How IoT devices open a portal for chaos across the network

Shadow IoT devices pose a significant threat to enterprise networks, according to a new report from Infoblox.

shadow IoT devices

The report surveyed 2,650 IT professionals across the US, UK, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and UAE to understand the state of shadow IoT in modern enterprises.

Number of shadow IoT devices growing exponentially

Shadow IoT devices are defined as IoT devices or sensors in active use within an organization without IT’s knowledge. These devices can be any number of connected technologies including laptops, mobile phones, tablets, fitness trackers or smart home gadgets like voice assistants that are managed outside of the IT department.

The survey found that over the past 12 months, a staggering 80% of IT professionals discovered shadow IoT devices connected to their network, and 29% found more than 20.

The report revealed that, in addition to the devices deployed by the IT team, organizations around the world have countless personal devices connecting to their network. The majority of enterprises (78%) have more than 1,000 devices connected to their corporate networks.

“There are more than 25 billion connected devices globally, and that number is increasing exponentially,” said Brad Bell, CIO of Infoblox.

“IoT devices empower us to live healthier lives, gain greater insight into the world around us, and improve the ways businesses operate. But they can also present a serious cybersecurity risk and create challenges for IT leaders in their efforts to maintain and protect their network.”

Threat to branch offices

89% of IT leaders were particularly concerned about shadow IoT devices connected to remote or branch locations of the business.

“As workforces evolve to include more remote and branch offices and enterprises continue to go through digital transformations, organizations need to focus on protecting their cloud-hosted services the same way in which they do at their main offices,” the report recommends.

“If not, enterprise IT teams will be left in the dark and unable to have visibility over what’s lurking on their networks.”

To manage the security threat posed by shadow IoT devices to the network, 89% of organizations have introduced a security policy for personal IoT devices. While most respondents believe these policies to be effective, levels of confidence range significantly across regions.

For example, 58% of IT professionals in the Netherlands feel their security policy for personal IoT devices is very effective, compared to just 34% of respondents in Spain.

“As the complexity of networks continues to increase, IT teams will need to leverage solutions that help simplify networking procedures and make it easier to identify and track the security policies of devices connected to their network,” continued Bell.

“If IT managers want to address the challenge posed by shadow IoT devices, they will need to find ways to bring them into the light.”

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