Over the last few months,security has been on everyone’s minds. Whether we are talking about Under Armour’s recent breach or Facebook selling user data to third-parties, keeping your user’s data safe has never been more important. Now, as the Internet of Things continues to grow and IoT enabled devices become more prevalent, IoT security will be crucial in keeping data secure.

In this article, we will look at the serious issue of IoT security along with best practices for keeping user data safe. According to Forbes, in 2017 there were close to 8.4 billion connected devices currently in use, which just goes to show how widespread this issue is and the grand implications that data breaches have. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how we can up security and protect users from breaches and hacks.

iot security

Why IoT security is important

As it currently stands, IoT security is not something that is inherently part of IoT devices or even the Internet in general. This is not only a serious issue, but it has led some industry leaders to call for legislation and regulation of IoT to help keep user’s data safe. Right now, these product manufacturers do not seem to care about security, as it currently doesn’t make financial sense.

This is why it falls to software developers and the general public to take matters into their own hands. Without laws in place to protect users from hacks, their data can be used, shared, and even sold to the highest bidder. However, by taking extra steps to ensure that your IoT devices and platforms are secure, we can combat this issue and keep data secure. It is vital that we do this, otherwise we will likely continue to see more news stories about improper data usage.

How to make your IoT devices secure

Next, we will take a look at a few different ways to keep your IoT devices secure. Now, some of these are fairly obvious, but in order to have true IoT security your network will need to be seamless. As we mentioned, until there is either more regulation from the companies creating internet-connected devices or they make IoT security a focus, it’s up to us to put these measures in place to protect user data. Let’s take a look.

Understand what’s connected

When you are looking to improve your IoT security, the first place you should look is at your network to see which devices are connected. Not only is this a good best practice to employ in the first place, but it will allow you to find any vulnerabilities in your network. For instance, unknown devices or untrusted accounts might be working against you without your knowledge.

Without even counting smartphones and computers, the average household has five connected devices. Unless you are absolutely sure that each of your devices is authorized and secure, there is a possibility that your network can be tapped into, leading to more serious data breaches and security issues.  

Create a separate IoT network

One easy way to keep track of the connected devices on your network and ensure that even if your IoT system is hacked you will not be effected is to create a separate network just for IoT devices. While this may be a pain to get your IoT platform up and running on a new network, this is one of the best ways to increase your IoT security across the board.

The reason for taking this extra step is that should someone target your IoT devices, they typically aren’t actually concerned with the devices themselves, but the network they are connected to. For many, this is the network that they most often use and thus all of their data is available. By creating a separate network, you are able to limit the reach of anyone with malicious intent.

Disconnect devices after use

However, not everyone has the ability to create a separate IoT security network with which they can protect their devices. Thankfully, you can work around this by disconnecting devices after use and refraining from keeping them connected longer than necessary. Since it is impossible to hack smart devices that aren’t plugged in, this means that you can eliminate the threat simply by pulling the plug.

That being said, some IoT devices are built with the idea of constantly being on. For example, Nest systems control the activities of smart homes, from the thermostat to the doorbell. Instead of unplugging these devices, you may need to work with the company to change the default settings and potentially even work off of a schedule for when devices are on or off.

Stay up-to-date with security

Another common mistake when it comes to IoT security is forgetting to install the latest security updates to your devices. Although we understand these updates can be a pain, they are there to protect you and your data. It may seem inconvenient at the time, but trust us that simply restarting your laptop or connected devices to install updates will save you many headaches later should your devices be compromised.

Again, this is another scenario where it might make sense to work on a schedule in order to keep your technology up to date. If you can perform regular checks and stomp out problems as they arise, you will be doing a much better job of heightening your IoT security and keeping your data safe.

Password protect everything

The final advice we have for creating an IoT security system that is resistant to hacks is to password protect each and every device on your network. You think that no one will hack your printer, and you may be right, but all it takes is on missing piece for the whole thing to come crashing down. By simply adding an extra layer of security with a password, you are not only increasing your IoT security, but making your network less attractive to potential hackers.

Final thoughts

In today’s and age, you can never be too careful. We hope that these tips and tricks can help you to increase your IoT security and keep you and your user’s data safe. As the world of software development continues to grow, putting in these best practices along the way will be an essential part of creating a more secure digital ecosystem. If you have any other questions on IoT security or devices, we’d love to answer any questions you might have.