When it comes to running your business, you’re pretty sure you’re on a good trajectory. Your revenue is coming in, your staff are motivated and happy and your technology is working as it should. You’ve no reason to worry. But with a company that’s as reliant on tech as yours, are you doing everything you can to protect it?
If you’re a care provider for a series of nursing homes, run a logistics company such as CTI Logistics Interstate or just rely heavily on your integrated technology you need to know how best to keep your Internet of Things (IoT) safe. All your tech, running through an IoT set-up runs great, until it doesn’t and when it doesn’t the consequences can be severe.
In this blog we take a look at the IoT, what it is and some of the issues you might face. We also take a look at how you might tackle problems as and when they arise.
Just What is the IoT?
Whether you’re a tech head or not, chances are the IoT is part of your household, if not your work. If you have a smartphone that allows you to manage your home heating, record your favorite TV shows or locate your car, then you’re a part of the IoT. Perhaps you have a smart speaker that can dim the lights on command or reminds you when your dental appointment is, after scouring your electronic diary.
Quite simply the IoT is your technology sending and receiving data between devices. At home and in business, this is how it works.
What Are the Advantages of the IoT?
It just makes life easier. From pre-programmed actions that allow your business to send out invoices, marketing messages and gather data, to answering your smart doorbell from your phone while out shopping, the IoT makes life work seamlessly.
It cuts down on wasted time, it runs businesses and homes more efficiently, saving time and money and it pushes business to work smarter and become more attractive to their customers.
And the disadvantages?
The greatest fear for your IoT dependent business is that of security. The sheer volume of data that gets pushed around between devices can leave you exposed. Take an HR department that relies on the IoT to gather data on staff and send out reminders to book annual leave, prompts pay rises and so forth. Should that sensitive data become breached somehow, your business is going to find itself in hot water.
The same might be true for a care provider that helps older and vulnerable people stay in their own homes. As smart as the tech is that helps make that happen, should it go wrong or be hacked it may even put lives in danger.
There are two main points of concern. One is that the technology itself goes wrong. While your iOS or Android device might be backed up with regular updates to fix holes and glitches, not all your hardware is that smart and is able to be fixed so easily. Take a smart light bulb for example. Your phone may be able to send data for it to switch on at a certain time but if it cannot receive that data, it simply won’t work and there’s no tech patch to fix it.
The other concern of course, is hacking and in a similar fashion, not all your smart tech has the benefit of arriving with an anti-virus software, leaving it exposed to hackers bent on trying to steal your company or your customer’s data.
How to Protect Your IoT Set-Up
As technology grows and ever smarter solutions emerge your business and its integrated technology will find stronger and more resilient ways to fight off both these threats.
There are several things you can do yourself to make sure that your IoT devices are as safe as possible. First you’ll want to create strong passwords for any hardware that makes use of your network, use a password manager to keep track of these.
Second, you’ll want to stop any universal plug and play (UpnP) possibilities. While this makes it easy for your device to pick up your IoT network, instead you’ll want to have full control over what’s being connected and make any new connections a manual process so you can check over their credentials.
Those devices that do have software updates available to them should be updated regularly to make sure the latest patches are installed and the latest security assets are assigned to them.
Business that operate out of one centralized office might also consider creating a separate network for their IoT devices, different from the main one that connects your files and emails.
This will give a little distance between your IoT network and the main body of your work.
Finally, at the end of the day, unplug everything. It seems like such a sensible thing to do but it can make a big difference and will go a long way in preventing hackers gaining access to your IoT network.
When your business relies heavily on technology and especially the integrated kind that connects so many of your devices, then keeping that network safe is paramount to the overall cyber security of your whole business.
Stay vigilant and shut down your devices and your network at the first sign of a cyber attack, should the worst happen. In any case, keep your software up to date with the latest upgrades.
The IoT should make your business and your home run smoothly, it should allow you to interact with customers, receive and send data seamlessly making your operation an efficient one. When it works, it works to better your business. When it goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating. Stay on top of the tech with our safety tips and protect your business from breakdowns and hackers to keep you at the top of your business game and everything running as it should.