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Since its inception, the Internet of Things (IoT) has added a level of convenience to all our lives by imbuing the gift of networking capabilities to appliances and tools. As a result, smart devices such as smart TV, wireless security camera, gaming console, etc. are becoming ubiquitous across the consumer, commercial and industrial markets. Its role has also evolved way beyond machines simply talking to machines. It now allows humans to communicate and collaborate through machines.

The rapid rise of IoT has certainly not gone unnoticed over the years and this has invited numerous threats and assailments against IoT devices and services. As such, it is imperative that companies adopt preventative and defensive strategies to deal with incoming IoT attacks.

In order to protect your IoT devices and services, you can adopt a variety of cybersecurity measures. Here are some options for your consideration.

Form an IoT security team to ensure your company’s workforce continues its compliance of risk management policies. The team will be able to produce, incorporate and update best practices for your workforce when they are dealing with the various company IoT devices.

Invest in a network analysis tool. It allows you to monitor network activity and identify potential vulnerability issues, thus, avoiding the risk of information being accessed without permission.

Update your IoT devices regularly. Reputable manufacturers often release new patches and firmware to protect against the latest vulnerabilities. If your company utilizes many devices, using patch management software can ease, and even automate, the processes.

Completely disable UPnP on IoT devices to avoid opening up a gateway for hackers to infiltrate your network through your IoT devices. Universal Plug and Play is convenient as you don’t have to customize each and every one of your devices separately but it is much safer to take the time to individually configure them so as to prevent them from outside access.

Frequently inspect new devices and software to understand their vulnerabilities and how it will affect your firm’s cybersecurity. Execute patches or enable restrictions to prevent and address the risks they pose.

Segment your corporate network according to device types, threat levels and usage patterns so that your IoT devices do not have access to your entire network connections. This prevents cyber criminals from infecting your network with malicious software.

Keep a lookout for emerging threats by vigilantly monitoring your devices’ activities and open source software communities. Without your ear to the ground, hackers will be able to exploit any loopholes in the software code, putting your company data at risk.

Incorporate data backups for quick recovery and business continuity as it is impossible to eliminate all risks from your devices and networks. This is because you can’t recreate sensitive data as they are all accumulated over time under specific conditions.

Set strong passwords with a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. These passwords should be changed over time to prevent the possibility of a brute force attack.

Today’s world of ‘always on’ technology and lack of security awareness creates openings that cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout for and gives them the opportunity to inflict damage, disrupt sensitive data and steal intellectual property. Adopting some or all of the abovementioned safety measures will allow your company to keep pace and mitigate IoT challenges and risks. To top it all off, create and implement effective IoT strategy to prepare your company for the long term. At the end of the day, it is better to prepare for cyber threats before they begin rather than being caught off guard and suffering the consequences later.