Early-bird Discount
expires in
Register Now


Navigating the Identity Landscape in the Era of Internet-Connected Devices: Challenges and Solutions

Blog Post

Navigating the Identity Landscape in the Era of Internet-Connected Devices: Challenges and Solutions

Standfirst: Identity Management plays a crucial role in addressing IoT, IIoT, and IoMT challenges. Avoid the pitfalls by following some key security best practices.

Warwick Ashford
Feb 27, 2024

We undoubtedly live in interesting times, at least in terms of technological innovation. And like most things in life, this can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on how we respond to it. Technology certainly provides new opportunities, but these are typically accompanied by a set of challenges.  

A good example of this is the proliferation of internet-connected devices that have quickly become part of everyday life. These range from smartphones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers in the home that make up the internet of things (IoT); to automatic and remote climate control, occupancy monitoring, and smart access controls in the office; to sensors and trackers for temperature, pressure, air quality, and noise levels on the factory floor that make up the industrial internet of things (IIoT); to patient, blood glucose, heart rate, hygiene, and mood monitors that make of the internet of medical things (IoMT).    

Challenges associated with internet-connected devices 

While all these devices are aimed at improving efficiency, productivity, and quality of life, they all come with challenges. The rapid adoption of these devices is increasing the attack surface, making it challenging to manage and secure every device; the lack of standardized security protocols and frameworks across these devices leads to inconsistencies in security implementations; the lack of focus on security by design leads to vulnerabilities; these devices often collect and transmit sensitive data, raising privacy concerns; and weak authentication and authorization mechanisms can lead to unauthorized access.  

Unfortunately, the challenges do not end there. Inadequate network security measures may expose devices to cyberattacks; vulnerabilities introduced during the manufacturing and supply chain process may be exploited by attacker; devices can be tampered with; managing the entire lifecycle of devices, including updates and patches; and decentralized data processing in edge computing introduces additional security vulnerabilities.  

Identity key to addressing IoT challenges 

Identity plays a crucial role in addressing challenges associated with IoT, IIoT, and IoMT devices. Establishing identities for devices and users can ensure that only authorized entities have access to specific resources and functionality, while identity-based access policies enable organizations to define and enforce fine-grained authorization rules to improve security.  

Assigning unique identities to devices enables secure authentication, ensuring that only authenticated and authorized devices can connect to a network, while implementing mutual authentication between devices and the network enhances overall security.  

Organizations can help prevent unauthorized access to internet-connected devices by managing the identity lifecycle proactively by implementing secure provisioning processes and ensuring that devices are decommissioned when no longer in use.  

Establishing identities for devices (non-human identities) and users enables organizations to analyze and monitor behavioral patterns. Anomalies indicating potential security threats can be detected and addressed promptly. 

Organizations can improve privacy protection in consumer-facing applications by associating user identities with devices to enable personalized services, while respecting consumer privacy.  

The use of standardized identity protocols such as OAuth and OpenID Connect ensures consistent and security identity management practices for internet-connected devices.  

Tracking device and user identities helps with regulatory compliance because it enables organizations to demonstrate adherence to regulatory requirements and industry standards through identity-based audit logs.  

It is all in the approach 

And implementing a zero trust approach, where devices are not automatically trusted and must authenticate before accessing resources, will improve security but requires robust identity management during the onboarding process.  

Identity-centric approaches, therefore, can contribute significantly to a more controlled, accountable, and secure environment, addressing many of the challenges introduced by the rapid adoption of internet-connected devices.  

Join the international identity community at KuppingerCole’s European Identity & Cloud conference #EIC2024  in June to discuss every aspect of identity across the wider IT landscape. There will be opportunities to learn about Safeguarding Digital Identities in Today's World, to get insights into How AI Can Help IAM Deliver Better and Stronger Authorization, to get answers the question: Can you trust AI in IAM?, to find out How Identity Forces Are Making Enterprises Rethink Identity, and much, much more.  

At EIC 2023, several presentations focused on identity in the context of IoT, IIoT, and IoMT. These included presentations that considered how to make these identities and networks secure by design in Safeguarding IoT/OT/IIoT with Autonomous Networking; how self-sovereign identity (SSI) enables decentralized identity and access management for things in Empowering the Vision of the IoT with Decentralized IAM; and the implications of applying SSI to IoT in When SSI meets IoT – challenges and opportunities.  

Find out what identity, cloud, and security industry experts, thought leaders, practitioners, and peers are thinking and doing by joining us at EIC 2024 taking place in Berlin and online from 4-7 June.  

Warwick Ashford
KuppingerCole Analysts AG
Warwick Ashford is a Senior Analyst who researches cybersecurity and identity-related topics, including emerging technologies and trends. He has been writing IT news and analysis as a journalist and editor since 2003, specialising in cybersecurity and privacy since 2012. Warwick has also worked as a freelance radio producer and broadcast journalist, writing and presenting news bulletins on national radio for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Read Bio
Secure your ticket
Be quick before the Early-bird Discount expires in
00d 00h 00m 00 s
Get a ticket
Almost Ready to Join EIC 2024?
Reach out to our team with any remaining questions
Get in touch