The Internet of Things continues to grow exponentially, with reports indicating that IoT devices will make up half of all connected devices by 2021. IoT is looking set to revolutionise public sector departments and institutions, including higher education in terms of smarter infrastructure and more efficient student services. Although quite inevitably IoT is raising many safety concerns within these educational environments.
A noticeable 59% of IT leaders indicate they have concerns over the security of IoT, and 30% state they are extremely or very concerned about threats to IoT devices, according to ISACA’s “State of Cyber Security 2017” report. With the 2016 attack on video cameras and other IoT devices marking the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on record, IT and education heads need to ensure they can protect themselves.
Universities need to ensure their networks are prepared in terms of bandwidth and network and security protocols, with the increase in complex and connected devices. As university IT departments may never know just how many IoT devices are connected to their networks, experts have offered some basic advice on planning for IoT security.
The following steps should assist in helping establish a secure base:
- Conduct a risk assessment. IT can perform an inventory of known connected technologies and conduct vulnerability scans.
- Segment your network. Putting known IoT devices on a controlled network significantly reduces their risk of being compromised and limits any damage if they are.
- Keep IoT devices updated. All IoT devices should be properly patched and regularly updated.
With this in mind, IoT has great potential in colleges and universities but like many innovative technologies it must be deployed strategically. By having the right networking and security in place as well as following expert advice, the risk of a breach will be reduced substantially. With all this in place the positives of IoT in higher education far outweigh the security risks.
For more information on the networking and security products Exertis can offer your education institution, please contact your account manager.