Compliance in IoT: An Ongoing Mission
Compliance is a recurring challenge for organizations using IoT solutions. What makes compliance in IoT so difficult is the lack of visibility into what’s happening with devices in the field, as well as the absence of well-defined compliance standards such as those in the IT world.
Compliance in IoT comprises both cyber security and operational challenges. IoT teams need to know whether their devices are secure and working properly at all times (e.g. are firmware versions and passwords up to date?). These challenges are further accentuated at scale and when devices are deployed at multiple sites.
Let’s take a closer look at these challenges and the steps organizations can take to improve their compliance posture.
Cyber Security Compliance Challenges
IoT devices are often deployed with a default password (or no password at all), extending organizations’ cyber-attack surface. This allows hackers to easily access IoT devices and shut them down, steal data, delete recording files, or use devices as a pivot to reach the broader network and critical assets. The physical accessibility of IoT devices only heightens these threats.
Operational Compliance Challenges
IoT devices are particularly prone to failures, which can impair – and sometimes completely disrupt – organizations’ daily activities. The lack of visibility into device status makes it even harder to address maintenance issues in a timely manner. These operational challenges may lead to unavailable devices, frequent disconnections, data loss/data retention issues, and even fines for violations of industry regulations.
Consider the example of a university with video surveillance devices deployed across the campus. Security policy dictates that recording files have to be deleted after 30 days. While most Video Management Systems can support the actual file deletion, they cannot confirm that archiving actually took place as required for compliance purposes.
Guidelines for Strengthening Your IoT Compliance
With the lack of IoT compliance standardization, organizations can define their own policies, based on cyber security and operational criteria. In some cases, they will also have to address existing regulatory directives in place.
To apply these policies, IoT teams need to continuously monitor both the health and cyber security status of each IoT device. Admins must have visibility into all connected devices across sites without having to toggle between multiple screens and systems.
Real-time reporting is crucial for allowing IoT teams to understand their compliance status for all devices across the system (e.g. percentage of passwords and firmware versions to be updated). By integrating with third-party ticketing and SIEM solutions, IoT teams can make sure that follow-ups on discovered compliance issues are tracked and handled in a timely manner.
Lastly, automation of operational tasks, such as password rotation and firmware upgrade, is essential for enabling organizations of all sizes to meet their IoT compliance challenges. Naturally, in large-scale deployments (thousands of devices or more), the need for automation is accentuated.
Ongoing Device Status Monitoring + Real-Time Reporting = Better Compliance
Ensuring compliance with your organization’s cyber security and operational goals is a constant effort, especially for resource-challenged IoT teams. By automating device monitoring and reporting, organizations can gain real-time visibility over device operational status, enforce organizational policies and continually improve their compliance status.
SecuriThings Horizon is an IoTOps solution that supports ongoing health and cyber monitoring, compliance reporting and automated operations across IoT devices. Using data, analytics and automation, Horizon brings IT management standards and capabilities to the world of IoT.
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