The Risks of Industrial IoT and How to Solve Them

October 15 - 2021

Digital transformation is a hallmark characteristic of the modern-day industry. Industrial connectivity has become a top priority as businesses and industrial corporations take steps to modernize existing processes.

A digitally connected world is where the internet of things (IoT) comes into play. Yet there are notable differences between the internet things that we use as average consumers and the infrastructure that corporate businesses use to keep operations running smoothly.

Keep reading to develop an in-depth understanding of how the internet of things (IoT) is transforming the business landscape. In this post, we’ll discuss security risks, best practices, and ways to leverage IoT technology for maximum results.

What is the Internet of Things?

The internet of things, or IoT, is a phrase that describes the connected world of wireless devices; these devices have the ability to access and read data from the internet. With today’s technological advancements, IoT products include more than just laptops and smartphones.

The internet of things includes:

  • Personal tech devices

  • Wearables

  • Home products

  • Appliances that can connect to WiFi

Although some of these products contain personalization options, others are simply made to stay online with few options or settings. 

As a result, the internet of things can be helpful and efficient, but it also introduces known security risks. A lack of awareness can make these cybersecurity issues more problematic.

What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is similar in scope to the general internet of things. From an industrial perspective, however, connected devices are more likely to relate to tools and machines that are critical to business operations.

IIoT assets may be related to things such as:

  • Production or manufacturing

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Predictive analytics

  • Data management systems

Industrial IoT and the Risks to Business Operations

With the industrial internet of things, corporate-level security is key. This is because IIoT tools can read, interpret, and even share business data. When that confidential data is exposed or breached, it could lead to extremely expensive resolutions and repairs.

Having a proactive cybersecurity plan is essential for reducing IoT risks to business operations.

The most notable threats to corporate entities include:

  • Loss of protected internal data

  • Loss of secure customer data

  • Exposure of confidential trade information

  • Disruption to critical systems

  • Leverage for future security threats and actions

Many risks to business stem from encryption. Recent data on business and IoT usage suggest that over half of all IoT data is unencrypted. This issue creates an open door for threat actors and cybercriminals.

5 Ways to Manage IoT Security Risks

At the organizational level, you can manage some of the most common IoT security risks by following a few basic steps. The five ideas below provide a foundation from which you can build more holistic security policies.

Step 1: Know Your Devices

It’s difficult to take any protective measures without an understanding of which devices are enabled on the network. As a first step, always list or register every known device. If employees are responsible for bringing their own devices, use a corporate enrollment program to achieve better visibility.

Step 2: Update and Maintain Devices

Security updates are critical when maintaining devices on the industrial internet of things. If you need to, you can manually push new updates to any mobile device, tool, or machine. As a common practice, most software patches take into account current trends in cybercrime and security-related activity. IT leaders should carefully review and monitor all upcoming updates and patches to make sure that these are applied at the corporate level.

Step 3: Take Action Against Malware

Industrial IoT devices can be infected by nefarious bugs like malware. Cybercriminals may use various forms of malware to attack and bring down crucial systems. Know what lines of defense you have in place, and always stay updated on current cyber trends, hacks, and criminal attempts.

Step 4: Invest in the Best APIs

APIs are application programming interfaces, and they are the cornerstone pieces to most corporate technology. If you’re concerned about IoT security, collaborate with trained and expert software engineers to develop APIs that eliminate holes, gaps, and vulnerabilities.

Step 5: Provide Thorough Training

The best lines of defense against cybersecurity risks are everyday users. In industrial settings, corporations are responsible for providing adequate security training to staff members, contractors, and anyone who has involvement in business systems. Greater awareness can help team members identify red flags before they become significant issues.

Discover How to Protect Your Business and Valuable Assets 

The internet of things is a growing industry in and of itself. As more IoT products come to market, it’s natural for companies to want to take advantage of increased productivity, growth potential, and scalability.

While these incentives are positive, it’s simply irresponsible to ignore the potential security gaps that are present within industrial IoT. If your organization wants to take advantage of new innovation, don’t neglect your cybersecurity game plan.

To protect your most valuable business assets, schedule a Vulnerability Assessment with our team of experts today. We can help you develop a risk mitigation strategy that allows you to leverage the power of IIoT technologies without sacrificing safe protocols.

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