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As enterprises implement and manage cellular IoT programs, the security of IoT systems and connected devices is a major concern. Research conducted by Kaleido Intelligence found that 85% of surveyed organizations see cybersecurity breaches as a pain point. One of the most difficult aspects of managing a successful IoT program is ensuring the security of hundreds – if not hundreds of thousands – of connected devices. Threat actors often target this equipment because they are notoriously difficult to secure.
One of the main reasons for these security complications is the fact that these devices are often inaccessible. Organizations leverage connected devices to manage and track mobile assets, such as connected vehicles. These tools are obviously more difficult to consistently secure as opposed to stationary assets. But, some stationary devices – such as wind turbines and solar panels – are also difficult to reach, as they are in remote or rural areas. Finally, some connected assets are simply unreachable. For example, smart pacemakers cannot be accessed once installed, as they are permanently inside a patient.
Inaccessibility isn’t the only hurdle organizations must overcome when securing connected assets. IoT devices often have extreme technical limitations – such as reliance on batteries or low computing power and storage capabilities. Given the mobile nature of many connected assets, hardware resources are often constrained since computing power is limited. That results in a heavy burden placed on device hardware, as it must allocate resources effectively to keep tools operating as designed. Yet, connected devices evolve over time. It is hard to manage the updates and integrations (such as a new operating system) as organizations transition to new technology.
Enterprises must keep these security concerns in mind, especially given the lifecycle requirements placed on connected devices. According to the research conducted by Kaleido Intelligence, 57% of enterprises expect their IoT devices’ lifetime in the field to be between five and 10 years, while 35% of respondents expect deployments to last more than10 years.
Given these lifetime expectations and security challenges, organizations must find ways to protect their IoT investments besides device hardware and software security upgrades. By far, the best method is understanding the traffic flowing into and out of connected devices. Visibility into network traffic enables enterprises to understand which traffic is normal, and which is nefarious.