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Our devices are getting smarter and smarter and as companies create more intelligent devices and apps for controlling them, these devices are introducing more and more opportunity for security concern. Small companies that create Smart Devices are often leaving security holes when they fail to patch vulnerabilities spotted in their software. Here are a few reasons that small businesses should be concerned over the increasing popularity of smart devices and what you should know:

The more devices you have, the more opportunity for breach.
From something as small as a smart thermostat to something as big as your WiFi-enabled printer – all of these items are a potential security hole. The list is pretty comprehensive, but here’s just a short list of IoT devices that could let something into your network:

    • Smart Watches (Connected to your wireless network)
    • Lighting systems
    • Thermostat Controls
    • Energy Meters and Monitors
    • Smart Battery Backups
    • Smart Coffee Machines (Nespresso)
    • Apple TV, ChromeCast, Roku
    • Drop/Nest cams (or similar cameras connected to wifi)
    • Smart Luggage
    • Smart Refrigerators/Appliances
    • Smart Blinds
    • WiFi-connected Headphones
    • Gas and Carbon Monoxide Sensors
    • Smart Air Purifiers
    • Smart Weight Scales
    • Wifi Phone Headsets
    • Wifi Sensors on Manufacturing or Production Equipment

So, basically anything that can connect to your wireless network is an opportunity for infiltration by hackers. There are hundreds of devices in any given workplace that are connected to your wireless network.

Poorly updated software and lack of security controls.

Many of the newest IoT companies are start-ups (think KickStarter), which means they don’t have a lot of money or manpower to close the security gaps and vulnerabilities in their devices. So, of the hundreds of devices that are connected directly into your network (brought in by your employees, clients, vendors that don’t necessarily have an interest in stealing your information or compromising your data), there are hundreds of opportunities for hackers to get into our network through the gateways these devices provide.

So what?

This is the part that’s hard to grasp, but hackers have no interest in the actual device. They don’t want to login to your smart thermostat and make your office hot – they’re just in it for a gateway into your network. One that could allow them to remote control your workstations, steal your data or put a virus on your network. Kind of a big deal, right? Don’t forget: hackers take the path of least resistance when it comes to getting into your network and there are hundreds of ways just sitting on your wireless network as we speak.

What executives fail to realize is that every single smart device brought into your building that is connecting to your WiFi could be a vulnerability if not properly addressed. Consider the source of any new devices that you bring into your business and make sure that you have a good understanding of the built-in security, who controls the software and research any known security issues before bringing it into your business. While these are important considerations, you’ll want to also make sure you have a really good firewall – as a properly designed and configured firewall can block 99.9999% of threats, no matter the source or device attacked.

Read more: The Smart Device Revolution Is Just Beginning