Bridging the Gap between Physical Security and IoT

March 1, 2016

According to research conducted by Gartner, by 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) will consist of approximately 21 billion devices. Gartner also reports that, “IT leaders will have to accommodate the differences in technologies across those areas and develop a multifaceted technology approach to IoT risk and security.” Additionally, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (Cisco VNI) indicates that IoT devices will dominate the network by 2018, meaning that machines will communicate over the Internet more than humans. This growth also leads to vulnerabilities. The more everyday objects are connected and communicate virtually, the more we open the door to threats to security.

Part of this stems from the fact that all devices trust each other, and share data back and forth without verifying source credibility. Should sensitive data get breached and fall into the wrong hands, public safety – and in essence security – could be compromised. Some IT and security experts and thought leaders propose that professional and ethical standards be established and followed so that everyone shares the responsibility of security as it relates to IoT.

Are protocols needed beyond typical cyber safety protections? Is more collaboration needed between enterprise security teams? Here are three ways to further bridge the gap:

  1. Make security a priority by building it directly into the network in the first place, instead of waiting until afterwards, and then adding it as an afterthought. Include multi-layer IT and security protocols for all sensors, devices, applications, data and firmware to create multiple layers of defense.
  2. Use analytics to determine network operation trends. This data provides detailed insight that enables users to quickly see suspicious trends emerging, providing the ability to alert network administrators when risks are identified.
  3. Be proactive by building a comprehensive security strategy that is customized to fit specific an enterprise's specific needs. With the push for connectivity and mobility, security can be overlooked; therefore, it is critical that organizations empower employees to identify potential vulnerabilities — this will go a long way to managing risks.

It is impossible to size, much less identify, all of the vulnerabilities associated with the IoT because it is still unfolding before our eyes and to date, there are no easy, one-size-fits-all solutions. As organizations across the globe learn to reap the benefits of the connected world, there will be new ways to enhance the security of IoT devices from both a cyber and physical security perspective.

As physical and IT security continue to intertwine in today’s enterprise organizations, CISOs, CIOs and security directors must converge to offer solutions to the problems that connectivity cause. At this year's Connected Security Expo @ ISC West, thought leaders will offer up valuable discussions and insights, as well as provide solutions to the problem we face about how to properly bring the physical and IT security sides together into a cohesive solution.

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