Nearly half of U.S. companies experienced a ransomware attack last year.  The Internet of Things (IoT) appears to be making it easier for hackers to target networks due to the complexity of securing IoT devices.  Businesses are adopting IoT gadgets by the billions and it is often difficult to know if they’re opening a back door to your network security.

I think the first thing that businesses need to ask themselves is, “Do I really need an Internet-connected espresso maker, thermostat, smart plug, smart speaker, smart doormat, etc.?”  By the way, I thought I had made that last one up as a joke, but it turns out that the SmartMat is a thing.  These devices are usually cheap and very easy to setup on your company WiFi, but are they safe?  Without a doubt, some of them are not.

The problem is that most were not designed with network security in mind.  Even fewer receive regular firmware updates to keep them secure as hackers get more sophisticated, etc.  The “right” WiFi access Point (AP) can go a long way toward protecting your internal network from the security risk these devices create, but many companies don’t have the “right” APs for today’s threats.

There are also ways to avoid the potential threats IoT devices open networks up to through cloud computing.  Essentially, putting your desktop and server environments in the cloud will minimize the risks associated with threats to your on-premises network.  All the security holes combined that a cheap IP camera can create are no threat to a properly configured cloud desktop or cloud server.

In summary, I believe that the convenience of IoT might very well be worth the investment in your network security, but you can’t have it both ways.  You can’t introduce IoT without the investment and expect to maintain a secure computing environment.  Either make the up-front investment in your infrastructure or keep IoT out of your business network (if you figure out how to do this, please let me know).

If you have any questions or concerns about IoT in your office, please give Promethius a call at 317-733-2388.