IoT’s a security risk, but it doesn’t have to be (find out how from Red Hat’s Russell Doty).

The Internet of Things (IoT) market is hot. Today, there are about 13.5 billion IoT-connected devices, and in five years, it’s estimated that there could be as many 38.5 billion devices. Trouble is, IoT devices can be risky when it comes to cybersecurity. But here’s the good news: IoT devices can be secured and Red Hat’s Russel Doty gives the lowdown in this recently published article. It’s a must read!

As Doty, a technology product manager at Red Hat, points out in the article, IoT devices use a network interface instead of direct hardwired connections for connecting the devices—a feature that greatly simplifies installation and expansion of systems but also introduces new security concerns. The article was published in early September on Telecomdrive.com, an online publication.

“Anything that can connect to a network is a computer. Computers are flexible, general purpose devices that can be modified – for good or for evil,” Doty writes. “And any connection to the network is an entry point into the network. If your network strategy is built around perimeter security, each IoT device is effectively punching a hole in your security.”

In the article, Doty outlines specific measures to take in order to build a secure IoT. Security has to be a key requirement at the time of purchase. Also, software updates must occur securely over the network, and scale to cover the devices that are important to you, which can be in the hundreds or even thousands. Vendors must commit to deliver updates, especially since industrial IoT devices can operate for 10, 20 or even 30 years.

Doty also recommends vendors support industry standards. “This is especially critical for network interfaces – the IoT devices should support standard network interfaces and network protocols. This is challenging today because the technologies are quickly evolving. Wherever possible use open industry standards like Ethernet, WiFi, or Bluetooth,” he writes.

Other vital security tips from Doty: carefully consider device identification, registration, and configuration; regularly monitor IoT for performance, for correct results, for system and network integrity, and for security; and actively manage the IoT.

Doty expands on these points in the article, so do check it out. And share your security tips and best practices for IoT in our comments section below.

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