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Safeguarding User Privacy in Online Devices: IAM in IoT

By March 27, 2023Blog

Identity and access management (IAM) helps prevent data breaches by limiting access to accounts and ensuring additional privileges are given under strict supervision. With about 80% of reported data breaches caused by weak or stolen passwords, integrating IAM into corporate’s cybersecurity system mitigates such risk.

If executed well, IAM can establish business productivity and the performance of electronic systems. Employees can work efficiently, and opening systems to clients, contractors, and suppliers can expand cost-effectiveness.

The IAM market has grown to $13.41 billion since 2021. It’s projected to increase to $34.52 billion by 2028, especially since the market is correlated to the Internet of Things (IoT), another development set to succeed in today’s technology for its convenience and security.

Safeguarding User Privacy in Online Devices: IAM in IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) Explained

One of today’s most important technologies, the IoT is the realization of what used to be a concept of the physical world meeting the digital world. It is a system where billions of devices worldwide are connected to the internet, made possible by the advent of super-cheap computer chips and the all-presence of wireless networks. 

Simply put, IoT is the internet of things, where things refer to any electronic gadgets or devices with software, sensors, and other technologies that enable the transfer of data over a network. Some examples of things include: 

  • Lightbulbs that users can switch on using a smartphone application
  • Street lights with motion sensors that turn on once people pass by under them
  • Vehicles with built-in sensors that can alert drivers when tire pressure is low

Through IoT, big and small basic equipment can exchange data with minimal human intervention. Today, digital and automated systems can adjust, record, and monitor each exchange between connected things, building the world’s structure to become more innovative and responsive. 

Understanding Common IoT Security Issues

As IoT continues to expand, the number of threats also increases. Identifying and understanding the common IoT security issues and vulnerabilities can notably mitigate the risk of data breaches. Some of the common IoT concerns include: 

1. Insecure data storage

Hackers can utilize compromised devices to access confidential data. As more people use cloud-based data storage and communications, data exchange between devices and IoT networks increases, making it hard to manage encryption and access control

As such, it’s essential to ensure data transfer and storage through strong network security management and identity and access management solutions

2. Weak password protection

Although unique and intricate codes can secure most IoT devices, it can only take one weak password to access an organization’s network. Once a hacker locates the device, it’ll be easier to launch a direct attack and implant the device with malicious code to control it, attacking other items within the network. 

Practicing good password hygiene through an IAM strategy is crucial in ensuring that businesses cover all bases regarding standard security practices. 

3. Poor device management

Despite the rise of IoT, only 37% of businesses were aware of and monitored third-party IoT security measures in 2020. Department store chain Target made this mistake in 2013 and caused a data breach incident, leading to more than 41 million cards being compromised.

As these IoT devices connect and disconnect, managing them becomes more challenging, posing security risks and compliance violations if left unattended. 

4. Weak ecosystem interfaces

In any IoT ecosystem, connected devices become naturally prone to security threats. With such a connection, application programming interfaces (APIs) can create a new entrance for hackers to intercept a business’s IoT device, breaching the network’s server.

Understanding each ecosystem device’s details and security policies before connecting them is critical to guarantee complete network security. 

5. Skill and knowledge gaps

With the growth of IoT happening fast, there may not be enough people with the expertise to handle and execute IoT processes and implementations effectively. 

In a 2020 IoT Adoption Survey, about 27% of organizations admit to being short in-house IoT professionals, holding back their IoT project deployments, while 45% acknowledge that lack of skills and expertise is problematic. 

Benefits of IAM in IoT Technology

The unprecedented growth in IoT technology and devices pose an increase in security threats and data breaches. Responsively, IAM can provide support against these issues. It can also benefit individuals and organizations alike as it: 

1. Enhances user experience

Because identity and access management solutions offer multi-factor security, they can help improve the user experience by providing seamless access to accounts. IAM also simplifies sign-in and signup processes, allowing users to connect to various things, appliances, machines, and functions to the internet. 

2. Improves efficiency of the security team 

As companies and organizations adopt pure cloud-based identity management in IoT, the security team’s efficiency improves. IAM supports the productivity and effectiveness of internal groups by enforcing policies linked to user authentication, validation, and privileges. It enhances processing time for access and identity changes, reducing errors and cyberattacks

3. Mitigates credential abuse

Credential abuse is the unauthorized use of someone else’s credentials to access accounts and other sensitive information. In the workplace, credential abuse happens when privileged employees innocently share their login details with their colleagues. However, in most cases, unlawful intent is the root cause of such action. 

The 2020 Insider Threat Report by Cybersecurity Insiders reported that about 63% of organizations think privileged IT users pose the most significant insider security risk to them. Through IAM systems, businesses can mitigate such risks through solid password management systems and multi-factor authentications. 

4. Proves regulatory compliance 

IAM in IoT technology proves regulatory compliance as it provides various safeguards required by the security standards of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on data security, privacy, and protection. 

Through IAM improvements, companies can display how corporate data and information are controlled. IAM in IoT technology allows them to better detect anomalies on unauthorized devices, manage connected devices, and provide support for device access. 

5. Generates more revenue 

IoT allows companies to automate operations securely, reducing labor costs such as manufacturing and delivering goods. Beyond mitigating data breaches and security threats, IAM in IoT technology generates more revenue as it minimizes service costs. 

Since IAM simplifies managerial tasks for administrators and employees, the time spent helping users locked out of their accounts can now be put on more high-priority projects. Using cloud-based IAM solutions can also eliminate the need to purchase and sustain on-premises IAM systems. 

Implementing IAM for IoT: Best Practices to Keep in Mind

Utilizing IAM becomes a must rather than an option as the world becomes more connected through IoT. Below are some best practices to remember when implementing IAM for IoT to ensure effective, fast, and secure solutions. 

1. Define users and ‘things’ clearly

In today’s digital age, having online services available to users is crucial for businesses to increase revenue streams. With IoT services, companies must be mindful of content, attribute sharing, trust management, and identity verification. 

Some IoT devices or things may require more security than others, so arranging rigid protocols to safeguard user identity is necessary. 

2. Change default passwords for access control

Avoid deploying IoT resources without changing default passwords for access control. Don’t launch IoT devices with only local access capabilities; instead, try to incorporate all IoT resources into the IAM system. Remember that this doesn’t apply to consumer-based IoT devices attached to the business’s network. 

3. Implement training and support

Conducting orientations and refreshers is crucial when working with IAM for IoT. Various organizations lack in-house experts to handle IoT-related issues in the past. With IAM providers giving training and support, you bridge the skills and knowledge gap. 

4. Design your authentication and authorization processes

Create an authentication and authorization process that supports your system-level threat models accordingly. When selecting a vendor to partner with on this integration, go for a provider that has established adherence to industry standards and follows the best practices of security groups in the field.

5. Invest in failure and breach plans

Invest in well-structured contingency plans to know how you would respond when data mishaps occur. An incident response plan is an approach you can adopt to determine, contain, and reduce the cost of a cyberattack or other live incident.

Corporations should merge such plans into their incident management processes and workflows. 

Safeguard Your Accounts Through IAM Solutions

IoT is still developing yet is already incorporating its way into people’s everyday lives. Like any other technological advancement, IoT makes users’ life more convenient, improving their day-to-day activities.

With the growth of this technology, integrating IAM solutions for businesses becomes a necessity rather than an option. Users need assurance to access their IoT devices safely, which IAM can help as it acts as a protective wall against malicious agents forcing their way to access sensitive and confidential data. 

Take control and safeguard your accounts by integrating robust software like Q5id’s Proven Identity Solution, where your data is protected from theft and fraud incidents. Check out how our technology works, or contact us today to learn more.

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