Keeping Your Business Safe in the IoT Age
Every year, manufacturers release a multitude of innovative smart technology, moving homes, businesses and cities into the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, the market is valued at US$82.4 trillion, and set to grow by an astounding 21.3% from 2020-2028. While this has created exciting opportunities for industries to advance into the next generation, the IoT is not without its risks. Here are some insights from our team of managed IT services specialists.
What is the IoT?
Despite being around for some time now, there is still some confusion over what the IoT is. Essentially, it’s the ability to use smart technology in creating millions of different devices that are connected to one another and larger systems through the internet. These devices are controllable through the internet and they gather and share data in order to enhance their function. The IoT is behind the evolution of the smart home and office, where leisure and work is essentially enhanced through devices that are able to customise their function to suit your needs.
The Benefits of an IoT Workplace
First, let’s take a look at the opportunities that this technology is opening for the business world.
- Improved security – IoT systems have great potential in the physical security sector, enhancing security and access control systems with real-time alerts and monitoring, geo-location tracking, voice printing and biometric measures.
- Improved inventory control – Again, the benefits here are that IoT systems monitor and react in real time, allowing for exceptionally accurate, reliable and accessible inventory control and monitoring. Using sensors and smart tags, inventory can be tracked and controlled wherever it is in the supply chain.
- Enhanced efficiency – Through data gathering and machine learning, the devices we use in the workplace, whether in an office, school or factory, are able to eliminate inefficiencies and save you time as you work. This includes devices like voice assistants and their connection with other internet-enabled devices.
- Boost productivity – With the right IoT technology devices to cloud applications and networks, it is easier than ever for teams to collaborate and communicate even if they are working remotely.
- Improved predictive maintenance – Using IoT sensors on manufacturing machinery or any physical system (HVAC, plumbing and water heating, electronic systems, etc), facilities managers can be notified as soon as an element of the system is not performing as it should, allowing for the issue to be addressed quickly and accurately before a costly breakdown occurs.
Addressing the Risks in the IoT Workplace
Of course, every opportunity comes with a certain level of risk, and it is essential that businesses implementing IoT technology understand and address these risks in order to manage them effectively.
- Improved authentication – One of the biggest data security weaknesses in any workplace are our passwords, which are often weak or used on multiple accounts, and are at risk of being stolen in phishing attacks. Because of the increased size of your network in an IoT environment and the sensitivity of the data on that network, multi-factor authentication is critical, as is an enforced and robust password policy.
- Data encryption – Similarly, all data that moves through your network must be encrypted to prevent hackers from being able to read it should a breach occur. This is critical in the financial industry, but should be applied in all workplaces. After all, your network holds sensitive financial client and personal information that can put your business at risk if it falls into the wrong hands.
- IoT device isolation – This means that if a hacker manages to access an IoT device on your network, they cannot use that device to then access all other devices it is connected to.
- Active tech management – Your network, devices and software should be actively monitored and managed at all times in order to keep it secure and manage any possible breaches rapidly. This means regularly software with the latest security patches, implementing network architecture that delivers best practice data security, upgrading hardware and IoT devices as needed, developing strong IT policies, and training staff to recognise and avoid risky situations.
Move Your Business Forward into the IoT – Without Sacrificing Security
At Otto IT, our focus is on providing cost-effective, state-of-the-art IT services and solutions specifically for small businesses, from IT support and cloud solutions to network security and disaster recovery. Contact us and find out how we can help your business embrace the latest in effective technology while keeping your data safe and secure.