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Security considerations for IoT systems and devices

How do you leverage IoT endpoints and environments without increasing security risks? Here are some practical tips for locking down your IoT setup.

It's fairly unusual for the IT professionals on the front lines of operations to be consulted at the initial stages of an IoT deployment. More likely, you're coming in after the fact, and one of the important elements you have to figure out is data security.

Let's take a look at the properties of a good security model for IoT:

  • Ease of deployment. The needs of business units can change based on a variety of factors. IoT changes can impact security based on the type of devices and how they connect to the network. Professionals need a solution that is designed for ad-hoc adjustments and flexibility while maintaining integrity.
  • Get connected faster. You also need to know that devices can be integrated into the environment using protocols and languages you're already familiar with. The back-end data repositories are already part of the infrastructure, so ease of integration is critical.
  • Flexibility. The system should be infrastructure-agnostic and software-defined to the extent possible. That means you need to be able to operate on-premises, in a private cloud, in a hosted environment, or in a hybrid setup.
  • Successfully capture all data traffic. You should maintain a scalable security data repository that will capture information from multiple sources securely. Securing referential data as well as data in transit from various IoT resources will make your relationship with the business units mutually beneficial.
  • Designed for IoT. Instead of working with an 'older' framework that's shoehorned into an IoT configuration, you'll benefit from an infrastructure that's designed for IoT. All of the necessary components for establishing and maintaining a secure environment can be incorporated holistically as part of the delivery model for the solution. Less time developing means more time making things secure.

Microsoft's IoT Hub, for example, utilizes a protocol gateway called MQTT, which is a messaging protocol for small sensors and mobile devices, optimized for high-latency situations. This allows the business units to work in parallel with IT by adding all of their IoT devices securely to the environment. A consistent and reliable connection can be maintained with every device connected to the network.

The IoT Hub is scalable as the business needs for IoT change. Microsoft IoT Hub, running on Azure Cloud Services, can store and analyze collected data from all the devices. Pricing models allow the business unit to customize a solution that fits its current and future needs. Microsoft will continue to provide next-level IoT solutions by implementing functions like advanced analytics and streamlined deployment in IoT Edge, a solution that will feature built-in analytics and the ability to develop services based on existing programming logic.

Learn more about IoT solutions from Microsoft by watching the Ecolab story

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