The Rise of IoT Devices in the Supply Chain – Security Concerns & Solutions

The use of devices on the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the supply chain industry. With benefits like predictive maintenance analytics and insights gleaned from in-vehicle sensor equipment, it is no wonder that the IoT industry is set to grow in value to $1.6 trillion by 2025.

However, the meteoric rise of IoT in supply chains has not come without its concerns. Security challenges prevail in IoT adoption, and these challenges require innovative solutions and consistent development for any organization to truly offer the benefits IoT is capable of bringing to supply chains everywhere.

For business leaders, understanding these security concerns and potential solutions is vital to navigating modern supply chain challenges while developing an edge on the competition. Here’s what you should know about the rise of IoT in the supply chain, the associated security concerns, and their solutions.

 

The Rise of IoT in Supply Chain

IoT is now prevalent across many industries, but it has perhaps brought about the most change to the supply chain. With the ability for IoT devices to track assets, inventory, and raw materials, supply chain companies can make more informed decisions in real time. This allows for businesses to unify their efforts under a single network for monitoring everything from weight and temperature of freight to driver behaviors.

It is no wonder, then, that the wide-scale adoption of cheap IoT devices is taking place across the modern world. Supply chains need every advantage they can get in dealing with the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 economy, and data collected through IoT offers just that.

Truckers and fleet managers, for instance, are using IoT devices to increase productivity and develop agile, data-driven business processes. IoT makes this cost-effective, but the downside is a questionable environment in terms of cybersecurity.

Previously, IoT operated within a bubble that limited the potential damage a hacker could cause. However, with constantly broadening complexity and interconnectivity for IoT devices and smart networks, critical software systems are at risk.

 

The Security Concerns

Poorly installed IoT devices represent a danger to larger security systems. This means additional attack vectors often built with poor security and back doors that can allow a hacker to tap right in and enter the surrounding network.

It is possible for cybercriminals to infiltrate a system through phishing emails or distributed malware. An IoT network connected with office computers, networks, and devices can maximize that threat, giving hackers incentive to break into these minimally protected access points to find where they can really do some damage.

Ransomware attacks through IoT devices have cost companies millions in damages, forcing them to pay out or lose access to their vital systems. In addition to these costly attacks, compromised IoT devices present risks to companies and workforces that can extend beyond the typical concerns of a data breach. These risks are why cybersecurity is so important, and include:

  • Damages to equipment and even human safety due to the highly physical nature of IoT operations.
  • Exposure of private and personal data onto the internet.
  • Threats to infrastructure and societal systems for communication, power, and safety.

 

With so much at stake from our often poorly protected IoT devices, it is necessary to seek out potential solutions. Otherwise, the use of IoT may become an ill-advised aspect of managing supply chains—and right now, supply chain managers need all the help they can get.

 

The Solutions

Fortunately, however, there are solutions to many of these IoT concerns that are helping to secure a sustainable pathway for widespread IoT adoption. From overcoming obstacles in connection safety to driving the potential of interconnected networks, these solutions are the reason for continued growth in the IoT sector.

Here are just a few of the cybersecurity solutions in IoT that you should keep in mind:

  • Segmented networks. IoT devices can complete a host of extremely valuable tasks. However, it is necessary that these networks be segmented and separated from the larger IT infrastructure. This means turbines, valves, sensors, and more operating within their own network segments that cannot compromise one another.

 

  • Frequent updates. Keeping your IoT networks secure can be as simple as ensuring the latest updates and patches are always installed. Unfortunately, without proper segmentation throughout the network, updating can mean shutting down whole business processes, leading to costly downtime. Schedule your updating processes around operating hours to maximize the efficiency and safety of your systems.

 

  • New common security standards. Many of the cybersecurity issues that exist in IoT devices today come from a lack of common security standards for devices on an IoT network. Embracing baseline standards like those newly imposed by the ETSI will help ensure that vulnerabilities like default passwords are eliminated for these devices.

 

With the potential of IoT devices to bring about a host of incredible benefits for supply chain and fleet managers, it is essential that the cybersecurity concerns that currently plague the industry be resolved. Measures such as segmenting networks are great ways to ensure this security with ease, while pushing for wide-spread security standards can help secure the future of IoT integration.

In the course of your own supply chain management, be aware of these security concerns and solutions before making use of IoT tools.

 

 

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