Securing the Internet of Things in an Insecure World

Care should be taken to engineer safety and trustworthiness into IoT products and services.
By Hugo Fiennes

An Ounce of Prevention...
First and foremost, start at the design phase. It's very difficult to add security after the fact.

Next, make sure you budget for security—including after the product launches. Security is an ongoing effort, and you'll need to provide updates for the lifetime of your products. Security maintenance may not be free, but it is critical. Damage to your company's reputation is even more costly.

You should be prepared to repel a range of attacks, such as an intruder gaining physical, local or direct network access; "man in the middle" (MITM) attacks between a device and network; or attacks on host servers. Attacks may first be deflected via preventative measures built into a device's design, and then with continuous vigilance enabled by software patches and remote updates.

Finally, your product must be able to be updated securely and without user intervention. Users can't be relied upon to perform this task with the required urgency; every device should be capable of being updated remotely and automatically.

It's Dangerous to Go It Alone
To implement security into your connected business, you don't have to go it alone. There are some options to consider that will help ensure the security of your products and enterprise. Whether you task an in-house team or rely on outside consultants or a platform, remember that they will have to be on board well after the launch.

Platform managers have dedicated specialists who continuously update security patches and instructions. Just as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider offers continual updates and fixes to users, a secure platform monitors and seamlessly patches your product on an ongoing basis, with minimum disruption to the end user.

As the IoT expands, you will need to quickly ensure that your business and products stay relevant. But when it comes to security, a more deliberate approach is essential. The viability and success of your products—and business—depend on it.

Hugo Fiennes is the CEO and co-founder of Electric Imp.

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