Can the Internet of Things (IoT) get any hotter? By now, we’ve all read the various IoT studies and analyst projections that there will be between 20 and 30 billion connected devices—in other words, “things”—by 2021. Projected growth rates are very bullish and ROI seems to be very real according to organizations that have undertaken IoT initiatives.
IoT is all it's cracked up to be
In fact, a Forbes article states that “global enterprises expect to increase revenues 16.3% between 2015 and 2018 using IoT initiatives, with North American companies projecting an average 18.1% revenue gain.” That same article states that “industrial manufacturers predict IoT initiatives will increase revenue 27.1% from 2015 to 2018.” All signs point to IoT truly being the game-changer it was hyped to be.
It’s no wonder then, that software and hardware manufacturers are rushing to capitalize by bringing exciting new IoT-related products to market. Unfortunately, in the mad rush, there’s been some oversight. One key area of IoT deployment that’s been historically overlooked is security.
In some cases, these internet-enabled things aren’t properly secured—either at the device itself or on the networks in which they live—leading to security holes. Without sounding like an alarmist, we’re all at risk—including your customers.
Keep an eye open for weak IoT security
As a solution provider who might be looking to capitalize on the IoT trend yourself, make sure you’re asking IoT vendors about the security of the solutions they’re asking you to sell and install. Good security hygiene won’t just protect you and your customers, it will protect the manufacturers as well.
As the trusted IT advisor to your customers, it’s up to you to help protect your customers from the things on their network. This doesn’t just include devices you’ve installed, but other technology brought in by end users or other IT firms. For instance, that smart TV purchased at Best Buy for the conference room could be a vulnerability. Those IP-based security cameras installed by another integrator could be used for nefarious means. In fact, Mirai malware was used late last year to sniff out IoT devices such as IP cameras and DVRs with default security settings and then use the devices to carry out a large-scale DDOS (dedicated denial of service) attack.
In any case, until IoT security standards are in place and manufacturers are abiding by them, you should be paying close attention to the traffic going in and out of your customers’ networks. Make sure firewalls are in place and only necessary ports are open. Ensure default passwords are changed and that encryption is turned on for any devices that can use it. Finally, if network security isn’t something you feel comfortable with, contact your Ingram Micro representative. We have education and solutions available to help you protect your customers from threats of all types.