Your business is likely already considering how to integrate the internet of things (IoT) into your current procedures and infrastructure—in fact, you might already be using a fleet of devices in your warehouses, or in your logistics division.
But before you get too excited about the possibilities of IoT, you should take a step back and consider the security measures you’ll put in place alongside this technology. Without a solid security plan, IoT may only serve as a weakness.
First, you should be aware of the inherent vulnerabilities in many IoT products. While many tech developers spend lots of time and money to ensure their devices work properly, others rush their products together, forgoing some quality of work in favor of getting a product to market. As a result, even innocuous connected devices can have vulnerabilities. For example, even your garage door opener could potentially be hacked.
The Problem of Scale
The problem is compounded by the sheer scale of a typical IoT integration. Most businesses adopting an IoT model won’t be purchasing a handful of devices; they’ll be purchasing hundreds, if not thousands. It’s estimated that by 2025, there will be more than 75 billion connected devices—each one of which is a potential vulnerability. You can’t think of your entire network as a single vulnerability; each device and each node in that system must be considered.
The Problem of Ownership
There’s also a problem of ownership and individual responsibility in some companies. The rise of IoT means the average person is going to have more connected devices on them at any given time, whether it’s a fitness tracker or an RFID chip. With so many corporate and personal connected devices intermingling, it becomes more difficult to determine who is responsible for which devices, and more difficult to guard against external threats—like infected devices that have been brought from home.
It’s impossible to create security protocols that guard against every vulnerability, but it’s important to establish some guidelines that protect your business, long before you integrate IoT:
- Create a strict BYOD policy. You can start by creating and enforcing a strict bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. This will help you get ahead of the problem of ownership, restricting how external devices are to be used on company networks, and possibly dictating how corporate devices are to be used.
- Invest in only the best tech. High-quality devices will be created with intentions to maximize security, and their developers will stand by the tech, updating it as they learn more about potential vulnerabilities. Do your research in advance, and only work with the most qualified vendors.
- Hire experts in the field. You’ll need at least one IT expert on your team who specializes in managing and protecting IoT devices. Aim for both talent and experience here, and work with them to establish secure protocols for your adoption.
- Implement a strict updating policy. Things in IT security change quickly, so it’s important to mandate all your workers to update their devices as often as possible. Don’t allow your company to become vulnerable due to an old operating system or an old piece of software.
- Run periodic reviews. Commit to occasionally reviewing your current practices for weaknesses and opportunities to improve. IoT is a field that demands you to keep moving.
If you’re interested in utilizing IoT in your business, once you’ve established some solid security practices, be sure to check out SAP’s IoT products and services. We have everything you need to revolutionize your supply chain.