In a Palo Alto Networks study, technology leaders acknowledged they need to step up security to face an IoT influx
SINGAPORE – September 24, 2020 – Medical wearables, fitness equipment, game consoles, desk toys and other connected devices are regularly connecting to corporate networks, prompting technology leaders in Singapore to warn that significant action should be taken to prevent these devices from being used to hack into businesses.
That’s according to a new report on practices for securing the Internet of Things (IoT) commissioned by Palo Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity leader, based on a survey of 1,350 IT business decision-makers in 14 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.*
In Singapore, an overwhelming 9 in 10 companies surveyed report a rise in the number of IoT devices connecting to their organisations’ networks over the last year. Among the connected medical wearables, game consoles and desktop toys, one red flag emerged. More than half of those polled said they either need to make a lot of improvements to the way they approach IoT security (51%), or that a complete overhaul is needed (13%).
Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of those surveyed at Singapore organisations with at least 1,000 employees reported that they have not segmented IoT devices onto separate networks – a fundamental practice for building safe, smart networks. Only 28% reported following the best practices of using microsegmentation to contain IoT devices in their own tightly controlled security zones.
“Traditional networks are ill-equipped to handle the surge in adoption of IoT devices,” said Tanner Johnson, senior cybersecurity analyst at Omdia. “Device behavior baselines need to be established to allow for new recommended policies to help stop malicious activity. For instance, it would raise a flag if a connected thermostat started transmitting gigabytes of data to an unfamiliar site.”
“Proper network segmentation is a security best practice that cannot be overlooked. Without proper implementation, organisations may need to pay a heavy price as cybercriminals jump across and break into business-critical data and processes. Although network segmentation may take some time to set up, it can ultimately result in strong security benefits across the organisation,” said Kevin O’ Leary, field chief security officer, Asia Pacific, Palo Alto Networks.
Palo Alto Networks released the survey as part of its ongoing effort to shed light on security threats posed by the surge in deployment of internet-connected devices. Business Insider Intelligence forecasts there will be more than 41 billion IoT devices by 2027, up from 8 billion last year.
“With the rise of remote working and blurring of lines between work and life, it has become increasingly common and even unavoidable for some employees to be connecting non-work-related devices to corporate networks. While seemingly harmless, such devices often do not have the same rigorous security measures required for work devices, and can serve as an entryway into important company information and systems, said Vicky Ray, principal researcher at Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 threat intelligence group in Asia Pacific. “To address the threats, security teams need to be able to spot new devices, assess their risk, determine their normal behaviours and quickly apply security policies.”
To download the report, please visit: https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/resources/research/connected-enterprise-iot-security-report-2020
Palo Alto Networks commissioned technology research firm Vanson Bourne, which polled 1,350 IT business decision-makers in 14 countries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
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Communications Specialist, Asia Pacific, Palo Alto Networks
RICE Communications on behalf of Palo Alto Networks