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5 IoT Challenges That Keep CISOs up at Night

New IoT technology empowers businesses to innovate, scale, and become more efficient in their daily operations. As cellular IoT expands to reinvent every corner of the corporate world, hackers are also innovating, experimenting with new methods to exploit overlooked security gaps.

CISOs are always one vulnerability away from chaos. They face constant looming threats that are always evolving. In Q3 of 2020, Check Point Research saw a 50% increase in the daily average of ransomware attacks, compared to the first half of the year. CISOs must think ahead and plan holistically for any vulnerabilities that arise as their IoT deployments grow in complexity.

Organizations should ensure that when it comes to protecting devices and data, they can rely on a connectivity partner with the tools and knowledge to help prevent security incidents.

– Aeris CTO & Founder Syed Zaeem Hosain

Here are five challenges that CISOs face and what can be done to mitigate risk in the ever-evolving landscape of cellular IoT.

Detecting & Responding to Incidents

Within any major deployment, there are millions of vulnerabilities across people, processes, and systems. According to Tessian’s Must-Know Phishing Statistics for 2021, 75% of organizations around the world experienced some kind of phishing attack in 2020. 96% of these phishing attacks arrived by email.

While CISOs are ultimately accountable for the security of their companies’ networks and deployments, detecting vulnerabilities and responding to incidents is a collective responsibility.

CISOs cannot physically monitor everyone’s email for every possible phishing attack. Instead, they must educate people at every level of the organization to detect and report phishing scams, and implement processes and systems to respond to attacks before chaos ensues.

Hunting Shadow IoT

Some of the most prevalent unknown threats in any large deployment are shadow IoT devices. Shadow IoT are active devices hidden away from security and IT departments. They can be employee smartphones, IoT light bulbs, a smart coffee machine, or unmanaged devices that are part of a company’s IoT solution—but to hackers, they are a backdoor into your company’s data and devices.

CISOs must implement easy-to-track protocols in place for onboarding new devices onto their companies’ networks so their security and IT teams can discover, isolate, and terminate shadow IoT before these devices are discovered by the wrong people.

Eliminating Data Leaks

In a data-driven world, employees and customers must be able to trust that companies are keeping their data safe at all times. Nothing tarnishes a company’s reputation like a data leak. When data is compromised, held hostage, or leaked to the public, it can cause a ripple effect that proliferates beyond the CISO and puts the entire company in the hot seat. It’s easier to eliminate the threat of a data leak than it is to gain back trust.

In addition to the reputational harms data breaches can cause, companies can also take a huge financial hit. According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach during the COVID-19 pandemic exceeds $4.2 million.

CISOs must educate customers on safety practices and ask themselves: does our network allow us to control who has access to sensitive data?

Preventing Network Attacks

Network takeovers and ransomware attacks are devastating. The fallout from networks and devices being held hostage can cause massive amounts of financial and psychological stress to an entire organization. In some industries, such as construction and healthcare, network attacks can not only undermine privacy but also risk the physical wellbeing of workers and patients.

CISOs and IT departments should conduct regular risk assessments across their IoT deployments. There’s no such thing as absolute security; companies should also have emergency rapid response and contingency plans in case of a worst case scenario.

Securing Cellular IoT at Scale

As cellular IoT deployments connect across varying enterprises, regulatory jurisdictions, and borders, securing networks and devices at scale becomes increasingly complex. Whether it’s a connected IoT healthcare system, a supply chain, or a fleet, vulnerabilities can put any major IoT operation at risk.

CISOs should plan ahead with their cellular connectivity providers and consider the longevity of their devices. Can their network simultaneously monitor thousands—if not millions—of IoT devices in real time? Is their network intelligent enough to highlight vulnerabilities in advance?

Spot Vulnerabilities & Stay Ahead of Threats with Aeris

The job of a CISO is never complete. Stay vigilant. Watch our Webinar: Top 5 Security Challenges Organizations Need to Overcome to Build and Scale a Secured Connected Solution.


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