There is a lot of buzz about the Internet of Things; connected devices that communicate and ultimately improve quality of life. We see a lot of conversation around “smart cities” and “connected buildings” that utilize IoT technology to gather information, process it and deliver an upgraded experience to users or citizens. This area of emerging technology is an area of opportunity for businesses but also an area of risk. After all, adding more devices to the Internet also gives hackers more data points to attack to compromise networks and gain access to sensitive data. A poor implementation of IoT devices can lead to a negative experience, but those risks can be managed and ultimately should not prevent businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities that IoT can bring to your business.
Take a simple example, you are an HVAC company that installs a managed thermostat or temperature sensor in a commercial building. If that device gets hacked, that can lead to liability for your business for damages caused to the customer network, not to mention the possibility of losing that account. There can be a grey area of responsibility as new technology gets rolled out. One way to mitigate risk is to clearly define, in writing, what responsibilities your business takes for IoT devices installed on customer networks and just as importantly, what responsibilities your business is not liable for. Managed properly, the device can give your technician valuable information on temperature to deliver better results for your customer.
When selecting an IoT product for deployment, most businesses look at functionality of the device and no further. In today’s world, an inspection of security must be a part of the process. Performing this inspection upfront can also help reduce risk. This is where partnering with a company like Colden Company can pay dividends. Allow partners with expertise in the security space to advise you on that aspect of your IoT project.
From a technology standpoint, simple precautions like implementing VLANs that separate the device management network from the customer network can reduce risk. Also, implementing a plan to patch and upgrade device firmware regularly can reduce risk. Proper upfront configuration of IoT devices, as well as a management plan are both part of a successful deployment of IoT devices.
With the proper precautions, IoT can be a differentiator for your business. Do you have an IoT project your business is planning to roll out? Give us a call and let our experts help you with the planning a deployment. Not sure how IoT can help your business? Call us at 888-600-4560, email us, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.