Are Smart Appliances a Vulnerability for Your Business?

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The rise of smart technology and interconnected devices has brought a level of control and convenience like never before. From a singular location, you can operate the lights, turn on a coffee maker, check your fridge, lock/unlock your doors, and so much more.  

It’s one of those advances in technology that has left many feeling like they’re living in the future. 

Unfortunately, more devices means more points of access into your network. And in the world of IT, more points of access equals more problems. When businesses integrate smart devices into their offices, they could be opening themselves up for attack. 

A smart appliance probably isn’t going to have any important information stored on it, but it could be connected to a computer or server that does. This leads to situations where email credentials could be stolen through a smart fridge, for example. 

Why do these internet connected devices pose such a threat? Let’s take a look. 

Out of Date 

With the rise of the internet, computer and software updates became a regular part of life. Today people receive constant update notifications their computers, phones, tablets, game consoles, and more. Much of this is automated or at least semi-automated, providing users with a prompt to finish an upgrade. 

Just like your computer or phone, smart devices have their own operating system they use to connect to the internet and perform their functions. This system, known as firmware, needs to be updated as well. This not only helps it to function properly, but it’s critical in keeping the device secure.  

Often, when a device has an update issues, it’s because vulnerabilities were discovered and needed to be patched.  

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know when updates are available for these devices. On top of that, updating the devices can be a bit of a hassle. If you’re utilizing smart bulbs, for example, each of those will need to be updated individually.  

Failure to do so can leave you seriously exposed. 

Lower Security Standards 

Servers, routers, and computers all have systems built in to protect against attacks. They’re not perfect, but they provide a good baseline of protection. Smart devices typically aren’t as well protected.  

Even if a device is kept up to date, it can be a vulnerability. This is especially true if you’re using consumer grade products in your office. These types of devices are often designed specifically for easy access so that non-technical people can set them up by themselves. 

While that might be great for a typical home user trying to upgrade their house, it’s bad news for a business with sensitive information on their network. 

It’s also worth mentioning that many smart appliances are kept in more public areas. This means they could be physically exposed to someone trying to get into your system. 

Silently Watching and Listening 

Smart devices don’t just pose a risk of people getting into your system. They can provide a way for private information to get out into the rest of the world. Cameras, phones, speakers, and more could all be utilized to record and extract the inner workings and secrets of your business. 

Managing Your Devices and Monitoring Your Network 

We’re not saying that businesses can’t enjoy the benefits that come with smart devices and appliances. They simply have to be smart in how they integrate them into their business. You need plans and protocols in place.  

In the case of appliances, they should probably on their own network that isn’t connected to anything important. 

For any device that is connected to any network in your business, you need to establish rules for how they’re connected and when they’re updated. Additionally, your network should be monitored so that if someone does get into your system, you know about it right away. 

We can help with that. At Expedient Technology Solutions, we provide a variety of IT offerings including ongoing management and computer services in Dayton, Ohio. We can help create and integrate systems into your business so that devices are properly added and controlled. 

Contact us today!