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Improving IoT Security: 4 Ways to Slam the Door on Hackers

As I was reading a recent Sophos blog on improving IoT security, I had a flashback to my childhood. Growing up, my parents got after me for leaving doors open (“In or out!”, “You’re letting all the warm/cool air out!” and “You’re letting bugs in!” were popular in my house).

Your company leaders probably don’t hound you about this…but they definitely should.

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides us with wonderful conveniences at home—including programmable thermostats and refrigerators, door video surveillance and garage doors that we can open or adjust from our phones.

We love them, but many of those devices and the applications that access them are wide open and accumulating data—personal data—about you all the time. With the release of new products, connectivity is the standard, not the option.

No problem! I have a password on all my stuff. 

Yes, you most certainly do, but when everything is connected to everything, there are more ways to access your accumulated data. Everything is exactly what the bad guys (and girls) want; your phones and tablets can be a golden key for hackers, and when you bring them into the work environment, you carry a Trojan horse that now jeopardizes your business environment as well as your own information. Once the bad guys have connected to your device, they can connect to other devices within the office.

Okay, you have my attention…what can I do?

I’m glad you asked. Improving IoT security can start with four things you should do NOW to better secure your devices to protect not only your information, but also your company’s.

  1. Install reputable security software on your computers, tablets, and phones.  Sophos and Symantec are great providers of such software.
  2. Use unique passwords for each device account, Wi-Fi network, and connected device. The days of “skeleton” passwords (the same password is used for every account) are over.
  3. Be aware and selective when it comes to apps. Apps love to collect your info and share it among other apps/sites. You may be surprised to see how far six degrees of Kevin Bacon goes.
  4. Use a virtual private network (VPN); again, Symantec and Sophos are superb options.

These steps will go a long way in closing the door to the bad guys and keeping everyone’s data safer. Stay tuned for more from me on IoT in the enterprise, and comment to let me know what measures you and your company take to safeguard your information.

In the meantime, contact me if your company has any questions about improving IoT security, telecom solutions or unified communications.

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