CybersecurityThe Internet of Things (IoT) is changing every facet of how we live and work. With IoT connectivity, we can control door locks, lights, appliances, see consumption habits, even streamline business processes. These devices are everywhere: According to one report, by 2020, the world will boast approximately 34 billion connected devices to the tune of a $6 trillion industry, with business as the main adopter.

But the data exchange that occurs with IoT devices can create a cybersecurity risk, offering hackers easy access to intercept Wi-Fi credentials. Thousands of IoT devices were hijacked in 2017, leaving not only individuals at risk, but small businesses too.

What’s the Reality of IoT Cybersecurity Risks?

It may not seem like IoT would pose that much of a threat. Who needs to know your FitBit step count? However, a cyber solutions CEO explained, “IoT is notoriously unsecured. . . Hackers exploit this reality, targeting IoT as a pivot point to enter systems and take control of physical operations.” When hackers use tools such as botnets to flood servers with bogus data through IoT openings, it can shut down websites and even entire networks. Any time a business experiences unplanned downtime, it costs money: An ITIC study found that 98 percent of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs them more than $100,000, with some enterprises estimating that amount to be closer to $1 – 5 million.

Downtime doesn’t only impact businesses in revenue. It can also damage reputation. Unexpected downtime can impact a customer’s experience, and it only takes one bad experience to lose a customer.

The impact of IoT cybersecurity risks is very real.

Small Businesses at Big Risk

Small businesses may be at risk for IoT data breaches due to resource limitations that can impact the ability to effectively secure systems. Some hackers may even use those small business back doors to then gain access to data from bigger organizations, using the small business IoT breach to wreak widespread damage on a larger company. Despite these risks, while more than half of small businesses experienced a security breach between 2015 and 2016, only a small number report seeing cybersecurity as a serious issue.

Don’t wait for the wake-up call of a breach: Commit to finding and implementing better security before you experience a breach. This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If you can’t add to headcount, consider using an IT consulting services firm—such as Accounting Systems, Inc.—to put your cybersecurity concerns to rest. Cybersecurity personnel can secure your networks and your devices against unwanted infiltration.

Breathe Easier with ASI

If you’re not 100 percent confident that your software setup is the most relevant now for use and security, it could be time to review your system and its security. With a simple process that yields game-changing results, ASI helps you defend your network against attack and protect data confidentiality. Let ASI build confidence back in your cybersecurity efforts to keep your data flowing smoothly, and above all, safely.