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Keeping your data safe when using smart sensor solutions

Smart sensors are great at collecting vast amounts of data, helping you control everything from the temperature of rooms to the humidity levels.

But, as with any devices that produce data, security can be a serious concern. What if that data falls into the wrong hands? Or what if someone could hack into your systems and start controlling them from the outside?

Security worries are a common issue for those thinking about making the move towards a smart sensor solution. This article will look at the security used by smart sensor systems and the things you need to look for when considering installing them in your business.

Why is security such an important consideration?

Smart sensors collect a vast array of data and, in today’s increasingly connected world, data is a very valuable tool. It helps businesses tailor their operations to be as efficient as possible, creating comfortable buildings that people enjoy working in, whilst at the same time reducing energy use and costs.

But it can also be very valuable to those outside your business. Data helps companies target their advertising and marketing, by knowing exactly what you are doing and when – nowhere is this more apparent than on your smartphone. Every like, share or comment you leave on social media is a valuable insight in to your likes, dislikes and habits, while things like fitness apps can provide information on your activity levels and the times of day you are out and about.

In the business world, the Internet of Things (IoT) is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for connecting people and spaces, but it also brings opportunities for this to be exploited. Being able to access the data that comes from smart sensors could give others useful, and potentially harmful, information on your company’s operations, so keeping it as secure as possible is paramount.

The other concern is people being able to hack in to your systems from the outside, causing huge disruption. A bug or virus spreading throughout your systems could affect things like heating, lighting and air-conditioning – all things which could prove extremely costly from a business continuity perspective if they were to make certain areas or buildings unusable.

 

What should you be looking for?

When choosing a smart sensor solution you need to be confident that the equipment you are using complies with the highest possible security standards, and this should always be a question you ask potential providers.

The most common method of protecting your data is encryption – often referred to as “end-to-end encryption”, which means the data is safe from the point it is produced and throughout transmission to its eventual destination, whether that be a cloud connecter/wireless gateway or a cloud platform itself.

An encryption is a random string of bits created for protecting data. Every encryption key is generated randomly by an algorithm, meaning it is totally unique and unpredictable.

In order to get access to the data someone would have to correctly guess this sequence.

The standard encryption level for most smart sensor, IoT-connected, products is 128-bit, which is what is used by Pressac. A 128-bit code is considered to be logically unbreakable, even using software which continually generated random sequences of bits it is believed it would take around 100 billion years to crack a 128-bit code[1]. There are no known cases of anyone cracking a 128-bit encryption.

[1]  https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1279619#

 

What happens to my data once it is in the cloud?

Many people who use smart sensors in their buildings choose to use cloud platforms to analyse the data they produce. There are a range of options available – from Microsoft Azure to IBM Watson and all have to comply with strict security regulations in order to keep their customers’ data safe.

Again, encryption is a commonly-used way of protecting information, but all cloud providers will also have their own multiple layers of security, far greater than an individual business could provide on its own systems. Some information on each of the most common providers and the measures they take can be found on the links below:

Microsoft

IBM

Google


To find out more about Pressac’s smart sensor solutions and the measures we take to keep your data safe
 get in touch.

 

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