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The Internet of Things: A Force Multiplier for Cyber-Risk

Unprotected IoT devices represent a grave threat. Here's how you can make sure your company is not at risk.
By Tom Maher

How can you trust the vendor's device security? For a start, the company should make it easy for you to find out network security requirements, if your device is up to date and how to upgrade it securely. If you have insecure devices that you can't replace or decommission, you will need to manage the risk.

Establish a policy for decommissioning IoT devices and set explicit decommission dates to your inventory. Add network-based security solutions to manage the inherent risk that the devices represent as part of an overall defense-in-depth approach to IoT security.

Another practical consideration for businesses is to recognize that there is a cost to building and running secure systems. Demand security from your IoT suppliers, but be willing to pay for it, too, keeping firmly in mind the underlying business drivers for investing in IoT security: reduce your potential for loss, decrease your people costs and keep your business running.

As I was finalizing this article, James Mickens was delivering his entertaining keynote at the 27th Usenix Security Symposium. Mickens suggests a healthy degree for skepticism—which, applied to connecting stuff to the Internet, he summarizes entertainingly as:

In three words: think before you deploy. In two words: think first. In one word: don't.

Tom Maher, the CTO and co-founder of Asavie, is the technical visionary behind Asavie and oversees the development team responsible for delivering the Asavie PassBridge platform. Tom has a long engineering career, delivering data/telecommunication and security products on time and in-budget for industry leaders such as Baltimore Technologies, AT&T Network Systems/Lucent, Eicon Technology and AEP Systems. Tom has computer science qualifications from Trinity College and Dublin City University, and an MBA from the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD, in 2000. When not sitting in front of his screen, Tom can be found spinning on his specialized road bike around the hills of Dublin and Wicklow.

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