The Internet of Things (IoT) is inherently complex. Devices remotely connect plants, machines and vehicles in order to optimize production processes.
To be able to work effectively together, solutions IoT it must have a high-performance communication network and, to generate real added value, be connected to the cloud. Without careful implementation according to a safe approach design, networked devices and application systems can be left completely unprotected, providing hackers with potential attack points. However, it is possible to secure an IoT infrastructure in 4 steps, to be considered once the infrastructure is implemented to avoid risks and protect production processes.
Step 1: planning and transparency
To secure an IoT infrastructure in a company, the key words are planning and transparency. Managers should start by identifying critical business or production processes and assets. Being potential targets for hackers, protection must be done quickly and efficiently. Additionally, all environments should be reviewed and assessed for potential threats. This thorough and uncompromising audit should combine a top-down and bottom-up approach to determine which systems need to be strengthened, which are already secure, and how the various components of complex systems fit together to provide all the infrastructure.
During planning, managers must also categorize potential attacks and understand their impact on critical processes. This makes it possible to improve the existing one and converge towards the conformity directives.
Step 2: implementation
Once all assets have been reviewed and categorized, weaknesses and vulnerabilities must be addressed with effective security architecture. The objective: to create a secure IoT infrastructure, adapted to the company’s processes and harmonized with the environment, both at the hardware and software level. Currently, it is rare to find trained IT security specialists in IT departments who know in detail the unique challenges of the IoT environment. To be able to implement relevant projects according to the Secure by Design principle, it is essential to seek partners who can advise and support them from the design of the security concept to implementation at all levels of the system.
Root-of-Trust (RoT) functionality is a key technology in designing a secure IoT architecture. In systems secured by cryptography, RoT creates a unique identity for each device on which it is installed. Thus, only the latter are considered reliable, thus improving the detection of foreign material. The approach can also be applied to software systems and here relies on advanced security software.
Step 3: evaluation
After identifying and implementing its concept, it must now be tested on an ongoing basis. Since the security posture and attack methods are constantly evolving, repeated assessments are essential. The fundamental question remains: when is a system secure enough? Users can always answer this question in two ways: quantitative and qualitative.
Currently, companies are increasingly working with quantitative methods to assess the security of their IoT infrastructure. The quantitative approach starts with an audit in which we try to identify all attack vectors using testing procedures and then evaluate them. This procedure can be time-consuming and expensive, especially for large infrastructures.
Qualitative assessment of the security situation may be a more favorable and sufficient variant for the assessment of IoT infrastructures. What is crucial at this stage is that the security concept is developed with relevant specialist knowledge and that appropriate hardware and software are selected. With the help of specialists, companies can, for example, ensure that they use components that have proven themselves over the years in other projects and evaluations.
Step 4: commissioning and adaptation
So return to investment can happen, solutions should be implemented as soon as possible and adapted as needed throughout the product life cycle.
In order for critical processes to be protected, it is necessary to give each device in the IoT infrastructure an individual identity before it is installed or used. Some service providers and manufacturers offer a simplified integration process by integrating RoT and robust security solutions into each module.
In order for the security concept implemented and the solutions installed to continue to effectively repel attacks, the systems must be kept up-to-date at all times, while the data collected from the various devices must be analyzed in order to permanently reduce the risks .
However, many companies struggle to muster the resources and knowledge needed to analyze the collected data. Adding the capabilities of an IT security service provider can remedy this.