CYBERSECURITY BLOG

Securing IoT in your Infrastructure

The fast deployment of IoT devices has had a significant and long-lasting impact on the security of today’s developing network. BYOD, the first significant infusion of IoT devices begun over a decade, was fixated mainly on user-owned devices such as mobile phones and laptops. Even then, as system administrators began to struggle with ways to integrate unsecured and unprotected devices into mostly closed networks, cybercriminals quickly began exploiting this new attack vector.

IoT is fast-tracking at an unprecedented rate

Fast forward to today, and the problem has been synthesized many times over. Users have replaced mobile phones with smartphones that run more applications than anyone ever imagined. In the meantime, other smart devices, such as wearables and tablets, continue to expand, with an estimate that there will be seven devices per person connected to networks by 2020.

End-user devices, however, are just the tip of the iceberg for system administrators. Other IoT devices are multiplying inside networks at an extraordinary rate as well, oscillating from smart appliances and inventory trackers to connected therapeutic and OT devices. This growth is a key driver behind the growing of Big Data and is responsible for a significant surge in networking traffic. Some experts propose that global mobile data traffic, generated by nearly 32 billion connected IoT devices in 2023, will grow 43%.

IT security designs and strategies are unprepared

Because most of this data is in the form of applications and transactions that need to move between a diversity of networks, including the multi-cloud infrastructure, most of it will also be encrypted. While old-style data volume alone will soon overpower most security devices currently in place, encryption adds another layer of difficulty as the performance of nearly every installed security solution on the planet is already severely crippled when SSL traffic is inspected. And yet, that will soon be the main function of most edge and internal security devices.

For organizations contending in the emerging digital marketplace, the failure of security to keep up is unacceptable. Even worse, practice shows that users will always find ways to bypass security that becomes a holdup. For security teams, slowing things down in order to sufficiently apply security inspections and protocols is not an option. And yet, given the fact that security budgets are not keeping up with demand, upgrading to the one or two security devices that can actually handle such performance necessities is out of reach.

And even then, the encounter is complicated further because organizations also need to ensure a steady security policy enforcement as data moves across and between network domains, which means that organizations will also need to deploy tools with identical features and function across a variety of networks.

Implementing segmentation for IoT Security

The answer is to work cleverer. A critical strategy for accomplishing this objective is to implement a wide-ranging segmentation strategy. Implementing such an effective IoT security strategy requires three essential steps:

1. Creating Broad Visibility

The biggest challenge facing most organizations is simply identifying and tracking the IoT devices connected to the network. Network Access Control allows organizations to verify and classify IoT devices securely. Instantaneous discovery and classification of devices at the point of access allows IT teams to build risk profiles and automatically assign IoT devices to proper device groups, along with accompanying policies.

2. Segment IoT from Production Networks

Once the network has identified IoT devices, IT teams then need to create IoT attack surface controls. Segmenting IoT devices and related communications into policy-based groups and secured network zones allow the network to automatically grant and enforce baseline rights for explicit IoT device profiles. While asset management tools can track these devices, and behavioral analytics can monitor their behavior, Internal Segmentation Firewalls (ISFW) need to be applied to enable organizations to not only quickly and dynamically establish and control network segments but also inspect applications and other traffic that need to cross network boundaries.

3. Network protection

Creating policy-driven IoT groups and then combining them with internal network segmentation enables multi-layered monitoring, inspection, and enforcement of device policies based on activity, regardless of where across the distributed enterprise infrastructure they have been deployed. An integrated and automated security framework then enables conventionally isolated security devices to link threat intelligence as IoT traffic traverses the network, even between devices deployed across different network systems. These integrated tools can then automatically apply cutting-edge security functions to any IoT devices or traffic that begins to misbehave, anywhere across the network, including at access points, cross-segment network traffic locations, and across multi-cloud environments.

Conclusion

Organizations can no longer afford to treat IoT devices as an isolated or independent element of their business. IoT devices and their related data interact with other devices and resources across your network, including endpoint devices, multi-cloud environments, and increasingly interconnected IT and OT networks.

By tradition isolated IoT security solutions not only increase overhead and reduce visibility but are incapable of keeping up with the volume of traffic that today’s IoT devices are beginning to generate. To adequately protect networks and the IoT, organizations require a broad security architecture that can span networked environments, powerful security tools that can dynamically segment IoT devices while inspecting their encrypted traffic at network speeds, and deep integration between security solutions to correlate threat intelligence and automatically respond to detected threats, anywhere across the distributed IoT network.

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