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Cybersecurity in a Connected World

If we had to choose the one word that best captures the technological environment of the 21st century, it would probably be “connectedness.” According to a recent report by IoT Analytics, the number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices is expected to reach an astounding 14 billion by the end of this year and over 27 billion by 2025.1 These so-called “smart” devices are everywhere, from homes to businesses of all kinds to the infrastructure, transportation, and health care systems that underpin our “smart” cities.

The benefits of being connected are clear. The proliferation of intelligent devices makes our lives easier and our businesses more efficient and productive. However, progress as usual comes with a cost. Being connected also means being more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Computer service provider Kaspersky reported 1.51 billion IoT breaches in the first six months of last year. And breaches can be serious, particularly when devices that control mission critical functions are compromised.2

Manufacturers of IoT devices are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their products and are engaging in efforts to build in layers of protection against attacks. Organizations such as PSA Certified are contributing by proactively building security best practices into devices at scale and providing the resources to help IoT builders do the same.

But there are also steps that businesses employing connected devices can take to help ensure safe operation, such as:

  • Making sure that all IoT devices have strong passwords and reliable firewalls
  • Avoiding the use of obsolete software and updating and upgrading programs when required
  • Employing a connectivity management platform to visualize and monitor the operation of IoT devices across an enterprise
  • Requiring that all externally sourced devices and components are built securely and follow industry standard encryption paradigms

Being connected is a defining element of our digital world, and for businesses, it is at the heart of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. But as we entrust “smart” machines with greater responsibility, it is increasingly important to ensure they operate free from unwanted intervention. As your company develops and implements its IoT cyber defense strategy, we at Washington Trust are here to help you secure the funding you need to operate safely.

1 State of IoT – Spring 2022, IoT Analytics

2 IoT Cyberattacks Escalate in 2021, According to Kapersky, Callum, Cyrus, IoT World Today, September 2021

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