The Internet of Things (IoT) is inherently complex. The devices remotely link plants, machines and vehicles in order to optimize production processes.
To be able to work effectively together, the solutions IoT must have a high-performance communication network and, to generate real added value, be connected to the cloud. Without careful implementation according to a Secure by approach Design, networked device and application systems can be left completely unprotected, providing hackers with potential points of attack. However, it is possible to secure an IoT infrastructure in 4 steps, to be taken into account as soon as the infrastructure is implemented in order to avoid dangers and thus 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 begin 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 both a top-down and bottom-up approach to determine which systems need to be hardened, which are already secure, and how the different components of complex systems fit together to secure the whole infrastructure.
During planning, managers should also categorize potential attacks and understand their influence on critical processes. This makes it possible to improve the existing one and to converge towards the directives of conformity.
Step 2: implementation
Once all assets have been reviewed and categorized, vulnerabilities and weaknesses should be addressed by effective security architecture. The objective: to set up a safe 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 particular challenges of the IoT environment. In order to be able to implement the corresponding 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 the implementation at all levels of the system. ‘infrastructure.
Root-of-Trust (RoT) functionality is a key technology in designing a protected IoT architecture. In systems secured by cryptography, the RoT creates a unique identity for each device on which it is installed. Thus, only the latter are considered trustworthy, thus improving the detection of foreign material. The approach can also be applied to software systems and relies here on advanced security software.
Step 3: evaluation
Having identified and implemented its concept, it should now be tested on an ongoing basis. As the security posture and methods of attack 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: quantitatively and qualitatively.
Currently, companies are increasingly working with quantitative methods to assess the security of their IoT infrastructure. The quantitative approach begins with an audit in which we try to identify all attack vectors using test procedures, and then evaluate them. This procedure can be time-consuming and costly, especially for large infrastructures.
The qualitative assessment of the security situation can be a more advantageous and sufficient variant for the evaluation of IoT infrastructures. What is decisive at this stage is that the safety concept is developed with corresponding specialist knowledge and that suitable hardware and software are chosen. 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 that the return on investment can occur, solutions should be implemented as quickly as possible and adapted as necessary 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 by the various devices must be analyzed in order to permanently reduce the risks.
However, many companies struggle to gather the resources and knowledge needed to analyze the data collected. Adding the skills of an IT security service provider can remedy this.