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iot testing (4)

Introduction   

Over the years, there has been an extensive shift of digitalization that has called for new concepts and new technologies. Especially when it comes to improving human life and reducing effort in routine tasks, one thing that has gained immense popularity is the very idea of IoT.   

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects (vehicles, devices, buildings, and other items) embedded with software sensors, electronics, and network connectivity to collect and exchange data. It is the network of those inter-connected objects or smart devices that can exchange information using a method of agreement and data schema.    

According to Statista, the total installed base of IoT (Internet of Things) connected devices worldwide estimated to reach 30.9 billion units by 2025, a significant increase from the 13.8 billion units anticipated in 2021.    

Common Challenges in IoT    

Do you know how IoT works? Well, IoT devices are capable of providing automated facilities because they have inbuilt sensors and mini-computer processors, in which sensors collect the data with the help of machine learning. But unfortunately, these devices are connected to the internet and are more vulnerable to hacking and malware.    

Nevertheless, we are living in the digital world where your car will soon be a better driver than you, and your smart security systems will provide:  

  • Better protection to your residence,   
  • Your Industries,   
  • and your commercial places against damage and theft.  

Your smart refrigerators will better communicate with the internet. It will be more responsible for ordering your grocery items. All these miracles can happen with automation and the advancements of embedded systems into the Internet of Things.    

However, improving the performance and quality of such systems is a significant challenge because IoT devices generate a large variety and volume of data that are difficult to test if the IoT testing service provider that you’ve hired for testing doesn’t have the best resources, tools, test environments, and test methods to ensure the quality, performance, speed, and scalability of such systems. Consequently, IoT testing services are the key to ensuring flawless performance and functionality of your IoT systems.   

As long as it comes to testing of IoT devices, organizations face severe challenges that you can discover below:   

Testing Across Several Cloud IoT Platforms    

Every IoT device has its own hardware, and this device is dependent on software to operate it. When it comes to integration, IoT devices require application software to run commands to the devices and analyze data collected by the devices. Also, each device comes with different operating systems, versions, firmware, hardware, and software, which may not be possible to test with various combinations of devices.    

Before conducting testing on IoT devices, one needs to collect information from the end-users about which software they’re using to run the IoT devices. One of the most widely used cloud IoT platforms that assist in connecting different components of the IoT value chain is IBM Watson, Azure IoT, and AWS, among others. To run IoT devices across all cloud IoT platforms, it is necessary to consider the experienced IoT testing service provider or experts from the software testing company, mainly those who are well-versed in the testing of cloud IoT platforms and can ensure their practical usability.    

One should know about an IoT environment and understand how devices generate data with a wide variety, velocity, and veracity. Make sure IoT devices produce the data into a structured or unstructured form and then send the enormous amounts of data to the cloud. If you plan to get IoT testing services, you need to test your IoT application across various platforms. Testing should be performed in a real-time environment. If the device often introduces firmware updates or new version upgrades, it is crucial to perform specific testing by keeping all such factors in mind.    

Data Security Threats    

The volume of data gathered and communicated by connected devices is enormous. The higher amount of data generated by devices, the higher number of data leaks or any other risks your system can experience from outside entries.    

Testing of IoT devices is vital from the best IoT testing service provider. Otherwise, your IoT device can become vulnerable to security threats. With QA experts or IoT testing services, you can quickly identify security bottlenecks from the system and address them early as possible.    

When performing IoT testing, it is necessary to test credentials, passwords, and data interface to ensure that there are no risks for security breaches. Today, IoT engineers implement layered security, and with this process, they can get multiple levels of protection for the system and prevent the system from potential attacks or data leaks.  

 Too Many IoT Communication Protocols    

Nowadays, IoT devices use several distinct communication protocols from Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and common Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) to interact with controllers and with each other.    

But the most popular protocol that ensures the IoT device will communicate and perform well even in high latency and low bandwidth situations is MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT).  

However, due to the popularity of MQTT, it is crucial to ensure the security of this protocol as it is open to attacks and doesn’t provide excellent protection beyond the Transmission Control Protocol layer. Therefore, one should hire a diligent IoT testing service provider to assure that testing will perform rigorously. In addition, it ensures that the communication between controllers and disparate devices will happen more reliably and safely.    

Lack of Standardization    

Due to the increasing number of connected devices, it becomes imperative to improve the standardization of an IoT system in different levels: platforms, standard business models, connectivity, and application.    

Standardization for each IoT device should be uniformed while testing. Otherwise, your users can face severe problems at the time of connecting IoT devices with different systems.    

For this, the IoT testing service provider should have detailed expertise in performing connected device testing based on the intended use or use case of the system. Also, there should be a uniform standardization for all levels of IoT systems before providing quality-based IoT products to end-users.    

Conclusion    

IoT testing approach can vary based on the architecture or system involved. Therefore, businesses should focus more on reliable IoT testing services and allow testers to focus more on the Test-As-a-User (TAAS) approach instead of testing based on the requirements.   

Always choose the trustworthy IoT testing service provider for integration testing of IoT systems. One should have a comprehensive strategy to discover the bugs in the system through integration testing.   

Numerous challenges occur while implementing IoT testing, but it is an exciting job if the testing service provider is ready to offer you end-to-end functional and non-functional validation services for different implementations.    

The company should be certified to test IoT connected devices with a complicated mesh of devices, hardware, protocols, operating systems, firmware, etc. In addition, they should have industry best practices with IoT testing tools to address challenges that you face every day while using IoT systems.    

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IoT security testing should comprise activities like checking for endpoints, authentication, encryption, firewalls, and compliance requirements. The testing helps the IoT ecosystem to function safely and prevent incidences of a data breach.

The Internet of Things or IoT has swept the realm of technology and become mainstream as far as automation is concerned. Its popularity is attributable to features such as communication between machines, easy usage, and the integration of various devices, enabling technologies, and protocols.

When one talks about smart cities, smart transport, smart healthcare, or smart homes, the role of IoT is paramount.  According to Gartner, the number of connected things courtesy IoT is projected to reach 20.8 billion by 2020. Since IoT is about connected products that communicate with each other and share a huge volume of data, it is vulnerable to security breaches. With greater digitization and a rush towards delivering smart devices to add more comfort to people’s lives, businesses may end up keeping their flanks uncovered. The threats related to cybersecurity, besides threatening the smooth functioning of the digital ecosystem, are putting a question mark on the implementation of the IoT ecosystem.

The future is likely to be driven by smart systems with IoT at their core. Since such systems will witness a huge exchange of data, their security needs to be ensured. Also, as the smooth functioning of such smart systems will hinge on the accuracy and integrity of data, enabling IoT security at every step of the way should be the norm. If statistics are to be believed then around 84% of companies adopting IoT have reported security breaches of some kind (Source: Stoodnt.com.) The resident vulnerabilities in such systems are exploited by cybercriminals to exhibit malicious behavior such as committing credit card theft, phishing and spamming, distributed denial of service attacks, and malware distribution, among others.

How to conduct IoT security testing effectively

The security implications of a vulnerable or broken IoT system can be catastrophic for individuals, businesses, and entities. The devices and the transfer of data within them should be monitored by the implementing agency to check for a data breach. The best ways to conduct IoT security is as follow:

  • Checking of endpoints: As more devices or endpoints are added to expand the network, more vulnerabilities are created. Since IoT systems are built using devices of different configurations, computing and storage power, and running on different versions and types of operating systems, every such device should be evaluated for safety. An inventory of such devices should be made and tracked.
  • Authentication: Care should be taken that the vendor-supplied default passwords for specific systems should be dealt with at the beginning. If not, these can be exploited by hackers to take control of the IoT ecosystem and wreak havoc. Moreover, every device in the IoT system should be authenticated before being plugged into the network. This should be made an integral part of the internet of things testing.
  • Firewalls: The firewall present in the network should be tested for its capability of filtering specific data range and controlling traffic. Also, data aimed at terminating the device to ensure its optimal performance should be tested.
  • Encryption: Since IoT systems transmit data among themselves they should be encrypted for safety. During testing IoT applications the encryption approach and nitty-gritty should be thoroughly checked and validated. If not, then while relaying the location of assets in the IoT system, the information can be easily read by a hacker.
  • Compliance: Mere testing of IoT devices is not complete unless compliance with standards like FCC and ETSI/CE is carried out. These regulations and standards have been instituted to validate the performance of the IoT devices based on certain parameters. So, any IoT testing approach should take into account compliance with such regulations.

Why IoT systems should undergo security testing?

The smart devices forming part of the IoT system need to undergo IoT testing (security) to:

  • Prevent data theft: The unsecured endpoints within the system can leave a trail for hackers to strike but for the IoT device testing solutions. The vulnerabilities can be used to break into the controlling mechanism of the system in order to launch more malicious forms of attacks.
  • Protect brand equity: When scores of companies are competing with each other to get a pie of the IoT market, a security breach or malware attack can put a brand in jeopardy. With IoT penetration testing, such attacks can be pre-empted with the elimination of vulnerabilities and glitches.

Conclusion

The IoT ecosystem is projected to grow at a humongous pace and scale. Technology companies having an integrated IoT security testing approach are likely to earn a huge chunk of the pie. The approach when executed at regular intervals should be able to help enterprises achieve growth across domains.

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