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Adopting the IoT? Adopt the Cloud First

It's vital to make sure new devices added to your network do not work against you.
By Sean Ventura

Instead, they are moving to quieter, more lucrative businesses, such as cryptocurrency (for example, Bitcoin mining). Once they gain access to your systems, they can siphon a small amount of CPU power away and reorient it toward completing equations that unlock cryptocurrency. You'll notice a slowdown in operations, and you might miss important manufacturing process data, which will affect production schedules or quality controls and, ultimately, the customer experience. Symantec found that this style of attack is increasingly attractive, citing in its security threat report that detections of coin miners on endpoint computers increased by 8,500 percent in 2017.

Cloud Security for the IoT
Although a hacker using your system for cryptocurrency mining will adversely affect your operations, the greater concern is the data the hacker has access to inside your network, which endangers both you and your customer. Fortunately, the cloud can help you mitigate both of these risks.

Rather than allowing your IoT sensors to feed data into an on-premise system—or, even more burdensome, disparate systems—adopting a cloud strategy allows you to store data off-site and on systems protected by providers dedicated to securing your operations. By migrating to the cloud before you install sensors, you'll create a single point of control, with greater accessibility from day one, and all data—IoT-collected or not—is locked down immediately.

For many companies, this level of security is no longer a luxury. Manufacturers that hold any data from European customers are already responsible for greater data security and accessibility under GDPR. But even U.S. companies that do not operate overseas will need to address their data-storage policies quickly, because California will soon implement its own regulations. By connecting your IoT-enabled devices, as well as solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and point-of-sale (POS) systems, to a single cloud, you will be one step closer to achieving compliance.

Be Innovative, But Be Vigilant
The Internet of Things will soon touch every facet of the supply chain, and we will be better for it: we are entering an era of unprecedented productivity and data accessibility. However, it's important to ensure that any new devices you bring on to your network are not working against you. By adopting the cloud as a safety net to cushion your IoT devices, you will share in the benefits of the IoT, while reducing risk.

Sean Ventura is the chief information security officer at Atmosera.

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