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6 challenges presented by the growth of IoT and smart buildings

As the digital world becomes ever more ingrained in daily business proceedings, thorough security testing is critical.

The Internet of Things, otherwise known as IoT, has been a hot topic of discussion for several years now, as more and more of our daily tasks become digitalized.

IoT devices – which can range from self-driving cars to air conditioning systems to fridges that tell you when you need milk – open up a whole new world of possibility for business owners. And they aren’t going away anytime soon. Gartner predicts that by 2026 there will be more than 20 billion IoT devices in use.

However, the potential of IoT comes with concerns, and effective testing is necessary in order to ensure the security of the items we’re bringing into our businesses. Here are six key challenges presented by the growth of IoT. 

The sheer number of platforms presents a challenge

The variety of hardware devices now connected to the Internet running on proprietary software presents something of a headache for cybersecurity teams. This software may also integrate with other devices, creating a spectrum of interconnected tech which requires regular surveillance and testing.

It’s important to define which combinations of hardware and software are most likely to be used in your business, as testing all possible combinations may not be possible.

These platforms will operate and communicate over a range of systems

As well as accounting for a range of devices, businesses also need to prepare for the presence of different communications protocols. These are needed for devices to interact with controllers as well as with each other and can include the likes of Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) and Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages and will require testing in order to ensure effectiveness.

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common

Unfortunately for modern businesses, we’re living through the age of the cyberattack. As we become more reliant on technology, the techniques and strategies employed by hackers become more advanced, and the consequences more severe. With the current GDPR guidelines in place, the cost of a data breach can be catastrophic for brands. 

This is something that must be considered when introducing IoT devices into businesses, as HP predicts that more than 70% of IoT devices are currently vulnerable to significant security issues.

Device diversity requires vigilance

Not only are IoT devices becoming ubiquitous, but they’re also extremely diverse. The purpose of IoT is that it can be utilized in essentially any object, meaning that strong test capabilities are necessary in order to tailor security to various specific requirements.

A good security strategy and test method help to ensure that performance remains consistently high across all devices, exceeding user expectations, and significantly reducing the risk of data being compromised.

Data is always on the move

Speaking of data, there’s a lot of it when it comes to IoT. These devices rely on fast communication in order to operate effectively. Network infrastructure requires Wi-Fi channels, network hardware, and internet connections. This means that IoT devices and applications must be tested across all of these different conditions in order to ensure that they respond correctly without losing any data in the process.

Opportunity and risk go hand in hand

Every move towards maximum productivity comes at the risk of exposure, especially when it involves technological advancements that have not yet been fully ingrained and tested. That’s why services such as penetration testing are so important — simulating the actions of hackers to uncover and treat security weak points before an incident occurs. This proactive approach allows a business to reap the rewards of a more productive, connected business environment without data protection concerns.

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