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Guides Technology Managing Large-Scale IoT Security Solutions with VPNs

Managing Large-Scale IoT Security Solutions with VPNs

Published on 07/27/2018 | Technology

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Harold Kilpatrick

IoT GUIDE

Businesses across all sectors have had to rethink their approach to security in recent years. They are now much more aware of the digital dangers that they have to face on a daily basis.

With the internet of things (IoT) becoming a reality rather than an abstract concept, there is an even greater demand for effective corporate cybersecurity.

Tech in the Workplace

Many businesses are still transmitting their data over public networks. While this might not be causing any problems yet, a determined hacker could easily snoop in on unsecured connectivity. Given that these devices bring considerable benefits to businesses, losing them altogether would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

A better approach to take would be to get your business set up with a virtual private network (VPN). VPN’s should be the standard in any business as they significantly improve your overall security. However, now that the IoT is upon us, the need for companies to equip themselves with a VPN is more urgent than ever before.

How Does a VPN Work?

The way that a VPN works is ingeniously simple, yet they are incredibly effective at what they are designed to do. Usually, when a computer connects to the Internet, it sends a request to the website that it wants to reach and awaits a response. So, if you were to load the Google homepage, your computer will send a request to Google asking for their homepage. Once Google fulfills this request, you will see their website.

When your computer sends a request to Google, it includes a whole bunch of information about where it came from (including the IP address). This doesn’t just mean that your online activity can be traced, literally to your front door, it also means that an attacker looking at your network will see potential points of entry.

When you use a VPN, things are a little different. This time, when you want to access Google, instead of asking Google yourself, you have the VPN do it. Your computer and the VPN exchange encrypted information, which is impossible to decrypt and read. By connecting to the Internet with the help of VPN, you ensure that all data shared on the network is secure at all times.

Using VPNs With IoT Devices

Connecting multiple devices to the Internet via a VPN could prove to be somewhat problematic. Yes, your data will be kept secure, and each IoT device will be safe. However, you will find that your connection slows dramatically. Generally, the more secure your connection, the slower it is.

In most instances, the CIO of the company is responsible for ensuring that the company is taking the necessary virtual security measures. It is their responsibility to establish proper cybersecurity strategies. Here are some of them, which you should be aware of at all times.

Centralized Management

The first thing you should do is implement a policy-based VPN management strategy. You want your IT administrators to have the necessary control and freedom to enable features and to decide on sensible policies. It is much easier to do this, and for others to follow, when to have each employee trained individually in regards to every single device.

Another benefit of a centralized system is that you can issue policy changes and have them instated across your network in a short span of time. Your CIO will have a much easier time tracking and managing VPNs when they can check their status centrally.

Network Heterogeneity

Most business networks connect tons of different devices which all access companies data simultaneously even though each uses a different way to access that information. You could try and get all your employees using the same devices and platforms; however, this isn’t a practical solution for many people. Not only that, but there are also advantages to using a variety of platforms that should not be ignored.

A much better solution is to choose a VPN management system that supports as wide a range of platforms as possible. You want your network to be as seamless as possible, and its management to be equally straightforward. You need a central system that acts as a hub between all the different systems and platforms on your network.

Remote Access VPN

Remote access is a common feature that modern business use nowadays. A VPN service can help you establish remote connections that are much more stable, secure, and reliable. For example, the usual authentication and certification checks can be carried out automatically at the VPN gateway. The gateway can also be configured to automatically filter traffic for you, therefore, handling the client-device characters needed to connect through the VPN.  Finally, you will also eliminate the need to store individual connection data for every device on your network.

IoT Security

The biggest endpoint security threat that businesses face today comes from the number of their employees' devices that connect to a corporate network. Large organizations may have thousands of such devices, all connected to the network from home. Unfortunately, enterprises cannot control what software (or malware) is on those devices; thus security can be compromised easily by a single careless individual.

A VPN is by far the most effective method of allowing employees to access a corporate network securely. If you add devices to your network manually, you will soon find that setting up each one is tedious and difficult. A much more efficient solution is to have a single, centralized, remote-access VPN management system. Once you have it up with the appropriate policies and rules, it will take care of your network for you.

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