How to Store and Secure Your IoT Data
Managing data from IoT devices comes with its own set of challenges. Here’s how you can store your IoT data effectively and make sure you stay cyber secure.
One of the biggest and most ubiquitous developments in the world of digital transformation over the last few years has been the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices have a variety of use cases, from wearable devices like smart watches and Fitbits, to smart buildings and smart cities. These devices are designed to make life easier as well as collect valuable data points, but they also present a variety of challenges.
In particular, making the most of IoT data can be tricky. As the use of IoT applications continues to grow, organizations need to make sure they are storing their data properly and remaining cyber secure in the face of the many new attack vectors IoT presents. After all, IoT devices can hold the key to your organization’s most sensitive data. If you aren’t careful, a simple password hack can have devastating and costly repercussions.
Understanding IoT Big Data
IoT data is any data that is produced or accessed by Internet of Things devices. These IoT technologies are unique because they can connect to the Internet and share data with one another without an intermediary.
Even though the Internet of Things is still in its relative infancy, it is already creating a new paradigm for the ways organizations collect and interact with data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Of course, making the most of data generated by IoT devices depends almost entirely on having the right device management, storage, and security strategies in place. The goal is to maximize insights generated by real-time sensor data without inviting any risks to your data center.
The Challenges of Storing IoT Data
There are a few major challenges that arise when trying to store IoT data. First, Internet of Things devices generate an unprecedented volume of data. With security cameras producing gigabytes of HD video, thermostats recording temperatures by the minute, and medical sensors continuously logging crucial stats, IoT devices are creating an amount of data that is at best a challenge and at worst entirely unwieldy.
As IoT devices are constantly sending and receiving data, they consume a massive amount of energy. Plus, storing such a high volume of data requires extensive resources. Remote servers consume a lot of energy, as do data centers that need cooling systems to operate under heavy loads. Even if you avoid physical storage and turn to virtual storage spaces like the cloud, you may still encounter issues. After all, even the cloud has its limits and without careful planning, IoT big data can easily consume more resources than you have available.
Then comes the issue of IoT data reliability. The Internet of Things is unsurprisingly dependent on Internet access, so what happens in the case of a natural disaster or an everyday power outage? If your system goes offline, your IoT devices may become unusable, or operate only at a reduced capacity. This means your data collection and reporting processes are also interrupted.
Another major challenge when it comes to IoT data storage is maintaining security in the face of potential threats. While organizations need to store and organize their IoT data effectively in order to derive insights from it, those same activities can make your data a prime target for cyber criminals. IoT data is particularly vulnerable if it contains sensitive proprietary or customer information.
Unfortunately, with each new IoT device your organization adds, you open up a new potential entry point for hackers to attack your network, take control of your IoT devices or IoT sensors, and use them to breach your digital infrastructure. Even worse, unauthorized IoT devices can easily connect to your network if you don’t have proper security in place, leading to attacks that can prove devastating.
In 2018 alone, there were over 32.7 million malware attacks, and that number more than doubled in 2019. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, IoT has proven a particularly popular attack vector for bad actors looking to take advantage of vulnerable organizations.
Where and How to Store IoT Data
So, how can you keep your IoT data secure yet easily accessible? When it comes to organizing your IoT network effectively, you’ll likely need to invest in specific, scalable network technologies and systems that will help you store and prioritize your data. While some businesses are continuing to rely on local servers for on-premises IoT data storage, cloud computing and newer innovations like edge computing are gaining in popularity.
You should also be sure to update your data collection and device management framework. This can help ensure that you’re only collecting the data that will help your organization tackle relevant IoT use cases — and that you aren’t gathering any extraneous information that can get in the way of finding meaningful data analytics insights. For example, the HPE data management framework can help you sort IoT big data into helpful tiers that are coded for speed and service level requirements based on your specific needs, which can streamline your decision-making in the long term.
How to Keep IoT Data Safe and Secure
In addition to storing data effectively, organizations need to take proactive steps to prevent bad actors from using the Internet of Things to breach their networks. A few best practices when it comes to IoT data protection and security are:
- Limit connectivity and access: The fewer IoT devices that are connected to the Internet, the fewer endpoints you have on the surface of your network. You should also control which connected devices are able to download and share on the Internet so no device has more access points than it needs to perform its job.
- Keep software and passwords updated: Whenever there’s an opportunity to update the software on your IoT devices, install it right away. Unfortunately, most IoT manufacturers don’t release security updates, so it’s up to you to implement as much password security as you can. If possible, you should add multi factor authentication to your devices.
- Implement firewalls: Firewalls are one of the best ways to protect your network in case of an attempted IoT breach. Be sure to identify any weak points in your network and deploy firewalls to protect your devices.
- Encrypt IoT data: SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption ensures that the data sent between two systems can’t be intercepted, read, or modified by any bad actors. By encrypting the transactions that occur across IoT networks, organizations can make it more difficult for cyber criminals to compromise their devices.
IoT Data Protection with TTI
As the number of IoT devices continues to increase, so will the number of bad actors looking to take advantage of those devices. The best way to stay a step ahead is to find a technology partner who will help keep you cyber secure in the world of IoT and digital transformation
Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is that partner. With three decades of experience securing organizations of all sizes, TTI has the expertise to help you build a scalable network strong enough to support the rise of IoT — and secure enough to keep cyber criminals out. Contact us today to learn how our experts can help you optimize storage and security and engage in predictive maintenance for your IoT data.
By Sharon Carolan