Planning a secure future for the IoT

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Planning a secure future for the IoT

It goes without saying that the Internet of Things has very quickly made itself an integral, mission-critical element of the business world. Year-over-year, we’re seeing IoT adoption rates skyrocket, as businesses add these devices to their corporate networks in droves. In fact, in one recent study, 84 percent of IT decision makers surveyed said they had been steadily increasing the rate at which they implement and utilize IoT devices over the past year. Of those, 12 percent said their company had deployed at least 10,000 IoT devices to date and 6 percent noted that their company had deployed over 50,000 such connected devices.

Here's the problem: in that same survey, just 7 percent of those whose companies have implemented at least 10,000 IoT devices named the security of those devices as their top concern. As Network World notes, that’s a sharp drop from the 29 percent cited in earlier studies. More than that, the fact that 93 percent of companies that have deployed tens of thousands of IoT devices on their network do not think security is their #1 issue is very troubling – particularly when so many of those same companies, in the same study no less, acknowledge that data breaches occurring via IoT deployments would be catastrophic to their business.

IoT devices that are deployed today can expect a long shelf life. Whether they’re being implemented at home or in the office, in cars, roads, buildings or entire cities, many of today’s IoT devices will enjoy a years-long, if not decades-long, longevity. And, as ZDNet points out, if these devices are being rushed out during the development phase in order to meet consumer demand, they may be deployed without having sufficient cybersecurity protections in place. Or, on the other hand, they may be adequately protected now, but hackers will inevitably find new vulnerabilities in these devices to exploit – vulnerabilities that weren’t thought of during the device’s initial engineering – that will be impossible to defend against if these devices aren’t easily patchable (assuming they can be patched at all).

Now, suddenly, all of these businesses that have moved to adopt IoT solutions at a rapid clip are potentially compromised from top to bottom, without ever knowing so until it’s too late. This isn’t meant to scare companies out of deploying IoT devices. Businesses should be embracing IoT. But, they should also be embracing stringent security standards for their IoT devices at the same time. They shouldn’t be slacking off in this area just because they’re getting more comfortable with the IoT – beyond implementing their own IoT security processes, they should demand more built-in protections from device manufacturers.

At the same time, manufacturers need to be embracing a fundamentally secure architecture that lives in these devices, by sourcing components that feature robust built-in security and allowing IoT apps and processes to transmit data as intended without users having to worry about whether they’re protected or not. Reliable IoT security starts with reliable hardware, and it falls on the engineers and manufacturers to implement an integrated approach to secure IoT device hardware right out of the gate.

That’s a mission statement we’ve taken to heart with the Dialog SmartBond™ line of SoCs, which are not only fueling many of the world’s most popular and cutting-edge IoT devices, but also boast a dedicated hardware crypto engine that utilizes banking-level security and end-to-end encryption to protect personal data in transit over IoT connections. With support for hardware based secure key handling, hashing functions (SHA-512), symmetric and asymmetric cryptography algorithms (AES-256 and ECC, respectively) and a true random number generator, SmartBond SoCs can provide the cybersecurity shield – and the peace of mind – that is necessary to safeguard IoT device connectivity, now and in the future. Not only that, SmartBond SoCs accomplish all of this while still managing to cut down on each device’s power consumption, allowing IoT deployments to be more secure and energy-efficient.