Warehouses and fulfillment centers depend on seamless connectivity.
Whether it’s sending and receiving shipping updates, order picking or relaying inventory levels on the fly, the use of IoT devices helps the modern warehouse maintain productivity.
However, many supply chain managers never truly stop to think about how they could best keep those IoT devices secure. As with any new way of implementing tech, there is always the challenge of cyber threats such as hacking attempts on the network.
So, in this blog post, we are going to discuss a few of the most proven methods and technology enhancements that aim to secure all your IoT devices.
Invest in Protected Equipment
When you buy a computer or a mobile device, do you ask the retailer about the cybersecurity solutions integrated already in the equipment? If you answered no to that, then you are like everyone else, to be honest.
We tend to assume that it already comes equipped with all the protection it needs...
But this type of assumption can be quite costly for both warehouses and fulfillment centers. IoT technology that is corruptible or can be easily accessed by cyber thieves can destroy a supply chain business in a matter of minutes.
As such, anytime you are thinking about purchasing any IoT device, make sure to verify that it’s protected with the best cybersecurity software out of the box. If not, then that should be the next priority on the list.
Use Multiple Networks
Most logistics based IoT devices are connected to Wi-Fi routers located throughout the facility. In most cases, the routers are connected through a single network.
The problem here is that if that single network becomes compromised, then so are the devices connected to it. To reduce this potential, consider using multiple network connections alongside port forwarding and a basic firewall strategy.
Several service providers offer a dual-network set-up for fulfillment and commercial buildings. This is when signals are sent to different routers through the location, with individual log-in credentials for each... but all with access to the same platform.
Several cyber threats usually arise due to outdated or easily-guessed passwords and other basic oversights.
In fact, it’s estimated that the quickest way hackers typically gain access to secure networks is simply by discovering the network password. Human error or social engineering attempts can completely cripple a network with much actual hacking taking place.
As they say, the weakest operating system is the human operating system.
To reduce the potential of this common occurrence, consider changing your passwords at least once per month. Do this for all of your IoT devices. However, it’s just as crucial to change network passwords (obviously to different passwords than the devices) at the same time.
Disable any Plug and Play Features
This is becoming more common with Wi-Fi connected devices. The system is called a Universal Plug & Play or UPnP. Basically, it allows a device to automatically connect to different devices and connections. While it’s convenient – it also increases the risk of network corruption.
The real issue that exists with plug and play connectivity is in regard to access. If you add new IoT devices to your operation over time, there needs to be rules in place that restrict their access to other devices across the network.
For example, if your cell phone is connected to the network, you are at risk. If even one device on the network is compromised, it puts the entire network at risk. At that point, your personal data, contacts, and financial records could potentially be stolen.
Complete Software Updates as Recommended
Several warehouse IoT devices are updated through the internet connection – either manually by the user or automatically by the manufacturer.
It is always a good idea to set up all devices for automatic, direct manufacturer security software updates. This ensures that your hardware is protected with the latest cyber threats and patches integrated into the updates.