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Why Small Businesses Need to Be Vigilant About IoT Security Too

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The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is transforming markets and businesses today. Manufacturers are benefiting from interconnected devices, with an expected creation of up to $3.7 trillion in value by 2025, according to McKinsey.

However, IoT isn’t just for large industries. Small businesses also have a lot to gain from exploring IoT developments. They should investigate how smart devices can enhance their effectiveness and competitiveness. The range of use cases for retail, offices, and homes already cover various smart device developments.

It doesn’t require significant investment to be part of the IoT revolution. Almost any hardware or appliance now supports some form of internet connectivity. Many may not realize it, but even the use of wireless printers and radio frequency IDs can qualify as IoT adoption. Additionally, consumer-friendly technologies such as those offered by Nest and SmartThings are now available to a wider market.

Implementing smart thermostats, light bulbs, and locks can demonstrate progress for businesses, improve staff morale, and enhance their image. Furthermore, these devices help reduce energy costs and maintain physical security on premises.

However, small businesses must also consider the potential vulnerabilities these devices can introduce to their networks. The threat of cyberattacks is real, and these devices can be exploited by malicious actors.

It is essential for small businesses to be vigilant when using IoT devices in their workplaces.

No Such Thing as Too Small

Cybersecurity is already a major concern for small businesses. Malware often targets small businesses, with 58% of malware victims being classified as small businesses.

It’s understandable why this is the case. Smaller operations typically lack access to enterprise-level security, use lower-spec devices with insufficient security features, and may not have dedicated IT personnel to manage security. Additionally, untrained staff may unintentionally introduce security vulnerabilities through their actions.

Alarmingly, 87% of small business owners do not even feel at risk of being attacked, yet they stand to lose the most when attacks occur. Small to medium enterprises in the US lose $75 billion a year to ransomware, and 1 in 5 businesses close after being hacked.

However, this should not deter small businesses from embracing IoT adoption altogether. While all technology projects carry some form of risk, this should serve as a reminder to be extra vigilant.

Beefing Up Security

There are ways for businesses to enjoy the benefits of IoT devices while minimizing security risks. Here are measures businesses can take to secure their networks:

Invest in reliable devices. Low-cost off-brand devices flooding the market may lack essential security features and active development. Choose devices with access control, firmware upgrades, data protection, and guaranteed support.

Change default administrator access. Replace easy-to-access default administrator credentials with hard-to-guess passphrases and ensure their security.

Keep devices up-to-date. Ensure devices are running on the latest firmware and software to prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.

Train staff on proper use. Educate staff on proper device use and general cybersecurity best practices to prevent security vulnerabilities.

Benefits Outweigh the Effort

IoT adoption can offer various benefits for small businesses, including energy cost savings and improved security. Measures to enhance security are a small price to pay for the efficiency and effectiveness that IoT can bring to businesses.

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