Facing a Smart Reality

In keeping with this week’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) theme – “Today’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet” – Johnson Controls, through its Cyber Protection Program for security products, focuses on how to get cyber-smart about the devices we use.

Without a doubt, the Internet of Things (IoT) brings many benefits and allows us to be more productive. These devices form the framework of the smart cities and smart homes that are increasingly becoming part of everyday lives. However, as business and security professionals, we need to be aware that those benefits can only be safely realized if our Internet-connected devices are on a path to increase security.

Smart use of smart devices

Here are some tips to keep your data, identity, and devices safe in a “smart”, connected world.

While these tips are geared towards smarter use of smart devices, they may also apply to your security systems.

  • Know the devices that are on your network. Most importantly, know their functions and connection to other devices. You can’t secure what you don’t know about, and interconnections are common. Use automated tools to inventory your network regularly and train employees on your BYOD (bring your own device) policies.
  • Make sure you understand what risk these devices can present. It is important to know the type of information being stored and transmitted. As the device owner, you are ultimately responsible for the data on that device. Saying you didn’t know the device contained or transmitted private or sensitive information will not prevent your company from the potential consequences of violating a regulation or law regulating the storage, use and transmission of personal and other information.
  • Segment and segregate your IoT devices onto their own separate network. Keeping IoT devices separate from other business or critical operational networks can help prevent them from becoming an entry point for attackers. If an IoT device must be connected to a business network, make sure that the device only has access to the systems it needs to properly function.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi network. Open Wi-Fi networks are an easy entry point for cybercriminals into a network. Always change the default password for your Wi-Fi (and other devices). Also, keep in mind that older versions of wireless security protocols such as WEP and WPA are insecure and can be easily hacked. Device owners should stay aware of and migrate to the strongest wireless protocols available.

Depending on your role and technical expertise, you may not be able to do all of the above yourself. Most likely, you will need to work with your company’s IT teams and trusted integrator who is committed to cybersecurity, but it’s always worth being aware and taking control where you can.

That being said, to find out how you can become a pro at cybersecurity, stay tuned for next week’s post.

If you missed our previous National Cyber Security Awareness Month blogs, read them here:

>> Week 1 – The basics of staying safe online

>> Week 2 – Cybersecurity in your workplace

We also encourage you to visit the Cyber Protection Program website for security advisories and resources on topics related to your cybersecurity.


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