How Organizations Can Mitigate IoT and IIoT Security Risks

Article by Wavelink* CEO Ilan Rubin

The digital industrial revolution in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered intense growth for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) markets. However, these breakthrough technologies present security risks that must be addressed for organizations to take full advantage of them. As organizations increasingly rely on IoT and IIoT to manage critical business systems, finding the right approach to security is essential.

IoT and IIoT carry inherent risks because they are often deployed faster than they can be secured. This exposes organizations to cyber threats such as device hacking, data breaches or siphoning, device theft, identity theft, and denial of service attacks. These types of attacks have serious operational, financial, security, and reputational consequences for organizations.

This is of particular concern as organizations rely on technology to collect sensitive data, connect virtual and physical environments, manage production workflows and predictive maintenance, including security aspects, and dynamically interact with each other. others. When technology is trusted to this extent, ensuring organizations have the right policies in place to mitigate risk and reduce the impact of a cyber breach is critical.

A key issue is that IoT and IIoT devices were not designed to be secure, with many having hard-coded passwords in their firmware, making it difficult to update or patch security. . Even if security is installed on a device, it can be circumvented in most cases by exploiting a wide range of known vulnerabilities. When IoT or IIoT devices are compromised, IT teams may find it difficult to detect an event before it affects systems and data.

There are five ways to mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks. As part of this approach, it is important to consider the IoT/IIoT environment holistically and not as separate components or devices.

  1. Segment the production environment so that all IIoT and wireless devices are outside the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network or industrial control system (ICS). In many cases, micro-segmentation is needed to allow only authorized communications between devices.
  2. Control network access by constantly monitoring what is connecting to the network and checking the security status of each device before it can be connected.
  3. Require transparent visibility into all networks and devices the business uses for security monitoring and management. This needs to be centralized so that all devices, networks, risks, traffic, and policies can be viewed and managed in both production and IT environments in real time.
  4. Use an intrusion protection system (IPS) to detect attacks and provide virtual patches to IoT and IIoT devices. At the same time, deploy active protection solutions and deception technology to counter unknown threats.
  5. Use automatic secure remote access through zero trust so everyone on the network is verified and applications stay secure no matter where authorized users are.

When adopting security solutions, it is important to ensure that they can automatically adapt to the needs of the business. This includes adapting to network changes, proactively anticipating and managing threats, and providing real-time threat intelligence.

A new generation of security tools achieves this by providing better visibility into the network environment while automatically responding to compromised devices or suspicious activity. These tools directly address operational and regulatory needs by providing centralized management and a unified, context-aware security policy that provides granular control and visibility across all devices and networks. In this way, current and emerging IoT and IIoT security solutions can ensure the integrity and protection of the automated organization’s assets, protecting it from emerging cyber threats.

*Wavelink is a Fortinet Distributor

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