You buy a smartphone that collects thousands of intimate data points about you and the way you live your life. The last thing you want to worry about is if your information is secure. The expectation is that your devices will work as advertised, and the security of your personal information is just there.

Consumers have been coached and encouraged over the years to be active participants in the security of their information. However, in many cases, the association between consumers and cybersecurity almost exclusively relates to computers. The world has changed, and personal data is collected across dozens of new devices and types of hardware. For example, a home sprinkler system is part of the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing you to program and change its schedule from a mobile device. If compromised, it could signal to would-be burglars when you intend to go out of town.

Unlike traditional cyber technology with which issues revolve around software, IoT security concerns happen when the cyber and physical worlds converge. Protecting these solutions requires protecting the devices themselves. There should be secure connectivity between the devices, the cloud and the secure data storage.

Why Is IoT Security Important?

The IoT is a connected network of devices, appliances and other items that contain software that enables them to connect to the Internet. This means it isn't just computers and smartphones that can expose your personal data to hackers. Any device, vehicle, fixture or system that interacts online has the potential to reveal personal information to cybercriminals. It isn't only financial information; for example, hackers can access connected vehicles to disable safety features. Because so many more things are connected, there are so many more opportunities for hackers to compromise your security. Read more about "What is IoT" here.

Developing Secure Devices

One core way to build secure devices is to consider security in everything you do. The Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) is a software development process that helps do this. It consists of seven phases, including:

  • Training Phase: Foundational concepts for building secure software, including secure design, threat modeling, secure coding, security testing and best practices related to privacy.
  • Requirements Phase: Holding project inceptions is an opportune time to consider and chart out the foundational security and privacy issues of your project, including regulatory requirements.
  • Design Phase: Not all software features are safe, so design around strengths and add additional security layers where it makes the most sense.
  • Implementation Phase: Use approved tools, remove any unsafe functions and perform the proper analyses during these phases.
  • Verification Phase: Use this phase to ensure your code meets the security and privacy tenets established in the requirements and design phases.
  • Release Phase: Create a plan to monitor for security incidents and to respond to them quickly.
  • Response Phase: Execute your incident-response plan.

Secure Connection

From encryption to other solutions, people benefit from the advantages of secure cloud technologies. Other solutions include:

  • Securing your Internet Gateway
  • Performing a secure boot, which is a system check of firmware before a system boots up
  • Securing regularly occurring updates of your cloud-based provider solutions.
  • Implementing threat monitoring solutions like Kaspersky Security Cloud, which helps detect data leaks from your cloud-based accounts
  • Using a secure VPN connection to encrypt your private browsing data from potential threats

Building a Secure Network

It's important to have Access Control on your network so only allowed devices can connect. There are several things you can do:

  • Set up a firewall.
  • Keep authentication keys safe.
  • Install the latest antivirus software to help keep your network monitored and safe.

Secure Data Storage

From "always-on" storage antivirus protection to on-demand scanning and cloud-assisted security, there are many features available to ensure secure data storage. Make sure you have these features deployed and working for you:

  • Flexible scanning
  • Flexible reporting
  • Notification systems
  • Proactive anti-malware technologies
  • An easy-to-use, centralized management console

If you can build a solid foundation around these practices, you strengthen your IoT security. The world is changing, and the stakes are higher. Hardware and cloud-based storage facilities have your fingerprints, credit card information and other sensitive data. Make the effort to associate cybersecurity with anything that connects to the Internet.