What You Need to Do
Keeping your business safe in the age of the IoT requires both doing what you are already doing — installing strong antivirus protection, setting up firewalls, following best practices for passwords and internet usage on your business machines — and taking specific steps to secure your network and connected devices as well.
If you aren’t sure where to start, consider contracting with independent technical support services to get you on the right track, and then do the following:
- Read the documentation for all your IoT devices. Many people simply “plug and play” their IoT gadgets, without realizing that they can do more to secure them. Read the documentation and follow through with all suggestions to improve security.
- Change default passwords. Most devices come with default administrator names and passwords, which are unlikely to vary. Change all passwords using the guidelines for strong passwords.
- Stay abreast of updates. One of the most common causes of infected or breached IoT devices is hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in the devices themselves. Keep abreast of all updates to device software and install them immediately.
- Maintain separate networks. Whenever possible, maintain a separate network that is specifically devoted to your business machines. While there is always a possibility that hackers will target both your home and business networks, if you maintain your business on a network that is separate from that hosting your IoT devices, the likelihood of an IoT-related breach is reduced. Be sure to maintain separate, distinct passwords for both networks.
- Review security information. When purchasing IoT devices, or determining which ones to add to your home, carefully review information about the security of specific brands to ensure that you select the most secure option. In addition, be selective about which devices you connect to the internet. Ask yourself whether it’s actually necessary to connect a specific device and what you have to gain from doing so. Not all risks are worth the rewards.
Maintaining the security of the IoT is a significant issue, and one that will dominate a great deal of conversation going forward. As a home business owner, it’s important that you know and understand the risks, and take precautions now, to avoid falling victim to an attack.