Is Your IT Ready for the Internet of Things?

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Internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding, with experts predicting there will soon be billions of connected, “smart” devices ranging from fitness monitors to door locks, video cameras, and coffee makers. Herewith, why you should care, and what you should do about it.

The IoT In Brief: Growing Use, Growing Risks for Business

New IoT devices are brought to market almost weekly. Many are consumer-focused, but business are deploying IoT devices as well. Video cameras and monitors, loading dock locks and scanners, and even break room coffee machines and refrigerators are gaining network connections and interfaces with icons and touchscreens.

However, Internet of things devices can create serious cyber security risks. In February, Security Boulevard published “The Looming Enterprise IoT Security Threat.” That report made three sobering points.

  • The growing business use of IoT devices creates an expanded attack surface for hackers, since most of those devices lack basic security controls, don’t allow patching, and are often poorly monitored.
  • Most businesses have little to no idea of the number or types of Internet of things devices connected to their networks, which means they have incomplete pictures of their true risk postures.
  • Because many IoT devices have no features for security or updates and are poorly monitored, once connected to a network, the risks they create can linger indefinitely.

In March, TechRepublic reported on a Ponemon Institute survey of more than 600 corporate governance and risk oversight professionals.

  • 97 percent said a security incident related to unsecured IoT devices could be “catastrophic” for their organizations.
  • 81 percent said a data breach caused by an unsecured IoT device was likely to occur within the next 24 months.
  • 46 percent said they have policies in place to disable an IoT device that posed a risk to their organizations, but only 15 percent said they have an inventory of most of their IoT applications.
  • 88 percent said the lack of centralized security control was the primary obstacle to complete inventories of IoT resources.
  • The average number of workplace IoT connections is expected to rise from nearly 16,000 in 2017 to nearly 25,000 in 2018.

In May, Dark Reading reported on a survey of some 1,000 IT directors in the U.S., the UK, Germany, and the UAE. “Thirty-five percent of the respondents from the first three countries reported more than 5,000 non-business devices connected to their enterprise network every single day. One-third of the respondents from US, UK, and Germany reported more than 1,000 shadow-IoT devices connected to their network on a typical day.”

The IoT: What to Do

You cannot manage or secure what you can’t see and don’t know about. This means you need to be able to discover and map all of the assets and connections on your network, and to keep that information accurate, complete, and up to date. You also need to be able to map, visualize, and keep tabs on the relationships that link your IT assets to their users and the tasks they perform.

Once you have achieved the ability to discover and map your assets, you can begin to manage them effectively. Effective IT asset management (ITAM) means you can impose policies that govern connections to your network consistently and reliably. In some cases, those policies may need to include a ban on devices that cannot be adequately secured, patched, or updated.

Discovery and ITAM tools from Virima can help you support and manage IoT devices and connections while minimizing security risks. They can automatically capture and inventory data about the IoT devices that provide it. They can also help you identify, further scrutinize, and isolate those that don’t, to maximize protection against device hijackers and hackers.

They can map dependencies, visualize relationships, and provide accurate, complete, timely information about your environment. These benefits can help make your environment more stable, secure, responsive, and valuable to your business. Learn more about Virima’s solutions for Discovery, ITAM, and IT Service Management (ITSM), and how they can help you #CoverYourAssets, here.

Summary:

The IoT In Brief: Growing Use, Growing Risks for Business

The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding, with experts predicting there will soon be billions of connected, “smart” devices ranging from fitness monitors to door locks, video cameras, and coffee makers. New IoT devices are brought to market almost weekly. Many are consumer-focused, but business are deploying IoT devices as well. Video cameras and monitors, loading dock locks and scanners, and even break room coffee machines and refrigerators are gaining network connections and interfaces with icons and touchscreens. You cannot manage or secure what you can’t see and don’t know about. This means you need to be able to discover and map all of the assets and connections on your network, and to keep that information accurate, complete, and up to date. You also need to be able to map, visualize, and keep tabs on the relationships that link your IT assets to their users and the tasks they perform.

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