The Internet of Things (IoT) and connected cloud services have revolutionized daily life and business operations in several ways. However, despite the performance and value of IoT systems, there are still questions surrounding IoT security.
Since IoT devices are often small, the information security measures that protect them are often overlooked or lacking altogether. However, as IoT devices and systems become more critical and abundant, security standards must be adopted to address vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.
This post will explore IoT security standards and the security requirements organizations should utilize to secure IoT devices and data.
What IoT Security Standards are There Currently?
You might be surprised to learn that until recently, there were little to no IoT security standards. The government group National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently selected Ascon as the encryption standard for lightweight IoT devices.
Ascon is a group of cryptographic algorithms offering encryption protections to even the smallest IoT devices, such as medical devices, road stress detectors, keyless entry FOBs used in automobiles, and more.
Societally, we use many IoT devices for vital tasks such as identification, sensing, and machine control. Yet, an IoT device has limited computing resources. Therefore, IoT security must be compact.
Ascon will cover IoT devices with tight resource constraints and allow organizations to improve IoT device security without limiting the performance of IoT services.
NIST Security Recommendations for IoT Products
In addition to Ascon, NIST has other recommendations and guidelines your organization can follow to improve IoT security and reduce vulnerabilities.
NIST’s top IoT security guidelines include the following points:
- Identify customers and define use cases
- Research user cybersecurity needs
- Plan for support
- Create a communication plan
Identify Customers and Define Use Cases
In the earliest stages of developing IoT devices, you should be able to identify potential customers and define the use cases for your IoT program.
Identifying the target customer and use case is valuable beyond a marketing and business plan perspective. This information will guide your organization through the process of deciding what security systems and measures it will put in place.
For example, if users monitor connected devices with their mobile phone, security integrations should protect data transfer and communications between the IoT devices and the phone.
Research User Cybersecurity Needs
Organizations can utilize the information gathered during customer research to hone in on security risks relevant to their user base.
The risk assessment will vary by IoT product. It is essential to understand the risks most likely to face the product’s target audience. It is impossible to know every customer’s risks.
However, every customer should be able to secure their device and data, whether they are a significant corporation implementing sensors in their manufacturing equipment or an individual placing a sensor on their keychain.
Plan for Support
IoT devices have been used for a while. As a result, organizations must plan for ongoing software and hardware support for the IoT devices they manufacture.
Your organization should develop security updates and patches to address vulnerabilities as they pop up. No system is perfect. The best way to combat security threats is to actively update security measures to address emerging threats.
In support of your organization’s IoT device, you should prepare secure coding practices, flaw remediation plans, and responses to vulnerabilities. In addition, IoT products need to be updated like any other device to keep them secure.
Create a Communication Plan
Once an IoT device hits the market, your organization is responsible for clearly communicating the security risks. As a result, your organization should craft a communication plan to maximize the effectiveness of communication releases.
Communications don’t necessarily have to be released directly to consumers if an organization acts on the consumer’s behalf. In such an instance, communications can be sent directly to service providers.
It is then the responsibility of the service provider to determine how and when to communicate this security information to consumers.
Regardless, your organization should never be caught flat-footed with communications. Instead, always have a plan in place to address vulnerabilities.
Final Thoughts on IoT Cybersecurity
The IoT industry has fewer security standards than most digital industries. For example, the financial and medical industries are heavily regulated, and several standards are used specifically in each industry.
IoT devices are used regularly in both of these industries. In those situations, the applicable regulations and security requirements apply to IoT devices even if broader IoT device standards are not implemented across the board.
If your business is interested in developing an IoT device, it should carefully review the information and resources available from the NIST. Cybersecurity is constantly in flux as new threats emerge and new procedures are developed to combat them.
It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all of this information. However, if you need assistance, help is never far away. To learn more about IoT standards and security protocols, contact an experienced team of security experts like Koombea.