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IoT Security

The best security is designed into the project from the beginning. We take security seriously.

Prioritizing Security

Security is always a priority for us, whether we are providing additional expert resources to a client for an ongoing project or partnering with a client to innovate and design a new IoT system or application.

Regardless of how big or small your IoT system is or its purpose, security is critical. An IoT sensor in your HVAC system may not appear to be something that requires stringent security protocols, but it does. That sensor is connected to your network. If someone gains access to it, they can get into your main network and wreak havoc. There have been a number of high profile breaches that occurred this way. The bottom line is every component of an IoT system or application demands rigorous security measures.

We have found, however, that security is often treated as an afterthought, bolted on at the end of the design and development process. This is a particularly dangerous problem with IoT because these applications are largely dependent upon hardware, and much of security is hardware-centric.

secure design, full integration

Safe & Sound Development

If you’re not thinking about security from the very beginning, your hardware designs can severely limit the level of security you can build into the associated software. It can become tempting to skimp on security or dumb it down.

At SDS, we integrate security into the design and development process from day one. We recommend this approach for all IoT applications. This ensures that you have a secure product that has the necessary features for a safe deployment.

We work closely with clients to make sure your IoT systems and applications are protected against attack. Some of the most common types of attacks on IoT applications include:


IoT devices are taken “hostage” in a ransomware incident. The attacker demands a ransom from the owner (a company or an individual) as payment for releasing the device.

Pivot points

In this type of attack, the IoT device is not what is valuable. Rather, the attacker uses the IoT device to gain access to the larger network, which may contain sensitive data.

Supply chain attacks

A supply chain attack is a cyber attack that infiltrates your network by exploiting a less-secure point in your supply chain. They come in two forms—hardware and software. Companies often do not realize supply chain partners have been compromised until it is too late and damage has already been done.

Over-the-air (OTA)

Update attacks—OTA update capabilities allow you to remotely update hardware settings, software, or firmware. They are great for adding new features to IoT applications, but attackers can use the over-the-air update mechanism to get into your system and change the way your IoT device works.

When we work with clients, we look at all aspects in IoT security

There are several areas that require special attention, making a comprehensive approach important: Network security—IoT devices are typically deployed onto unsecure networks, because often that is all that’s available. This places a heavier burden on the IoT device itself to provide the required security functionality.

Network security

IoT devices are typically deployed onto unsecure networks, because often that is all that’s available. This places a heavier burden on the IoT device itself to provide the required security functionality.

Physical Restrictions

Many IoT devices have physical restrictions such as low computing power and small memory capacity, which can create security blind spots. These limitations force developers to pick and choose which security capabilities to build in. For example, if you’re building a $10 sensor for a smart thermostat, designers will be very limited by the security hardware they can add while keeping the price reasonable. In this three-way battle between security, functionality, and cost, security often takes a back seat. This leaves your IoT devices and applications open to attack.

Data security

The data captured and analyzed must be secured both at rest (on the IoT device itself) and in transit (from IoT devices to sensors, the gateway, and the cloud). The data should be encrypted. You should also employ authentication technologies. Any data stored in the cloud also needs to be protected with the proper access controls.

Privacy regulations

Depending on the type of information you’re storing in your IoT app, you may need to comply with regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CalOPPA. Failure to comply can result in fines and reputational damage.

Our Services

The team at SDS has decades of experience in IoT security. We stay on top of the most recent threats and technologies, so we can help clients design, build, and maintain a secure IoT system. We look at all aspects of IoT security, assisting clients with:

Component Selection

We advise clients on proper selection of chips and board components that are capable of increased security functionality.

IoT encryption

It is critical to make sure data is encrypted at rest and in transit. We make sure the proper steps are in place to protect the privacy of your (and your clients’) data.

Regular and frequent security scans

Our team is well-versed in secure coding practices, and we run frequent software scans and security tests. We have the tools and knowledge to make sure your scans are comprehensive and that issues are addressed in a timely manner.

IoT network security

There are often multiple IoT devices on the same network, increasing your chances for an attack. One insecure device is a door into your network. We give network security the attention it deserves during design and development, making sure the proper firewalls, antivirus, and intrusion detection and prevention systems are in place.

IoT authentication methods

There are a number of choices when it comes to IoT authentication methods. Some require more hardware or special chips, which can increase the cost of your product. Our team can make the appropriate recommendations to make sure security is not compromised in the name of budget. The cost of a breach drastically outweighs the added cost associated with proper authentication.

IoT security analytics

It’s not enough to create a secure device. You need to know how to monitor for issues and address them when they occur. Proper IoT security analytics requires gathering and analyzing data from IoT devices, networks, and the cloud. A baseline must be formed so that anomalies can be properly identified. Adding Machine Learning (ML) and automation to your analytics speeds up the process, and helps identify which potential vulnerabilities pose the highest threats and should be investigated further.

Over-the-air update security

There are methods to be followed in order to keep OTA updates secure, such as using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and encrypted communication channels. We ensure these methods are put in place and enforced.

IoT API security

Representational State Transfer (REST) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) connect devices to the internet. APIs are another way for an attacker to connect to your device and access data. We make sure the proper measures are taken for API security, including authentication, encryption, PKI, and version management control.

IoT supply chain security

We provide best practices guidance to help clients ask the right questions of any third-party hardware suppliers to make sure their products are secure. We can also assist with testing of third-party components to verify whether or not they are secure.

What we can do for you

You can never make a bad investment in IoT security. It always has a strong return, translating to increased revenue and a positive reputation in the marketplace. If your team doesn’t have the skills or the time needed to give IoT security the attention it demands and deserves, we are here to help. Reach out to us today to make sure your IoT systems, applications, and devices aren’t leaving you vulnerable to an attack.