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IoT Security: What is IoT SAFE and Why Does It Matter?

4 minute read

As the IoT industry continues to grow and evolve thanks to emerging technologies like 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and edge computing, so too does interest in IoT security among enterprises leveraging IoT solutions. In fact, 57% of enterprises indicate that the security of a solution is the key factor when choosing an IoT vendor — up from 53% in 2018 — according to a December 2020 report from GSMA.

Despite the importance of IoT security for enterprises, there is a shortage of universal standards for the authentication and authorisation of IoT devices. IoT SAFE (IoT SIM Applet For Secure End-to-End Communication) enables IoT device manufacturers and IoT service providers to use the SIM as a robust, scalable, and standardised hardware Root of Trust to protect IoT data communications.

What Is IoT SAFE?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines Root of Trust (RoT) as a highly reliable hardware, firmware, or software component that performs specific, critical security functions. “The SIM is best suited to function as the hardware Root of Trust in an IoT device as it has advanced security and cryptographic features and is a fully standardised secure element, enabling interoperability across different vendors and consistent use by IoT device makers,” according to GSMA.

IoT SAFE delivers a common procedure to secure IoT data communications with a reliable SIM, rather than using proprietary and possibly less secure hardware elements in the device, and is compatible with all SIM form factors, such as a standard SIM, eSIM, and iSIM.

Why Does It Matter for IoT Security?

IoT SAFE is a technology that makes it easier to deploy and operate an IoT solution that is secure, scalable, and manageable over time. It helps solve the challenge of provisioning millions of IoT devices across an ecosystem by enabling provisioning and credential lifecycle management from a remote IoT security service.

Benefits of IoT SAFE

GSMA lists several benefits of IoT SAFE in the whitepaper “IoT SAFE: Robust
IoT security at scale.” Some of the benefits of IoT SAFE are:

  • Improvement in the security of solution offered or reduction in device complexity
  • Provide secure, seamless cloud on-boarding with enterprise connectivity
  • Extended certificate lifecycle management
  • Zero-Touch provisioning
  • Value-add to SIM/eSIM platform
  • Portability, ease of deployment
  • Connectivity and protocol agnostic

Intelligent IoT Security Solutions

In addition to leveraging the SIM as a Root of Trust, to effectively secure IoT solutions and make certain that communication is restricted to trusted individuals or groups, it’s critical to have a granular view of device behaviour. KORE offers visibility that helps you keep a close eye on IoT traffic and makes it easier to manage devices, ensuring they perform efficiently.

Watch the webinar, "State of Cellular and the Future of IoT" to learn more about IoT SAFE.

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Topic(s): Security , Featured

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