ForeScout Survey: IoT Presents Massive Security Challenge

Edward GatelyA new ForeScout survey shows 50 percent of IT professionals have little confidence in their ability to see, control and manage Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their current network environments.

ForeScout's Rob GreerThe survey presents a “clear call to action” to better understand the IoT, its underlying risks and how it can be properly secured, according to the company. Members of the Webtorials Community and students from the SIP School were polled in March and April of 2016. The respondents tend to represent the “technological elite in IT and telecommunications.”

Rob Greer, ForeScout’s chief marketing officer and senior vice president of product, tells Channel Partners the survey points to a lack of visibility into everything on the network.

“While many IT pros acknowledge the growing number of IoT devices, they have no confidence in their ability to see these devices and properly secure them,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of survey respondents lack confidence in their ability to see connected devices as soon as they joined their networks, and almost a quarter of survey respondents said that they aren’t confident at all. Every single insecure device is a potential doorway for hackers, and it’s concerning to see that IT is struggling to track all of their connected devices. They’re leaving vulnerable entry points to infiltrate their organizations. The bad guys need to open just one door to gain access to a network, while businesses need to secure every single door.”{ad}

Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department said there will be 200 billion connected devices globally by 2020, with an accompanying economic impact of as much as $11 trillion annually by 2025.

Among key findings in the survey: Forty-one percent of respondents say two of the main challenges to security the IoT are a lack of communication between IT teams and security budget constraints; and nearly half do not have security policies that cover their employees’ home networks when accessing corporate networks remotely. Hackers have no issue finding and exploiting vulnerable networks, regardless of their location.

Looking for more on security? Click here for access to our report, “IoT: Why It Won’t Succeed Without the Channel,” for a rundown of the three must-have pillars of a profitable IoT program and the security considerations intrinsic to each element.”

“The survey uncovered security policies that are extremely insecure,” Greer said. “Thirty percent of respondents said that their company failed to have a specific solution in place to secure IoT devices, and more than a quarter do not know if …


… they have security policies on their devices.”

The channel should encourage a culture that thinks about security from the beginning, rather than as an afterthought, for every single thing that organizations are connecting to their corporate networks, Greer said.

“IoT represents one of the largest fundamental changes to the enterprise in decades, yet acknowledging IoT devices even exist and need to be secured is one of the main challenges to securing it,” he said. “The channel can help ensure that the promise of IoT is fully realized in a secure, responsible way by encouraging healthy security practices from the inside out. This starts with re-evaluating current security technologies and practices, and helping companies easily discover and track their IoT devices.”

According to the survey, 86 percent of respondents think it is important to discover and classify their IoT devices without the use of an agent.

“The channel should adopt and sell solutions that enable IT teams to share real-time contextual insights and implement agentless security policies across their organizations,” Greer said.

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