IoT devices like home security systems, robot vacuums, fitness trackers, smart lightbulbs and everything in between are designed to make users’ lives easier and more efficient. To achieve that ease, users must input data, often personal, to help these devices function well, which can sometimes mean forgoing security for functionality.
As a result, companies can and should take several steps to protect their customers’ data and ensure better security for their devices. Below, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council list some of those steps and explain why managing data security for these devices is so important.
11 Ways Companies Can Ensure Data Security for IoT Devices
- Understand where data is stored.
- Train your customers on safety measures.
- Encrypt the data.
- Secure network access points.
- Choose the right web host.
- Make all data anonymous.
- Frequently update the software.
- Set up password change reminders.
- Enable two-factor authentication.
- Only store what's necessary.
- Listen to your customers.
1. Understand Where Data Is Stored
IoT companies should understand where their customers’ data is stored at all times. If the company is unable to store its own data internally behind high levels of digital and physical security, then it should ensure that the company that it contracts for this purpose places a very high value on data security and can prove it. — Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
2. Train Your Customers on Safety Measures
Train your customers to use safety measures that ensure a better user experience for them. Make them aware of the risks of misusing your products without scaring them away. Tough, I know, but successfully doing so is one way to stand out from the competition. Little things like not using default names and passwords on routers and avoiding public Wi-Fi can go a long way in securing new IoT devices. — Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
3. Encrypt the Data
IoT companies need to encrypt their data to prevent bad actors from intercepting it. Consumers who are serious about privacy and security don’t want people to know what time they set their heat to turn on or if they’re recording the big game because they won’t be home. Bad actors can easily use this type of information against potential targets. Encryption protects data over networks. — Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences
4. Secure Network Access Points
IoT companies should focus on securing their networks, including both digital and physical access points. You can work on this goal by ensuring port security, disabling port forwarding, keeping ports closed when not in use, blocking unauthorized IP addresses and so on. You should also use anti-malware programs, firewalls and intrusion detection systems to ensure data security. — Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
5. Choose the Right Web Host
An IoT company can better secure its data by choosing the right web hosting platform. Since it serves as the foundation for your website, you need to choose a web host that comes with built-in security to protect your site from potential threats, scams and hackers. — Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. Make All Data Anonymous
You can anonymize data by using high quality encryption software and a top-notch hosting service and by never actually maintaining or storing customer information. Doing so is important because it’s one of the challenges currently in the IoT industry, as consumers want to know that their data is protected. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Frequently Update the Software
The best way to ensure your IoT device is safe and secure is to frequently update your software. Hackers have become increasingly sophisticated, which can cause problems for business owners and consumers. I recommend having someone with security knowledge on your team so that you’re always prepared for the next cybersecurity threat. —John Turner, SeedProd LLC
8. Set Up Password Change Reminders
One way IoT companies can ensure data security is by suggesting password changes every 60 to 90 days. Consumers tend to buy IoT products, set them up and then forget about the security settings. If you program your device to remind users to change their passwords, customers can take action and keep their sensitive information secure. —Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
9. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
One effective way to make IoT devices more secure is to enable two-factor authentication. The owner of the device will be able to set it up and then make changes only by verifying the phone number or by using an authenticator app. For public sector IoT products, you must create special infrastructure that supports security. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
10. Only Store What’s Necessary
Only keep the data that is completely necessary. Some data isn’t necessary to store and doing so will only put your users at risk. Have tight security, but only keep what you absolutely need to when it comes to customer data. —Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
11. Listen to Your Customers
IoT companies can ensure data security for their newest products by paying more attention to customer suggestions and issues. Your customers are at the frontline of seeing errors and issues with your current security protocol and can notify you of things you weren’t previously aware of. Listen to their problems with your product to ensure you can fix them and keep customers coming back. —Jared Atchison, WPForms