In this digital world where everyone is hooked on the latest technological devices, the concept of IoT (Internet of Things) is at the forefront of all industries. A lot of IoT devices like your company’s thermostats, security systems, vending machines, lights, and more rely on this kind of connectivity.
Changes are already happening today, and as the days go by, IoT will undoubtedly become more advanced, impacting many sectors from healthcare to education. Right now, companies have welcomed IoT, turning into “smart” enterprises to make life easier. However, with this internet-based convenience, there is an increased risk of hacking. Sadly, cybercriminals misuse company information and financial details to steal your money. Hackers are skilled, so they control your smart cameras and mics to spy on you. If you own smart devices, don’t put your privacy and security at stake. Make an effort to ensure your business is less prone to attacks. Here are seven tips to help you jump start this process:
1. Start with Routers
The primary gateway to your smart facility is your wi-fi router because it connects all your IoT devices. Secure this router by changing the router’s default name into something unique and unidentifiable to deter cybercriminals. If you use the brand name and model number, scammers can search for the default login and password to gain access to your network. Most of all, go for the highest encryption level, which is WPA2 (soon to be WPA3). If you only rely on ordinary WPA or WEP, you are at risk.
2. Implement Strong Passwords
Beef up your router’s password, along with the password of all your IoT devices. Usually, they require an account to log into the apps, so tell all your staff to create one-of-a-kind credentials for each account. This way, if one account gets compromised, all the others won’t take a hit. Most of all, ensure that everyone’s password is alphanumeric, with symbols and a mix of lower and uppercase so hackers can’t readily decode it.
3. Turn Off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
Most modern routers have settings that enable you to turn off UPnP, a feature that allows the gadgets on your network to access specific services and discover one another. This is commonly used for retrieving files and streaming media between devices sharing a network. However, this is risky as people can also end up sharing malware. By turning it off, this means your router will ignore the request to connect, keeping out unwanted and risky data that can readily spread between your local devices.
4. Disconnect Devices When They’re Not in Use
One of the advantages of IoT devices is they give access and control from anywhere. However, teach your employees to turn off features if they are not in use. If specific devices are only used with the company wi-fi, disengage Bluetooth connectivity, and remote access. On top of that, if the device is not used for a while, disconnect them from the network. IoT cameras and mics can be hacked, so disabling features and disconnecting devices block off multiple entry points to hackers.
5. Connect IoT Devices to a VPN
If you really want to secure your company, a simple solution is using a VPN router. If you configure your enterprise router with a VPN, each and every gadget connected to this router will automatically receive protection and security from that VPN.
It is prudent to have a VPN for all devices because, with this level of protection, you can rest assured knowing your company information is secure. Most reputable VPN providers make it simple to set this up and even offer routers that have been pre-configured for easy installation.
6. Favor Devices That Can Work Without The Cloud
If you want to be vigilant in protecting your business, you must favor IoT devices that will work with a traditional server and not just a cloud. Though this is an excellent backup tool, the cloud is just more prone to theft, loss, compliance violations, contractual breaches, and malware infections. The traditional method is just a lot more secure if you want better control over your users’ actions.
7. Create a Secondary or ‘Guest’ Network
It is vital to set up a secondary or network that’s solely dedicated for use with your IoT devices. This is a brilliant move that protects your primary network against possible threats. This means your guests will not be able to login to your main network. The latter is only accessible for you and your employees. This is a safety measure that protects all of your essential devices, so if the guest network is compromised, sensitive company information remains safe.
The Final Word
If you have the funds to purchase the most expensive IoT devices for your company, you also have the means to beef up your protection protocols. Do your research by searching for vulnerabilities and reading about updates. It will take a bit of your effort, but you invested a lot in your business, so precautionary measures must be put in place. Otherwise, you may end up regretting your choices.