IoT-Cloud Convergence Security Guide

IoT-Cloud Convergence Security Guide
iot cloud convergence security guide
Illustration: © IoT for everyone

IoT, a technology that connects people, things, devices, and businesses, has seen tremendous growth in popularity. In the era of the pandemic, IoT became one of the solutions in the world of minimized social interaction. Cloud computing combined with IoT makes it possible to solve the toughest challenges for your business. However, the increased demand for remotely controlled devices raises concerns about security in the IoT cloud. Whether your business has gone digital or is just beginning the conversion, you will face the security risks of IoT and cloud integration. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these risks.

IoT-Cloud security challenges

Let’s take a look at various security challenges facing IoT and cloud integration.

#1: Centralized Access

Firewall-protected cloud API gateway restricts incoming and outgoing traffic. This feature of IoT and cloud technology reduces the attack surface. At the same time, the question of the effectiveness of the firewall arises. Reducing the cyberattack surface makes the target obvious and therefore attractive to a potential hacker.

#2: Insecure communication and data flow between Edge and Cloud

Access control It is a method that guarantees the identification of the user and their rights of access to the company’s data. Endpoints or the cloud may lack security features such as authentication, authorization, and data encryption. In this case, access controls and the integrity of transferred data are at risk.

#3: Privacy and authorization issues

How IoT devices and sensors collect sensitive data is critical to businesses. In the cloud ecosystem, information is transferred to an interoperable space. In the case of a public cloud, the data is available to other users and customers. Where the data is stored and how the information is processed and transmitted are crucial for privacy.

#4: Poor IoT Implementation

As the business expands, the number of people accessing the organization’s network grows. This increases the number of endpoints connecting the IoT ecosystem to the cloud, which in turn increases the risk of cyber attacks. If security breaches are present in the access points and network of IoT devices, they will also affect the cloud.

#5: Cloud Vulnerabilities

Misconfiguring cloud environments and resources leaves your systems vulnerable to attack and can lead to sensitive data leaks. Improper configuration can lead to system outages and unwanted downtime, leading to service interruption. These and similar issues are common to both cloud and IoT security, as long as the ecosystems are integrated.

#6: Lack of Integrated Security Patches

The security of IoT applications can only be guaranteed through constant updates and patches. Some IoT devices run on outdated or legacy operating systems that cannot be patched. Therefore, ensuring the safe functioning of such an ecosystem is highly questionable.

#7: Lack of Employee Awareness

According to Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 20221, 30 percent of all breaches in 2020 involved insiders. Statistics demonstrate the need to educate employees about phishing attacks and other social engineering techniques.

Ensure your security in the cloud-IoT

Feel confident that your cloud and IoT security is strong by implementing the following tips:

Monitor and secure data flow

Endpoint protection is critical to the implementation of cloud and IoT security. Companies must manage monitoring and filtering tools to identify blind spots that attackers can target. Once the flow of data from IoT endpoints to the cloud is protected, other security controls must be added to strengthen the defense.

Employ a secure development process

According to future trends in the development of IoT solutions, companies need to ensure their cloud and IoT security before entering the market. To achieve network security, experts recommend finding its weaknesses and mapping the potential attack surface.

Take advantage of cloud security options

IoT devices connected to the cloud environment must be protected. To minimize the risks of remote attacks, companies can use cloud-based IoT security platforms. Cloud providers offer various solutions, including:

  • Registration of new devices
  • Grant certificates and private security keys for devices
  • Reset devices remotely
  • Installing updates for firmware and software
  • Threat detection and auditing features
  • cloud monitoring

Sensitive data on premises

keep these three types of data outside of public access:

  1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  2. Personal Health Care Information (PHI)
  3. Financial data

Use the cloud to protect devices

Additional measures can be implemented to protect your IoT hardware within the cloud. Software called “middleware” is an interface between IoT components. Middleware, often referred to as “software glue,” enables connection between complex programs that were not initially designed to connect.

data encryption

IoT protocols connect devices in a network and allow them to exchange data. In addition to packet data traffic, the protocol’s features include network security and device compatibility. The most widely used IoT protocols are MQTT, CoAP and XMPP.

RESTfulAPI in IoT software development

Representational State Transfer (REST) ​​is an architectural style that defines a set of constraints used to create web services. The Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of rules that define how software components are interconnected. In cloud services, RESTful APIs connect provider and consumers.

IoT-Cloud convergence creates a complex ecosystem of hardware and software elements. In IoT, most cases follow the pattern of event-driven architecture. The software pattern can be described as creating, consuming, and identifying events.

APIs allow you to create context-based applications that can interact with the physical world. REST allows data to flow over Internet protocols and to delegate and manage authorization. With the help of RESTful APIs, a single application can use software written in multiple programming languages. The combination of REST and API is essential for the IoT-Cloud ecosystem and guarantees its flexible, scalable and secure management.

Clear access control plan

Access control is a security method that regulates who or what can see or use resources in a computing environment. To minimize the risks of unauthorized actions within the IoT Cloud, each device must have a unique identity. Authentication while the device tries to connect to a gateway or core network can be done through:

  • IP or MAC address (media access control)
  • unique identity keys
  • security certificates

Another device identification technology is machine learning (ML), which increases IoT security. The tool can analyze IoT device traffic and establish authorized behavior profiles. ML algorithms can successfully detect traffic diversions and intrusions and add more layers of security to authentication and access management.

continuous updates

IoT-Cloud device manufacturers and providers must keep their products up-to-date to meet the needs of the market. The security of the Cloud-IoT ecosystem is also based on timely updates.

Patches can add new features to devices. However, these small updates are usually designed to fix or prevent future bugs and security vulnerabilities within IoT and cloud applications and operating systems. Otherwise, unpatched software that contains security bugs becomes an easy target for attackers and less resistant to malicious code.

Patch management of IoT devices can be done manually. After an IoT security compliance check and audit, IT administrators interact on-site with IoT-Cloud network components to deploy new patches and updates. This process can be complex and time-consuming, especially for companies with multiple servers and terminals. Patching can be managed and automated remotely, operating the process entirely from the cloud. Remote patching and security management can save time and money that could be spent on vendor product or service recalls.

strong passwords

Weak credentials are easy for attackers looking to gain access to systems in your IoT-Cloud network. To protect IoT devices and linked cloud services, follow these recommendations:

  1. Don’t use default passwords.
  2. All IoT devices and cloud services must obtain unique passwords that cannot be changed to factory defaults.
  3. Change passwords on your IoT device before connecting to the Internet through protected networks.
  4. Audit IoT devices regularly. Newly discovered devices must be authenticated and their default password must be changed before accessing the network.
  5. In addition to passwords, avoid default and standard usernames like management; youruse hardcoded ones instead.

OAuth 2.0 authentication

Open Authorization (OAuth) is a user authentication and authorization framework. The latest version, Automatic authentication 2.0, makes it possible for users to access IoT devices through third-party accounts (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google Home, Nest, etc.). OAuth 2.0 delegates access to user data without sharing their credentials with another third party, such as IoT-Cloud solution providers.

To wrap

IoT-Cloud solutions are in demand, creating new business opportunities. However, cybersecurity concerns have increased with this popularity. By adopting the offline precautions and cloud solutions mentioned above, businesses can minimize security risks and satisfy their customers.

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