Key issues facing IoT security today

By Klaus Gheri, VP & GM Network Security at Barracuda Networks One of the main issues in today’s connected devices is that the device systems are typically ‘closed’,...

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By Klaus Gheri, VP & GM Network Security at Barracuda Networks

One of the main issues in today’s connected devices is that the device systems are typically ‘closed’, meaning that they are hard to remotely maintain and update. This is a key consideration when it comes to the IoT, because once organisations have very large numbers of IoT devices, it becomes difficult from an operational standpoint to get physical access to each device, to fix any flaws.

When the size of the IoT network goes into the hundreds or thousands, deploying both the device and a security solution for it becomes a logistical nightmare – how do you deploy the equipment? How do you manage its life cycle? How do you implement security policies? How do you fix any flaws?

The crux of the matter is that the IoT needs the sophisticated security of state of the art firewall technology, with all its advanced traffic inspection options, but the traditional firewall products were never designed with mass roll outs in mind. This has forced security vendors to rethink some of the traditional design paradigms in order to improve on scalability and ease of use from an operations standpoint, whilst not giving up on any of the required technical capabilities.

Take ransomware as an example – given that the newest variants can also spread to devices, companies are demanding more advanced technologies than the basic network-layer fire-walling to secure their IoT devices.

One of the barriers to securing the IoT is simply that there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. At one end of the spectrum, we’re talking about tiny equipment such as CCTV cameras and intelligent light bulbs, on the other we’re talking about large machine equipment. Depending on what the IoT device is, there will be a different approach to security that is economically viable.

The challenge is finding the right security solution for each use case. This has meant that today, companies either have nothing securing their IoT network, or have something that is not really fit for purpose.

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