The Rise of the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a rising phenomenon over the last few years. There are more and more common devices connecting to the Internet like TVs, printers, garage doors and thermostats with more being added every day. In 2015, there were over 4.9 billion connected devices and Gartner estimates there will be more than 50 billion in 2020.
But with the rise of connected devices comes the increased security risks that lie within the devices. Most of these connected devices are not built with security as a priority feature. Small businesses rely on many connected devices like printers, scanners, TVs, and video equipment to run their businesses––all of which are connected to the Wi-Fi router.
Unfortunately, most Wi-Fi routers are also not built with security in mind. In early 2016, The Wall Street Journal looked at the security capabilities of the top 20 consumer routers and found that only six of those had up-to-date ﬁrmware at that time, and just two of them had good password processes. Some small businesses (as well as home offices) don’t have corporate firewalls or unified threat management (UTM) systems in place and are relying on these consumer-level routers that aren’t providing enough protection.
The Threat of Hackers
As with any new device or software, hackers love to find the vulnerabilities and exploit their findings. In 2015 alone, cybersecurity experts discovered major flaws in some connected baby monitors, IP-enabled toys and even a connected car. Hackers are not just focused on corporate businesses anymore; home and small-office networks are seen as soft targets that may provide a way in to larger targets, like larger business partners, client companies or corporate employers.
Protect Your Small Business
Many small businesses don’t have the resources or budget to have IT professionals on staff or invest in enterprise-level network security systems. There are a few things small business owners can do to increase security and reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to the network.
- Invest in a UTM solution or next-generation firewall. Retail or off-the-shelf Wi-Fi routers just don’t cut it. Untangle’s NG Firewall solution provides enterprise-grade protection at the gateway, ensure all your endpoints (including IoT) are protected.
- Know what devices are “phoning home”. By identifying all the devices connected to the network, NG Firewall enables you to view and control bi-directional traffic.
- Accept software updates. Though updating software can be cumbersome and time-consuming, it is necessary to ensure all devices are receiving the latest security enhancements or patches. NG Firewall provides auto-updates, so you can rest assured that your gateway is always up-to-date with the latest protections.
As Internet of Things devices follow in the footsteps of BYOD, it is necessary to recognize the security challenges that will face small businesses and home office works. IoT is not slowing down, and small businesses need to ensure they have the right network security in place to protect their data and sensitive information. NG Firewall provides small businesses with an all-in-one, affordable solution to not only protect the network, but also the connected devices.