The top 9 IT network and data security risks while using i­­nternet-needy devices

IT Network and Data Security Risks

IT network and data security risks will continue to increase all while the internet is such a thing. And believe us, the world wide web isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Businesses worldwide are leveraging the internet for various ‘things’ for benefits such as seamless collaboration, access to comprehensive data and the ability to make stronger business decisions based on insights derived from substantial data.

Experts estimate the total number of devices connected to internet-based programmes will amount to about 30.9 billion units by 2025.

However, as we know, all the glitter is not gold.

Due to the exponential growth of the number of devices using various internet applications for business, the increasing amount of sensitive data these devices hand – and their ability to function with minimal human intervention – the doors have been left wide open to high-level cybersecurity risks.

Syn-Star, along with other IT professionals consider about 60% of devices using the internet to be vulnerable to medium or high-severity attacks.

This introduces a growing risk for users, since hackers could exploit the vulnerability of a single device to gain access to your business’ entire network and wreak havoc.

So, here we go, 9 IT, network and data security risks for using the internet

  1. Lack of Proper Security Controls Within Most Internet-needy Devices

Even though several flaws regularly emerge in any device’s software, most internet-needy devices lack the capability to be patched with the latest security updates. As a result, the devices are indefinitely exposed to evolving security risks.

Many Operational Technology (OT) systems lack filtering chokepoints, such as firewalls or router ACLs, which render standard network remediation tactics ineffective when it comes to preventing the spread of malware. In fact, it could trigger critical infrastructure disruptions or failures. Most internet-needy devices even lack the basic encryption systems to secure data in transit and at rest. In fact, over 95% of all device traffic is unencrypted.

  1. Threat to Protection of Sensitive Data

The sensors on devices collect (potentially store and share) copious amounts of sensitive data without your knowledge or explicit consent. For example, a device which relies on the internet is capable of collecting data on what you say, do or buy from inside your home or business’ office. One doesn’t need to be an expert to imagine how devastating it would be if any of this data was compromised through industrial espionage or eavesdropping.

  1. Threat to Workplace Security

The rapid surge in the number of devices and applications within the modern-day workspace has posed a multifaceted security challenge for a business’ IT team. Today’s decentralised networks that involve the increased utilization of segmented “home” networks, have added multiple potential attack vectors.

The 2021 Data Exposure Report prepared by the Ponemon Institute stated that home networks are 71% less secure than office networks. The more the number of devices used by employees on their home networks, the greater the security risks.

  1. Absence of Regulations or Standards for Devices

Currently, no regulatory requirements or standards for the manufacturing of internet-needy devices exist, either globally or industry-specific, with respect to security and data protection controls. This means businesses have been left on their own to mitigate internet-related risks with little to no guidance.

  1. Vulnerable Default Passwords

Cybercriminals find it easy to exploit hard-coded and embedded credentials to enter a business network. When an entire string of devices share the same credentials (such as username: admin and password: admin), it serves as an open invitation for hackers.

  1. Impossibility of Implementing a Single Security Policy

The ecosystems for various internet-need devices are complex due to the diverse types of data collected by them and the varied computing powers of each device. This complexity makes it impossible to implement a “one size fits all” security policy or solution to tackle the digital security risks spread across the “Internet-needy devices journey.”

  1. Inability to Train Every User on Security

Regular security awareness training has proven to be effective in significantly reducing the likelihood and impact of cyberattacks. However, businesses are unable to leverage this tool to educate users on internet-needy devices functionality and its related risks due to the lack of broad universal knowledge and awareness about IoT at the user level.

  1. Life-Threatening Risks to Data Integrity

If the data collected by medical devices (such as pacemakers and continuous insulin regulators) is compromised or lost, it can turn into a life-threatening risk for patients. Any business in the healthcare industry using medical internet-needy devices must prevent this risk from jeopardising data integrity, control and security.

  1. Innate Vulnerability to Cyberattacks

A cybercriminal can exploit an unsecure internet-needy device without even breaking a sweat. About 72% of organisations experienced an increase in endpoint and internet-needy security incidents last year and 56% of organisations expect a compromise via an endpoint or device-originated attack within the next 12 months.

For further information about how to mitigate IT, network and data security risks for your business, get in touch with Syn-Star today.

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