|By Tom Kelly||
|March 18, 2016 02:00 PM EDT||
A key and wide-ranging tech trend that's affecting enterprises and consumers alike is the Internet of Things (IoT). It's a development that's already transforming how we work and live as entrepreneurial minds continue to create use cases for billions of connected things.
Transformations of this magnitude come with growing pains. Gartner recently revealed unexpected implications arising from the IoT, pointing out that by 2020, firms will have increased annual security budgets by 20 percent (up from less than one percent in 2015) in order to address security compromises in the IoT. Even more disturbing is that Gartner expects that a black market exceeding $5 billion will exist to sell fake sensor and video data that enables criminal activity by 2020.
Everything from security cameras to smart TVs, wearables to point-of-sale systems and copy machines to the break room refrigerator are entering the corporate environment today, creating pin holes across the enterprise security landscape. It is clear that the malicious intent of hackers has not only increased, but it has become more creative. The reality is that the IoT is changing everything, especially cyber security, and without the proper tools, it's nearly impossible to know what is connecting to your network.
A Complex New Landscape
The fundamental nature of crime is changing as the IoT continues to expand. What used to be an individual hacker or two looking to make a buck or wreak havoc on a particular network has turned into a more distributed and better-organized crime fabric.
The infiltration of smart devices, while new and more efficient, may soon create more of a negative impact than a positive one. By using connected devices that are agentless, malicious actors are able to gain access to corporate networks and may not be discovered until after an attack.
Adding IoT vendors to the mix of those who deliver goods within the confines of corporate campuses only increases the complexity of the issue. CISOs now must extend their security monitoring policies and procedures to incorporate every supplier and vendor in the supply chain, no matter how benign their products might seem to network security.
This concern is not merely theoretical. A major carrier recently suffered from a breach when hackers posted 300,000 customer records online. Imagine the look on the CEO's face when he learned that the data was stolen from a third-party marketing firm involved in the carrier's supply chain. Smart CISOs and CIOs must look to implement vendor risk management processes as part of their own operational security reviews before they find themselves facing an angry board of directors who are looking for answers about how the breach occurred.
Five Fundamentals for IoT Security
Security, availability and compliance have become inseparable in an age of cloud, DevOps, BYOD and the IoT. More important, if you can't see it, you can't protect it, so before proceeding, be sure you know what is connecting to your network. Here are five recommendations to manage the corporate IoT environment.
- Map users to behaviors. To facilitate network forensics, map user identities, locations and behaviors. Look for solutions that help ingest more than just an event, but also correlate performance, log and security data. In addition, by looking at user IDs, locations and behavior patterns, you can determine if the user connecting to the network through proper login and password entries is authorized or is a malicious actor with stolen credentials.
- Analyze root causes. It's no longer good enough to simply monitor your network. Correlate across security, availability and performance for events, logs and configuration files. Today's security challenges require that network operations and security operations work together to ingest all meaningful data for analysis. Gone are the days of keeping technology domains in silos. By pulling together all available network data, it is possible to turn data collection into a weapon against hackers and create actionable information that provides a mechanism for improved root cause analysis.
- Cross-correlate and gather analytics. To improve correlation accuracy, rely on best practices and real-time network topology monitoring. Best-of-breed solutions incorporate rich analytics collection and cross-correlation along with third-party Big Data analytics tools to help network and security operations personnel apply methods that are faster and more accurate. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it.
- Use visual analytics to communicate to business stakeholders. Does upper management understand what has happened after a breach? With accountability moving down the chain of command, it's more important than ever to use the language of the business stakeholder. Communicate issues so that business people understand how IT affects the health of the business.
- Prepare proactively for compliance audits. No matter your industry, establish a compliance posture for formalized management and gain a deep understanding of how compliance failures may affect your organization, looking beyond the revenue impacts and potential for fines, plus embarrassing media exposure, to things like impact on trust with customers, supplier relationships and employee productivity. Consider solutions that report across common compliance frameworks such as PCI, ITIL, COBIT, SOX, and HIPAA.
Security for Today's Complexity
As the world becomes increasingly more connected, it will become impossible to prevent the presence of IoT devices in an organization's environment. They will come from both known and unknown sources. These devices provide the promise of many new and useful tools in the ability to perform business better and to predict unforeseen risks. Where you have identified the needs for IoT devices in your organization, ensure you fully understand the risk benefit analysis before deploying them. Methodologies such as Synthetic Transaction Monitoring can help you safely identify what the baseline behavior, or "normal" functionality, is as well as expected behaviors for how it should interact with other devices and applications in the network.
Like any vulnerable and protected resource, it's important to ensure these devices are kept behind trusted firewalls and, as with any device in your network, constantly monitor them for changes against normal. Other best-practice methods include establishing a "multi-tenant" reporting environment consolidating and isolating IoT devices into a unique and highly granulated reporting domain.
The applications of the IoT are limited only by the imagination - and, unfortunately, that goes for cybercriminals as well. Because of the IoT's inherent risk, IT organizations must find new ways to secure the network. This involves finding tools that overcome data silos and cross-correlate analytics in real time for a comprehensive window into the threat landscape. Such tools will help IT teams confront and overcome current security challenges and position them for what lies ahead.
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