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Strategic IoT Security Considerations for CISOs and the C-Suite

Strategic IoT Security Considerations for CISOs and the C-Suite

Blog Article Published: 09/13/2023

Written by Hillary Baron, Senior Technical Director - Research, CSA.

An Evolution of Enterprise Infrastructure

Cloud computing has evolved beyond enhancing traditional IT frameworks, positioning organizations at the forefront of innovation and expansion within the enterprise ecosystem. For today's C-suite, the integration and management of the vast realm of Internet of Things (IoT) devices—spanning from smartwatches to intricate weather sensors—is facilitated by cloud services. While projections may vary, it's undeniable that by 2025, tens of billions of IoT devices will permeate both our personal and professional realms.

An Unstoppable Wave for Modern Enterprises

Several catalysts drive the proliferation of IoT:

  • Simplicity: Even those least inclined towards technology can swiftly integrate IoT devices into their operations.
  • Market Momentum: The present market often leans towards IoT-enabled products, with competitive pricing and enhanced functionalities.
  • Value Proposition: IoT's application spectrum has the power to significantly boost productivity, operational efficiency, security, and customer engagement.
  • Synergy with Cloud: IoT’s effectiveness is intertwined with cloud functionality, extending cloud's advantages like remote data access and analytics to the IoT domain.

Challenges of IoT Security

For modern enterprises, IoT isn't merely a trend; it's the forthcoming norm, reminiscent of mobile integration years prior. While this provides an unparalleled opportunity for businesses to leverage, it concurrently introduces an expanded threat landscape. For CISOs and executive leadership, strategic planning is essential to mitigate inherent risks. IoT security challenges include:

  • Lack of Visibility: A variety of devices can be easily purchased by non-technical teams and bypass security teams making them unknown. They also may be difficult to discover if they’re connected through ancillary devices.
  • Limited Security Features: A significant number of manufacturers prioritize functionality over security, producing devices with minimal security foresight.
  • Security Constraints: Many IoT devices, given their specialized nature, don't accommodate traditional or existing security measures effectively.
  • Broad Ecosystem Impact: IoT's intricate ecosystem—comprising networks, cloud interfaces, and other devices—means a security compromise on one device can have cascading effects.

Without a robust security strategy in place, IoT can potentially expose the enterprise to unforeseen vulnerabilities.

Strategically Seizing the Future

It would be a strategic misstep for enterprise leaders to disavow IoT due to its inherent challenges. With or without organizational endorsement, the silent proliferation of IoT, often termed 'Shadow IoT,' is inevitable. However, similar to cloud adoption, IoT presents a monumental opportunity to enhance various business metrics—productivity, efficiency, customer engagement, and more. But to realize these benefits, security must be paramount. CSA has developed an IoT Controls Matrix which is on its 3rd version. The IoT Controls Matrix can help organizations with IoT security at every phase of implementation. The goal is to help organizations harness the full potential of IoT in their organizations for a wide variety of applications in an intentional and secure manner.

Learn More About IoT Security at SECtember

On September 20, 2023, I will be presenting on this topic at CSA’s SECtember event in Bellevue, WA. SECtember 2023 is bringing together leading experts at the forefront of cloud security to provide deep insights into how organizations, industries, and nations are protecting their most vital assets and systems in the cloud.

Join me for the session “Taking Control of IoT: An Enterprise Perspective,” where I will cover:

  • The current state of IoT and the need for a security framework on IoT for the enterprise
  • The unique security components of the IoT ecosystem
  • A roadmap for future needs in security for the IoT

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