Beefing up Network Security When You’re Using IoT Devices


Network security has always been important. So has being able to keep up with change.

As new technologies populate the infrastructures we rely on to do business, network administrators and stakeholders have to be ready to adjust their thinking. IoT devices drive this point home the way few other things can.

The more devices you connect to your essential networks, the more potential vulnerabilities you’ll face. Keeping these concepts in mind might just give you a more tangible security advantage.

Reassess Your Router Management Practices

Sure, your router isn’t an IoT device, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay safe as your network’s topography and traffic patterns evolve. The policies and rules that once served you well might not cut it in a brave new world of complicated infrastructures.

As security experts have pointed out, features like cloud-based management are already a bad idea for many enterprises. With IoT devices on your network acting as convenient entry points for any hacker with basic knowledge, these elements could become even more hazardous.

Think Before You Connect

New forms of exploits immediately followed the advent of mesh networking devices. Some hacks, like

In short, you need to do more than just plug new IoT hardware into your network and call it a day. From changing default device passwords to going into settings and disabling commonly used ports.

Update Your Vulnerability Assessment Practices

One of the most important aspects of an effective cybersecurity stance lies in vulnerability assessment and evaluation. If you don’t know what you’re up against, then you’re dooming your threat response strategies to failure, so why wouldn’t you want to educate yourself?

As noted by Cisco, IoT systems face many unique challenges. For instance, most consumer-grade IoT devices lack physical protections. Furthermore, effective security management algorithms may be too complex for the limited resources available to many computing platforms.

IoT networks also implement a range of different protocols, such as the Routing Protocol for Low-power and Lossy Networks, or RPL, and IPv6 over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks, or 6LoWPAN. Although these standards often include secure options, they operate in unique ways that you may not be familiar with, so it’s critical to rethink your whole game plan. Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing could prove more vital than ever as you try to understand what connecting a new mobile point-of-sale terminal, surveillance system, power meter or other IoT device means for your security stance.

Mastering cybersecurity in mesh and IoT networks isn’t some impossible challenge. The key lies in applying the tools in your arsenal in new ways.

Authentication, authorization, secure analytics, centralized management and enforced network policies are just as essential as they were with non-IoT infrastructures. It’s up to you, however, to understand how to implement them effectively in devices that might run autonomously for years without once receiving security updates. Are you confident that you can put your knowledge to good use, or will you need to seek outside help?

Originally Published on Dzone