Cybersecurity

How to Design a Robust IoT Cybersecurity Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide

Technology has evolved at a rapid rate in the last decade. Creating an IoT cybersecurity strategy that can’t be breached is easy if you follow these steps.

For example, the Internet of Things has experienced a lot of fast expansion recently (IoT). Physical objects that can communicate with each other over the internet are known as the Internet of Things (IoT). In many cases, the Internet of Things (IoT) network removes the need for human involvement.

 

The Emergence of IoT in the Workplace

The Internet of Things (IoT) has long been a household concept, but enterprise adoption is only beginning. As a result, IoT cybersecurity must be improved.

According to McKinsey’s forecast, 25 percent of businesses will be using IoT technology as of 2019. According to the same forecast, the number of connected devices is expected to reach 43 billion by 2023. Connected devices grew by a factor of three in 2018.

It can’t be avoided. The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming an essential part of business operations. The rise of the IoT is not without its drawbacks, however: increasing cybersecurity worries.

Developing an impenetrable IoT security strategy can ensure that your devices are safe.

Internet of Things (IoT) Security Challenges

According to a recent survey, IoT cybersecurity is a nightmare for most CISOs and CIOs. When it comes to defending an Internet of Things (IoT) environment, there are a number of challenges to overcome.

Each IoT device comes with its own software and firmware, which is one of the biggest problems with the Internet of Things. In most cases, updating them may be difficult. You may already know this, but software updates are an essential part of good cybersecurity practises. Every new line of code or feature offered creates new attack vectors, which is a major challenge for the IoT. And it’s almost hard to perform and manage large-scale improvements.

In addition, many IoT devices do not work with third-party endpoint security solutions. This is due in part to the fact that electronic devices are subject to rules (like FDA regulations for medical devices). As a result, organisations are increasingly focusing their security efforts on the communication routes between devices and networks.

As a company grows, so does the number of connected devices. You run the danger of wasting precious time and money if you play cat and mouse with your devices in order to keep them up to date. As a result, you may find yourself vulnerable to attack from various angles.

Cybersecurity Benefits of Enterprise-Level IoT Solutions

The increasing need for IoT innovation and efficiency has accelerated the adoption of IoT at the corporate level. It’s almost hard to build a company nowadays if you don’t stay up with the latest technical developments.

The greater the number of devices on a network, the more vulnerable it is to cyberattacks. The greater the number of IoT devices and services being deployed, the greater the danger of external assaults.

As a result, if you’re thinking about using IoT in your business, you’ll need to beef up your cybersecurity measures first.

Since there are so many devices connected to the network, IoT cybersecurity must be taken very seriously. For the simple reason that one infected device has the power to spread and jeopardise the whole network. As a result, malicious actors may be able to get access to crucial data or take over your business.

IoT Cybersecurity That’s Impenetrable: 4 Essentials.

Cybersecurity for the Internet of Things (IoT) must be multi-layered and scalable to protect against a wide range of threats. Plan your IoT cybersecurity strategy around the elements listed below.

  1. Next-Generation Firewalls Protect Your Data Against Hackers

Devices like firewalls are used to protect networks from unwanted traffic. A collection of security rules and protocols may allow or restrict access to data packets. The objective of this component, as its name suggests, is to establish a firewall between your network and the outside world. Using this prevents your network from being hacked by cyber criminals.

While there are several types of firewalls, you must utilise next-generation firewalls in order to protect your IoT network (NGFW). NGFWs, on the other hand, check all packets, not just the headers. This makes it possible to examine the information contained inside the packet. The result of this is that users can more quickly identify, categorise, and stop malicious data packets.

Next-generation firewalls are essential components in order to protect the Internet of Things from cyberattacks. As a result, only authorised users may access your network.

Encrypt Your Information

Encryption is another layer of protection to consider while developing your IoT cybersecurity plan.

According to ZScaler, plain text channels are used in approximately 91.5 percent of corporate transactions.This equates to just 8.5% of transactions being encrypted. This is concerning because it opens the door for hackers to get access to company systems and wreak havoc. For instance, they may conduct a distributed denial of service (DDoS) assault against your organisation, thereby crippling it.

Encrypting your data is one approach to preventing bad actors from obtaining access to your network. This must apply to your software as well as your hardware. However, you must also use encrypted VPN solutions to guarantee the secure transfer of data between your devices.

Management of Identity and Access

Initially built with users in mind, identity and access management (IAM) security solutions were created with users in mind. IAM guarantees that only authorised users have access to the systems and data necessary to do their jobs. Additionally, it guarantees that essential data is accessible only to authorised individuals.

However, as the Internet of Things (IoT) grows in popularity, IAM (which stands for “sound management”) is becoming another layer of protection that can be applied to devices.

Digital things, like human beings, have identities. And IAM technologies have advanced to the point where they can handle tens of thousands of devices and their associated users. IAM can detect and provide precise access permissions to each device in your network using tools such as A3 from AeroHive.

When it comes to corporate IoT, controlling the digital identities of all connected devices is crucial to securing your network infrastructure. More importantly, verify that each device has just the access levels necessary for your data.

Segmentation of networks

Since the inception of networks, network access control (NAC) has been a vital component of cybersecurity. And, to this day, it remains a critical component of the majority of cybersecurity efforts—particularly those involving IoT.

The advantage of conventional network endpoints is that they often include endpoint security. This is not the case with the IoT. That is when network segmentation enters the picture.

Segmenting your IoT network from the rest of your network using NGFWs is recommended since it isolates possible dangers within a regulated environment. For instance, if an attacker gains access to a device in your segmented IoT network, the danger is contained to that segment.

Combining It All—Developing an IoT Cybersecurity Strategy

Now that you’ve seen your top IoT cybersecurity alternatives, let’s dig right into developing your plan. However, keep in mind that this is not a set-in-stone standard since not all businesses’ cybersecurity requirements are the same.

Having said that, the following suggestions will assist you in developing your enterprise’s IoT cybersecurity strategy:

Determine What Must Be Protected

After establishing security policies and standards, the next step toward failsafe IoT cybersecurity is determining what needs to be protected. This entails completing an audit of the following:

Your Methods

Understanding your organization’s core processes is vital since it helps you prioritise your efforts. The majority of cyberattacks target business-critical operations, so it’s critical to have a comprehensive view of them. Recognize what they are and how to guard against them.

Your electronic devices are

From data storage devices to process-enabling devices, you must understand every device on your network and their role in your operations. Keep in mind that your security is only as good as your weakest link.Furthermore, because your devices store and transmit all of your data, you must devote additional attention and time to ensuring your security in this area is flawless.

Personnel

Many firms ignore one component of cybersecurity: their employees. You must guarantee that your personnel are current with cybersecurity procedures and security measures. If you do not, your personnel may unintentionally jeopardise your security.For instance, one person may provide a password to another in order to expedite a certain component of your procedure. While this may seem to be an innocent activity, such as playing a game during work hours, it is a serious infringement of security procedure.

Having a comprehensive picture of how your devices and their users are linked is critical for identifying the most susceptible places on your network. As a consequence, you can plan the security measures to use at each stage.

Take compliance into consideration.

While compliance is not a security concern in and of itself, they do go hand in hand. That is why, while you develop your IoT cybersecurity strategy, compliance must be a primary consideration.

Infractions are a critical problem that must be addressed when you develop your cybersecurity strategy. Failure to comply may result in heavy penalties.

So, what does compliance imply in the context of cybersecurity?

Compliance with cybersecurity regulations entails adhering to a variety of measures imposed by a regulatory body, legislation, or industry association. These controls are implemented to safeguard the security, integrity, and availability of the data with which your organisation interacts. Compliance standards vary by business or sector, which is why you must constantly be aware of your industry’s individual regulations.

Always have a compliance programme running concurrently with your cybersecurity plan to assure compliance.

Recognize and Predict Potential Threats

To guarantee that your IoT cybersecurity plan is solid, you must first be aware of and understand the security dangers you face. To begin, evaluate your company by asking questions such as:

  • What is the nature of your offering?
  • Who are your clients?

While these may seem to be straightforward questions, the answers will assist you in answering two critical concerns:

  • Who would gain from your company being disrupted?
  • Who stands to gain by gaining access to your customers’ data?

This will assist you in narrowing down the attack types that are most likely to be directed against your firm.

Additionally, you may predict the kind of danger you’re likely to encounter by examining your rivals. Take notice of their risk profiles and the most often occurring breaches in your business.

Understanding the risks you’re likely to encounter can assist you in determining the kind of security measures that should be implemented. After all, half the fight is won by just understanding your adversary (so they say).

Once you’ve established all of these elements, the next crucial step is to choose your cybersecurity framework.

Appropriate Cybersecurity Framework Selection.

After laying the foundation, it’s time to get practical and choose and execute your chosen cybersecurity strategy. A cybersecurity framework, in its simplest form, is a collection of rules and processes advocated by top cybersecurity groups. These frameworks bolster enterprise-level cybersecurity efforts. A cybersecurity framework must be documented in terms of both knowledge and processes for execution.

Different sectors have established and implemented their own cybersecurity strategies to mitigate the risk and effect of network vulnerabilities.

While no two cybersecurity frameworks are identical, they all must cover five important cybersecurity functions.

  1. Identify. Your framework must assist you in identifying the cyber touchpoints that already exist in your corporate environment.
  2. Protect. This function discusses how you manage access control, data security, and other proactive actions necessary to maintain the security of your network.
  3. Detect: Your framework should include a section on how you will detect any possible breaches. This is often accomplished by the monitoring of logs and the implementation of intrusion detection methods at the network and device level.
  4. Respond. How will you react if a breach is discovered? You must have a process in place for determining the source of the breach and resolving the vulnerability.
  5. Recover. This stage of your framework is concerned with developing a recovery strategy, constructing a disaster recovery system, and establishing backup procedures.

With a cybersecurity architecture that addresses these five areas, your company’s IoT cybersecurity strategy will be sufficiently resilient to deal with (nearly) everything.

As I previously said, there are a plethora of distinct forms of cybersecurity frameworks that you may use. However, according to cybersecurity expert Frank Kim, the majority of them fall into one of three groups. Let’s take a quick look at them to help you understand frameworks and their role in your cybersecurity strategy:

Frameworks of Control

Control frameworks serve as the bedrock of cybersecurity. They assist you in the following ways:

  • Establish a baseline of controls.
  • Evaluate the current status of technological capability (and inefficiencies).
  • Prioritize control implementation.
  • Create a preliminary road plan for your security team to follow.

NIST 800-53 and CIS Controls are two examples of control frameworks (CSC).

Frameworks for Programs

The programme frameworks are intended to assist you in developing a proactive cybersecurity plan capable of identifying, detecting, and responding to threats. This is accomplished by assisting you in the following ways:

  • Evaluate the current condition of your security programme.
  • Increase the breadth of your security programme.
  • Assess the maturity of your software and compare it to industry standards.
  • Simplify communications between your security team and corporate executives.

ISO 27001 and the NIST CSF are two examples of programme frameworks.

Frameworks for Risk Assessment

The risk framework enables you to prioritise security tasks and guarantee that your cybersecurity programme is appropriately managed by your security team. This framework may be used to:

  • Defining critical procedures and activities for risk assessment and management
  • Structure your risk management programme properly.
  • Identify, quantify, and evaluate potential hazards.

ISO 27005 and FAIR are two examples of risk frameworks.

This article contains a comprehensive collection of examples of the many sorts of cybersecurity frameworks that you may use in your organisation.

It’s Time to Take Internet of Things Cybersecurity Seriously.

Rapid digital transformation and the rising growth of remote work have pushed many businesses’ cybersecurity to its limits. When IoT is added to the equation, cybersecurity has become a nightmare for the majority of enterprises.

This, however, should not be the case with your company.

To win cyber battles, it is necessary to be proactive and predict cyberattacks before they occur. And it is at this point that a cybersecurity plan becomes necessary.

When integrating IoT into your business’s infrastructure and operations, it’s critical to develop and execute a solid security policy. This helps decrease the danger of falling victim to hostile agents that thrive on exploiting weaknesses in an enterprise’s information technology architecture.

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