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Don’t Be Dumb About Smart Technology

A few years ago, there was a decision made to make a concerted effort by manufacturers to create their products, but to also create those same products with “smart” technology inside. Basically, because of the rampant innovation of Internet-connected systems, devices, appliances, and knick-knacks of all types we have to ask the question: Are we being dumb for using all these smart devices?  

The Smart Home 

Let’s start at home. The modern home features more internet-connected devices than ever. Most of these devices are connected to the Internet wirelessly. Manufacturers have taken to outfitting products with sensors and other smart technology to try and simplify the integration of technology and life. The idea is simple: If people can use their mobile devices and automation to cut down on time, they can get more done without much effort. Have you ever wondered why people need smart washers, refrigerators, or coffee machines? Theoretically, they are designed to make their lives easier. 

On the surface, this strategy seems pretty useful. The one major drawback is security.  

A business can use much of the same smart technology that you find in the home, but there is much more to lose if that technology is a security risk. If you get hacked at home, your IoT-fueled appliances may not respond as designed, or at worst your personally identifiable information will be leaked. If this were to happen at a business, however, much, much more is at stake. So, the question becomes: Is using smart technology in the workplace, dumb? 

IoT In the Workplace 

The first (and really only) problem with the deployment of smart technology in the office is the lack of dedicated security a lot of smart devices carry. Moreover, your staff could be bringing in their own smart technology. In a time where every endpoint has to be secured–and when dedicated security for IoT could be looked on as an unnecessary expense–businesses have to weigh the benefits of the presence of this technology. 

While there isn’t a complete solution for securing network-connected endpoints through the device, there are some strategies that businesses use to wrangle these smart devices. They include: 

  • Be sure to account for all of your connected devices and their details – In keeping track of the settings on your IoT devices, the credentials needed to access them, and any firmware updates, you will have the tools needed to maintain the security of these devices.  
  • Actively apply patches – Keep track of all software updates and patches. If you are diligent about this, you should have success with your IoT network security strategy. 
  • Change the default settings and passwords of your devices – Even if the smart tech you are allowing access to your network comes with comprehensive security, most don’t. By changing the default settings to a configuration that helps promote security, you will mitigate the risk involved by running the device in the first place.  

Like the cloud before it, smart technology is looked on as an insecure technology. Time will tell if it will be welcomed into the modern workplace as Software as a Service and Desktop as a Service platforms have. Call Macatawa Technologies at 616-394-4940 today to pick our technicians’ brains about the Internet of Things, IoT security, and which smart devices bring you value. 


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