From air conditioners and photocopiers to warehouse forklifts, connected objects are ubiquitous in our lives and our businesses. No less than 20 billion are reportedly already in use worldwide, and an estimated 75 billion –ten times the world’s population – are expected to be deployed by 2024!
Indeed, all sectors can benefit from IoT technology: for retail, it is a way to personalize the customer experience; for the service sector, to increase productivity; for the health sector, to improve patient services and optimize its resource utilization, etc.
In other words, connected objects have the wind in their sails, and it looks like nothing will stop their propagation.
Connected objects in the business world
Far from being mere fiction, the reign of connected objects has already begun. More than 50% of companies already use IoT devices successfully, and 88% of them see them as a profitable investment.
There is a flip side, however: almost as many companies (84%) acknowledge that connected objects have been at the root of security incidents [PDF].
Although IoT has a positive impact on organizations, the rapid influx of connected objects is such that security policies and procedures are having a hard time to come up with appropriate measures. As a result, many connected objects are now being installed with little or no security measures, which means that viruses, malware and deficient configurations are causing breaches in the security of organizations’ digital assets.
Fortunately, cybersecurity solutions such as those from Aruba Networks [PDF], which NETsatori distributes and deploys, literally blend into the IT architecture of organizations, making it possible to manage accesses and individually monitor the activity of each connected object.
The right tool, with the right configuration
During Télécom 2019 Conference, Jean-François Vaillancourt, President of NETsatori, participated in a panel of experts on the theme of “The Internet of Things (IoT): Smart Cities and 4.0 Industries”.
After all, connected objects have quickly become an essential component of information systems, producing real-time, granular data that shed new light on the activities of organizations.
As Jean-François pointed out, “It is essential to have a comprehensive overview of the data that flows over wire and Wi-Fi networks – who uses what, when and why – in order to ensure that the equipment and software we implement are truly adapted to the situation of each organization.”
“There are now tools that make it possible to constantly monitor each connected object: if we want to ensure a high level of security while maintaining a high level of management flexibility, the key lies in selecting the right tool and configuring it impeccably.”
Connected objects = porous networks?
In addition, Jean-François strongly emphasized the importance of segmenting connected objects.
“Most connected objects are equipped with very low-performance CPUs, and at the time of their design safety was not a priority for manufacturers – especially in the case of less recent ones.”
“One can easily imagine a hacking operation that would cause a company to suffer significant losses simply by disrupting all the thermostats in a building and making it inoperative for only a few hours.”
“It is therefore necessary, in all cases, to segment the entire network in order to isolate all connected objects; this will make it impossible to tamper with an IoT device and thus gain access to another portion of the network than the one the device has strictly been assigned to based on its role.”
A new standard, and new possibilities
This security aspect is even more important with the announced arrival of a new Wi-Fi standard: specifically designed to support large numbers of simultaneous connections, the new norm is bound to trigger a massive explosion in the number of connected objects.
Besides the disruption created by IoT, we witness the advent of Wi-Fi 6, a new wireless connection standard that comes with a new international nomenclature.
Gone are Wi-Fi network names made up of numbers followed by one or two letters: they will be replaced by more user-friendly acronyms.
Thus “802.11ac”, which was launched in 2014, will become “WiFi 5.” As for the new 2019 standard, WiFi 6 − aka the renowned MAXWiFi − which is much faster and more efficient in congested environments, is particularly suitable for connected objects, as its OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) technology allows it to divide channels into sub-channels and simultaneously connect different devices.
In fact, the equipment designed to capitalize on WiFi 6 in a world of connected objects already exists, and according to the cyber security gurus at NETsatori, they blend in seamlessly with the best network and security architectures.
To know more, contact us today.