IoT Security Solutions: How an HSM Can Help

IoT Security Solutions: How an HSM Can Help

Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be a weak point for any network. With so many devices now offering connectivity, it’s crucial that businesses enact data security strategies that mitigate the risk of data tampering or theft to safeguard their operations and protect their clients or customers. One way to do that is to include an HSM as part of your data security plan.

What is an HSM?

A Hardware Security Module (HSM) is a cryptographic hardware-based device for the protection of sensitive information and critical assets. They can be standalone devices that you connect to your server or a plug-in card that you install in your server.

These modules contain cryptoprocessor chips that prevent tampering and are meant to securely store the keys associated with your PKI so you can easily access your secure data, implement digital signatures, and authenticate users on your network.

HSMs provide a way to keep the devices and data on your network easily accessible to the right people. By housing your cryptographic keys in one place, your HSM can streamline your security and ensure that only the right people access the data they are authorized to access.

How Can HSM Protect My Business?

If you are in a business that handles private information, an HSM can help you better secure your data, authenticate it, and identify any tampering.

Sensitive data such as medical records, financial accounts, and legal records should be protected in multiple ways, regardless of your industry. For example, the information collected by your HR department should be secured from tampering. If you’re a retailer, then you need to protect your customers’ accounts and their credit card information. If you work in an industry that heavily utilizes such data, then you need to take extra precautions to safeguard your records. Imagine how disastrous data theft could be a law firm, a hospital, or a bank. Not only would it threaten the business’s livelihood, it would jeopardize all of their clients’ information. 

Simultaneously, within an organization, only some people should be able to access particular data. For example, just because your network houses all of your customer credit cards, that doesn’t mean that everyone within your organization should be able to access them. By creating roles and providing keys to only some employees, you can limit the accessibility of your data and track who sees what and when.

Many companies have security software and systems in place to identify cyber threats. However, one often overlooked access point is IoT devices. We don’t tend to think of our printers as having the ability to connect to our private records. However, the ability of IoT devices to be used in a DDoS attack or other crimes and the risk that constant connectivity creates in an increasingly cloud-based world has been well documented. Failing to have a plan to secure IoT devices can leave a business vulnerable to a variety of different threats, some of which can have far-reaching organizational consequences.

One way to mitigate that risk and limit access to IoT devices is with an HSM. An HSM is like an additional layer of security. Because it is the sole place where the keys and certificates are generated and distributed, it helps reduce the chances of theft. It also makes it easier to track and identify the keys. Plus, with detailed access logs, you can see who is accessing your HSM and what they are doing.

Which IoT Devices Should I Be Concerned About?

Because IoT devices are becoming ubiquitous, you may not be aware of just how many you are using in your office.

Common office IoT devices include:

  • Climate control devices such as smart thermostats
  • Smart lighting devices 
  • Security cameras and alarms
  • Smart locks 
  • Printers and copy machines
  • Routers and modems
  • Smart smoke alarms
  • Connected appliances like coffee machines and refrigerators
  • Wireless inventory trackers
  • Biometric cybersecurity scanners

Too often, people don’t change the passwords on their IoT devices, creating an easy access point for individuals with bad intentions. They aren’t aware that bad actors can infiltrate their networks through this simple security loophole. Now, with more and more IoT devices supporting the infrastructure of many industries, it’s crucial that companies consider the security risks posed by the devices that make their businesses work better.

IoT Security

In addition to always changing the default password on any IoT device, businesses can also implement encryption as an additional security measure.  With PKI and HSM, IoT security can be easily integrated into a larger cybersecurity plan. Encryption with PKI and HSM is a high-level way to secure devices, but it should not replace other security methods. Rather, it should complement them.

Your IoT devices should live on their own network if possible. Segmenting them can limit the chances of a bad actor accessing your data through an unprotected device. Their firmware should also be checked for patches or updates regularly.

IoT security should be integrated into processes and procedures so there is a system in place when any IoT device is replaced or a new IoT is added to your network infrastructure. 

IoT security and the capabilities of any IoT device should be considered during the procurement process so that your team can be sure that your new devices will be compatible with your security plan and will not introduce additional challenges. There should also be a plan in place for phasing out old technologies and erasing any valuable information stored on the devices.

Getting Started with a Hardware Security Module

If you’re not sure whether an HSM can support your business’s security goals, then you should consult with a digital security organization. Ultimately, HSMs aren’t just for IoT devices. They can help secure your data and make it easier for the right people to access exactly what they need on your network.

To learn which tools RealSec recommends you employ to protect your data, contact us today.