Back to all articles

May 29, 2024 - 6 minutes

Securing the Internet of Things: Challenges and Innovations in IoT Security

Let’s dive into protecting your personal and company data.

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


We know that safety is of the utmost importance in the tech sphere and in recent years, this dire need for protection and security has skyrocketed as we become increasingly interconnected, sharing more and more data online. But as we share more and more of our data, we also face threats that are becoming harder to prevent; the Internet of Things faces the continuous challenge of being secure enough that people trust it with their data and information as cyberthreats loom. 

It’s clear that the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed our lives, allowing us to be incredibly interconnected and knowledgeable, thanks to data storage and analysis. And with the introduction to IoT, we’ve also been afforded conveniences such as online banking and smart assistants that use large amounts of data to make helpful suggestions or flag patterns. Before we get too carried away with all the benefits that IoT has brought about, however, we must reckon with the new security challenges associated with sharing so much data. 

In this article, we’ll take a holistic approach to viewing IoT, understanding both the benefits it provides and the security concerns that have arisen as we share our data freely. 

The Internet of Things and Security

Let’s keep things simple: the Internet of Things is the umbrella term used to describe the network of connected devices and the technology that helps them connect with both the internet and other devices. Your mind might go right to your computer or phone and while those are both common and accurate examples, IoT devices can actually include smart appliances, transportation technologies, and pretty much any other internet-connected device. 

Apart from the clear benefits of a more interconnected society, the IoT has brought around the following benefits to light: 

  • Better efficiency: with technology checking on processes and highlighting areas for improvement or even where automation is an option, companies can operate more efficiently.

  • More data to work with: IoT helps us collect so much data, meaning we’re better suited to make decisions and recommendations that are based on fact instead of just beliefs. 

  • Happier customers: customers want to have a personalized experience and feel like an important part of the company’s plan; with the IoT, companies can use chatbots to answer customer queries or recommend products and services. 

  • Lower costs: when problems are flagged before they cause damage or time off-line, the entire business benefits and costs are reduced. 

  • New business ideas: it can be hard to focus continuously on growth while also handling the day-to-day demands of running a business, but IoT can help suggest new, perhaps overlooked ideas based on data that statistically would be successful for the company. 

Challenges in IoT security

There are lots of advantages to the Internet of Things and we’ve seen that clearly over recent years; however, as with anything, especially new technologies, there are some concerns that must be dealt with and in the realm of IoT, the vast majority of risks are related to security. And while there are quite a few that we could mention, we’re going to highlight just four of the most common threats to IoT security. 

Device security 

It can be easy to forget that our smartphones and watches are IoT devices as they’re so commonplace and have become regular parts of our lives; it is, however, essential to realize that the  majority of handheld and everyday devices lack the robust security needed to protect users from hackers or attackers. 

In addition, many devices require the user to be on top of security and software updates, which are designed to protect the device; if the user is unaware of the importance of said update, it can result in even less secure devices. 

Data privacy 

Our devices collect a lot of information; beyond what users are doing or browsing, they also store credit card information, passwords, and other identifying details that could be quite harmful if leaked. And when companies are included, we’re talking about the personally identifying information of thousands, if not millions of users in one place. 

Device diversity 

Not all devices are created equally and, in fact, most have different operating systems, security measures, guidelines, and other characteristics that make creating uniform rules across the board impossible. And from a personal security level, many users aren’t sure about best device safety practices when they change from one device to another. 

It’s an obvious concern, but one that still merits a mention. Cyber criminals are constantly on the attack, looking for vulnerabilities and openings for malicious attacks on a device’s data or information. Just as cybersecurity is an evolving field, so are cyberattacks and it’s a continuous battle to stay ahead of potential threats. 

Improving Internet of Things Security 

As the IoT evolves and we put more importance on our devices and what they can do for us, prioritizing a proactive plan for IoT security is essential; it must be an ongoing and constant plan that your company is dedicated to to ensure IoT security over the long term. In addition, try to implement the suggestions we’ve outlined below. 

Educate your team (and yourself)

It can be hard to commit to the best cybersecurity practices if you’re not sure why you’re even doing it–to guarantee that your team is both dedicated to security and aware of why it’s so essential, make sure you explain various risks to your team, such as phishing scams, and give them a clear plan of action of what to do in case they suspect malicious activity. 

If you or your company offers remote work options, prioritize work from home-specific guidelines that work to protect company privacy while off the premises. 

Make testing a regular occurrence 

As we mentioned above, hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to penetrate systems and to both be prepared in case of an attack and aware of vulnerabilities in your system, make testing a regular occurrence in your company. By internally checking where weaknesses are, you’ll be able to fix them–before it’s too late. 

Limit access to only the necessary permissions 

As easy as it might be to give the entire company access to whatever information they may need, open access greatly heightens the likelihood of a data breach and permissions should only be granted to those who have an actual need for it. There are different schools of thought here, but many companies try to be as cautious as possible when it comes to granting permissions to critical information. 

Have an emergency plan in place 

No matter how well you prepare, your company or you personally will probably experience some sort of hack or attack at some point; cyberthreats are everywhere and they’re constantly growing in both frequency and power. Instead of waiting for a crisis to occur, take the first step and have a plan of action in place for emergencies; this will not only help you respond faster when there’s danger, but also reinforce the importance of best security practices within your team. 

Cybersecurity is no joke and especially in our interconnected world, there’s never been a more crucial moment than right now: take the time to learn how to protect yourself and your data before it’s too late. 

At Ironhack, we know that you’re placing an increasingly high importance on cybersecurity and if you’re looking to take the next step to protect your data, check out our Cybersecurity Bootcamp and see where your security knowledge can take you. 

Related Articles

Recommended for you

Ready to join?

More than 10,000 career changers and entrepreneurs launched their careers in the tech industry with Ironhack's bootcamps. Start your new career journey, and join the tech revolution!