it.
The US Department of Homeland Security has actually come up with six strategic principles to accomplish this heroic feat:
- Bake security into your IoT design phase
- Make security updates a priority
- Implement security measures based on a scale of potential impact
- Adhere to security best practices
- Make visibility a priority in your IoT endeavors
- Don’t introduce new IoT devices “just because you can”
These six principles are a good ruler to measure the security of any IoT deployment, but perhaps the best piece of IT security advice comes from the strength in numbers that IoT relies on. Instead of devoting resources to securing individual devices, an impressive amount of sanity and security can be saved by aggregating these devices.
Don’t take the Frankenstein approach to deploying new IoT technologies. Put a little intelligence into your rollout by choosing unified IoT platforms that’ll let you manage visibility, security updates, and scaling from a single view. In other words, choose solutions that allow you to manage multiple devices as if you were only managing one.
Take the printer fleet, for example. Modern solutions actually allow your printers to help you defend your network. With self-monitoring, updating, and even healing, these IoT devices can actually ease your security burden instead of adding more weight.
In the end, IoT is a beast worth taming. All that’s needed is a little foresight and a solid IT security policy, and your office will transition from the legacy equipment dark ages to a tech hub of the future. If you follow these best practices, secure IoT will be a reality.