How to fight Data Privacy challenges while building an IoT solution?

How to fight Data Privacy challenges while building an IoT solution?
The digital world that we live in today is built up of blocks of data. It is found that around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being generated by day across the world. This count would only keep increasing. With massive amounts of data being collected, the concerns about maintaining the collected data in a secure manner take the main stage.

With IoT, there are various connected devices in the network that connect and communicate with each other. Any vulnerability in any one of the many connected devices might compromise the entire network. Some of the major data privacy challenges associated with IoT solutions are as follows.

Common IoT security and privacy challenges

IoT, being a network of connected devices, includes various components which make up the network. This increases the chances for hackers to access the network if the network is prone to vulnerabilities. Some of the common IoT security and privacy issues are mentioned below.

Poor authentication and authorization

Many devices rely on weak, predictable passwords and many devices and sensors are configured to use default authorization credentials. This increases the chance for a hacker to enter into the network easily.

Lack of transport layer security

When devices communicate with each other to transfer data, the transport layer has to be secure in order to prevent data leakage. Most devices fail to encrypt the data that are being transferred even when the transactions take place over the internet. This is why the market asked for data protection.

Insecure user interfaces

Most IoT devices have user interfaces such as mobile or web interfaces to manage the device or to make use of the collected data. Without proper security measures, the device will be prone to OWASP vulnerabilities such as data leakage and cross-site scripting.

Disregarding privacy concerns

The business logic and services must be developed by following secure code practices. Devices used in the healthcare sector hold high-level sensitive information about patients such as name and date of birth. Transferring data across networks without proper encryption and security methods would result in compromising such sensitive data.

IoT security and privacy laws

With the lack of universal standards for IoT security and privacy, the California state legislature has passed a law on how to protect customer privacy and secure IoT devices. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) provided new rules for businesses in collecting customer data as well as for IoT device manufacturers.

For many businesses, the impact of this act has been limited such as to not defining the ways in how businesses must secure the data and the privacy policy extends few of the rules that are already present in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Both CCPA and GDPR are aimed towards protecting consumer privacy and share are similar in certain aspects. The laws differ in terms of scope, penalties for noncompliance and requirements. As a result of these differences, companies cannot comply with one of these laws and automatically be in compliance with the other. Rather, companies have to come up with compliance programs to cope up with both the laws individually.

The penalties for the violation of both the laws vary massively by a huge margin. The GDPR violations are categorized as minor and major violations whilst CCPA violations are categorized as intentional and unintentional violations.

Every organization must consult with their legal counsel, privacy experts and stakeholders in order to satisfy the requirements to comply with CCPA and GDPR. It is also important to thoroughly understand and know the third parties organizations that are involved. With the increasing number of privacy policies, organizations can frame a comprehensive privacy policy framework or become US-EU privacy shield compliant.

Many entities today comply with both the above-mentioned laws and regulations. One of them is the K2 view. Their data privacy solution collects all the customer data from all source systems and stores it privately as a single digital entity. Each customer is allocated a micro-DB to securely store the collected information. Apart from privacy protection, the digital entities make the data available as per customer request. They also maintain customers’ consent information to collect and store customers’ data into a single source for privacy operations.

Overcoming IoT security and privacy challenges

There are various steps and precautionary measures available while developing an IoT product, out of which the few are mentioned below.

Security analytics

IoT security analytics involves collecting and analyzing data from various resources. This will assist the IoT to identify the potential threats, malicious and suspicious attacks from various domains. This in turn will help the security experts to correct such anomalies and prevent them from recurring again.

Public key infrastructure

Public key infrastructure provides a set of policies and procedures to create, manage and distribute digital certificates. This process has been found to be an effective solution for issues related to IoT security and privacy. Encrypting and decrypting data using PKI ensures that the privacy of the data is maintained and reduces the chances of data theft.

Network security

The back-end process of an IoT application takes place over the cloud. This means that the device is already connected to the internet as well via an IoT network. This plays a major role in ensuring the smooth functioning of an IoT application.

To maintain such smooth operation, the network has to be secured and protected using endpoint security features like anti-malware, antivirus and firewalls.

Device authentication

Multiple authentication features are available for IoT devices like digital certificates, two-factor authentication and biometric authentication to ensure that the device stays protected from vulnerabilities.

The device can be compromised only when a potential hacker gets the personal information to which only the user has access.

IoT security has to be constantly verified throughout the development process. It is essential to educate the employees, customers and everyone involved in the process about the potential threats and the ways to overcome them. The success of an IoT product majorly depends on how it provides and maintains privacy and security.

Author’s bio: Yash Mehta is an internationally recognized IoT, M2M and Big Data technology expert. He has written a number of widely acknowledged articles on Data Science, IoT, Business Innovation, Cognitive intelligence. His articles have been featured in the most authoritative publications and awarded as one of the most innovative and influential works in the connected technology industry by IBM and Cisco IoT department. He heads Intellectus (thought-leadership platform for experts).

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