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4 Smart Ways to Secure the Industrial Internet of Things

No industry stands to be impacted more by the internet of things than industrial businesses (i.e. manufacturing, warehousing etc.). This comes out to around $3.83 trillion (yes, trillion) dollars in possible new business over the next 10 years.

With so much potential and opportunity being generated within a relatively short time period there are three main takeaways to note:

  1. The industrial internet of things is going to become a mission-critical system and a competitive advantage (especially for early adopters)
  2. Security threats will increase
  3. Mistakes will be made

Security is the foundation for every wireless network in existence today, your business, your customers and your employees can't afford it not to be.

Now this already complex task is becoming even more complex with the addition of the IoT, however, there are basic principals and components that your network can deploy to ensure your network's security.

To help you get started, here are 4 smart ways you can secure your industrial IoT devices and systems.

Integrated Firewalls

The first step when it comes to securing the IoT devices inside of your warehouse or manufacturing facility is by implementing a firewall.

However, firewalls like a lot of other networking components have come along way over the last 5-10 years and you need to make sure you choose the right one that has the features and capabilities you need.

Unlike older port-based firewalls, next-generation firewalls have visibility and control of the applications and traffic running on your network in real-time.

You can create and enforce different security policies and fingerprint your IoT devices so your IT team can clearly identify and control them on the network.

Check out this recent blog to learn more about firewalls and what you need to consider before purchasing.

Network Access Control

When it comes to securing the industrial internet of things it's all about giving your IoT devices or systems access to exactly what they need, nothing less and nothing more.

This means you need a comprehensive and dynamic way to control and manage access to your network's resources.

Network access control or NAC gives you this ability.

NAC allows you to identify, assign and enforce custom policies based on who, what where and when someone or something is trying to access your network.

You will actually be able to see the devices, not just the IP address, making the search for an issue or a device itself more efficient.

Watch the video below to find out more about why you need to consider an NAC solution:

Remember, in order to keep your network secure your wireless system needs to be able to recognize not only your mobile devices like laptops and smartphones, but also any and all IoT devices/systems as well.

Profiling

All of your IoT devices will have specific functions as well as a list of distinct requirements essential for each one to operate correctly.

Profiling allows your wireless network to identify a device through a set of variables and behaviors therein being able to designate or assign an appropriate role to each device.

As you can see, an overall theme is starting to develop where visibility, control and access are the most critical components to securing the industrial internet of things.

Preventative Measures

Your WLAN should be able to detect and prevent threats immediately and proactively.

Intrusion detection and prevention systems are needed in order to accommodate IoT devices and systems.

This will accomplish two things:

  • Detect breaches and attacks from within
  • Using anomalous behavior as a trigger--blacklist and/or quarantine IoT devices and systems.

Such as a forklift or HVAC unit trying to gain access to payroll information--it has no use for that, and this is where your IDS/IPS would help stop access to those resources.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day the industrial internet of things is only going to continue to expand and grow in importance.

It will provide warehouses and manufacturing businesses with better visibility into what is happening within their operations on a minute-to-minute, real-time basis which in turn will improve:

  • operational efficiency
  • productivity
  • down-time
  • costs

However, none of this will be possible without having a secure foundation first.

Working with an experienced and certified wireless service provider to ensure your IoT devices and systems are properly secure, will be the difference between success and disaster.

At SecurEdge, we provide the platform to simplify networking and deliver a reliable, robust, and secure wireless system-–it’s all we do. If you have any questions or would like to discuss an upcoming project, please contact us here.

IoT security checklist, comprehensive checklist to protect your network from security threats associated with the internet of things
Jordan Abraham

Jordan Abraham

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