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IoT security management for SMBs: A growing challenge with new solutions

IoT devices are an exploding security risk requiring urgent solutions. How can small and midsize businesses properly manage IoT security with limited resources?

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 The Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded as businesses and consumers rush to install connected devices. However, IoT management is also a huge challenge, as IoT devices are especially vulnerable to attack. According to a December 2017 Spiceworks survey, more than half of IT professionals view IoT devices as "extremely vulnerable" to Wi-Fi attacks.

IoT devices include seemingly harmless appliances, such as smart thermostats and lightbulbs, in addition to smart locks on homes and cars, which may represent a more lucrative opportunity for hackers.

As the complexity of IoT increases with the release of each new device, how can IT departments properly manage their IoT strategy?

The growing challenge of IoT usage

Most IT teams are already strapped for resources, and the proliferation of IoT devices could easily overwhelm them with a host of security problems. IoT devices don't tend to require complex passwords, and they typically don't include strong encryption. Their web interfaces can also offer tempting security vulnerabilities for would-be attackers.

In 2018, the FBI issued a public service announcement warning of the dangers of unprotected IoT devices, with tips for defending against cyberattacks. The Federal Trade Commission has also gone on record publicizing the risks of IoT, and calling for better security practices.

Tips for better IoT security

So, how should businesses tackle the maze of IoT management issues? It's essential to spot and address any security vulnerabilities prior to deployment, such as easily stolen user credentials or insufficient protections for personal data.

If devices are attacked, it could pose a monumental challenge to resource-strapped IT teams lacking IoT expertise. At the same time, IoT security management can't be left to the vendors of the devices, as they're often left scrambling to fix vulnerabilities after a breach has already occurred. The goal is to find a balance between the two. Look for vendors who build security into their products, but also ensure the rest of your network is as secure as possible before investing in IoT.

Team up with a partner

Fortunately, there are smart IoT security management solutions to address the growing need for properly managed connected devices. IT teams can tap the skills of a partner with deep knowledge of the security risks and overall threat environment unique to IoT devices.

Such a partner can conduct a thorough security test of your IoT solution before deployment, analyzing vulnerabilities from several angles and providing a report with an in-depth assessment and actionable follow-up steps. From there, the partner can help craft a plan for prioritizing and addressing the issues, including remediation scans to validate fixes.

IT teams can also employ managed security testing and evaluation services to assess the vulnerabilities of IoT devices being considered for deployment. Businesses can augment their IT teams' capabilities as needed in a flexible, scalable, and budget-friendly manner without hiring additional staff or investing in pricey software or hardware that may or may not deliver results.

With thoughtful attention to the security risks inherent in IoT devices, business owners can take advantage of all the benefits this new technology has to offer while still safeguarding their business and their customers.

Learn about the new era of cyber warfare aimed at exploiting hardware vulnerabilities in this free report from Frost & Sullivan: Server Security Lies Deep in Hardware

Looking for the latest information on technologies that are transforming SMBs? Look no further than these Worldwide SMB 2020 Predictions.

Ready to take the next step? Check out the SMB Hybrid IT for Dummies Guide. Because there are no "dumb" questions!

Learn more about HPE Small Business Solutions.

Or are you ready to purchase? Visit the HPE Store.

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About the Author

RobertChecketts

Robert has over 25+ years of IT Marketing and Product Management leadership experience spanning country, Regional and WW organizations. Robert is a marketing executive with extensive experience in field marketing, channel marketing and product marketing on a global basis and is driven to deliver SMB’s end-to-end affordable infrastructure that’s secure from the start, optimized for every workload, packaged for many consumption models, ready to scale, and easy to manage.