How to Plan for Secure IoT Devices| Bsquare Splendid IoT Supper Series

It’s never too early to consider security

We’re pleased you could join us for the third course of our Bsquare Splendid IoT Supper series. Just like a meal is more satisfying and enjoyable when there’s a wide selection of unique dishes and guests, an IoT team is a holistic blend of experts from a variety of fields. In this series, you’ll get a taste of the diverse expertise needed to create a successful IoT project from start to finish.

Today’s guest is David Rogers, Founder and CEO of Copper Horse Ltd, a Bsquare partner specializing in mobile and IoT security. David brings his engineering expertise to the table at Bsquare, working closely with our team when we need to develop the security aspect of IoT solutions. Like each of the guests interviewed in this series, David has an important spot at the Bsquare table.

For more information on the Bsquare team, feel free to contact one of our experts. And keep reading to explore a checklist of things you need to know about building a secure IoT solution.

Checklist for creating secure IoT projects:

  • Plan to include security into your solution from day one.
  • Invite security experts to join the development process early.
  • Remember the fundamentals of security when using an IoT solution.
  • Continue to remain vigilant with your IoT security after the initial set-up.

Plan to include security from day one

The first step of working to create a more secure IoT solution seems simple: plan to include security from day one. Because humans tend to struggle with quantifying and dealing with risk, we often overlook cybersecurity. As David puts it, “Sometimes [customers] perceive that there is no risk just because they can’t see it.”

While this can lead to a temptation to cut corners when it comes to the security of an IoT solution, David implores creators to make security considerations early in the development process. “It may not be a problem for the designer, actually, when the products get deployed,” he warns. “It may be the problem of the customer of that product who has to deal with the mess that it creates.”

Skipping the security aspect might save time and money in the short term, but the potential negative fall-out can be bad for your company’s reputation, time, and budget. Preparing even just for basic threat detection and monitoring can pay off in the long term.

Invite security experts to join the development process early

If the IoT development process were a dinner party, security experts often arrive after the meal has been served. Unfortunately, treating security as an afterthought (or as coffee after a meal) can make their job harder. It can also create major problems for your company, like damaged reputation and loss of time and money.

“Security needs to be in the room at the start.”

David Rogers, Copper Horse Ltd.

To continue the dinner metaphor, it’s the difference between expecting a chef to save a burned dinner or giving the chef a timer to prevent the dinner from burning altogether.

“Security needs to be in the room at the start,” David insists. Make the security experts part of the team at the beginning of the project. This way you create a smoother process for integrating security into the overall design.

Remember the fundamentals of security when using an IoT solution

You know when we mentioned that people aren’t always great at judging risks? It can really show in how a project sets up security. According to David, “we are running into this fully digitized world still with the common issues that we had even 30, 40 years ago.”

These problems can stem from something as simple as using default passwords. And that can cause major problems for IoT solutions. It only takes one compromised device to potentially lead to what David refers to as a “cascade of failure,” as interconnected systems working with incorrect information can create unwanted (or even dangerous) results.

Paying attention to fundamentals can provide a solid base for your IoT solution. This includes user-driven actions like updating passwords. It also means bigger projects like creating a threat detection solution that monitors for bad actors and verifies the identity of devices operating within the IoT system.

While it’s not possible for any security solution to keep IoT devices entirely safe, even a basic set-up can hinder and dissuade potential attackers. “I think that’s what we’re doing as well: raising the bar for the attackers so that it’s infeasible for them to target your product,” David explains.

Continue to remain vigilant with your IoT security after the initial set-up

To make the most of IoT security, however, companies must remain aware of threats, even after you implement your IoT solution. “I treat it as more of an art than a science because it’s continually shifting,” David explains. “So it’s impossible for you to say at any one particular time that this is absolutely, definitely, scientifically, secured.”

While there’s no way to guarantee security, staying vigilant and turning to experts like David can help you increase the odds that your IoT solutions remain defended. “This is never going to stop moving, it’s a continual of arms race,” David says. “We continually have to keep a watch in terms of how attacks become more sophisticated with technology.”

Get started with a team like ours

With our team of experts, Bsquare can serve as your one-stop shop for your IoT solution needs like security. From Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups, we’ve been able to serve a range of unique clients because of our diversely skilled employees.

Curious about the Splendid IoT Supper series? Stay tuned for upcoming articles, where we’ll feature experts in everything from IoT user experience to data science. In the meantime, get started with the series introduction, and feel free to browse the website to learn more about Bsquare.