Cellular modems are considered major equipment in the industrial and manufacturing industry. With these special modems, analog (telephone) signals are modulated and transmitted, used as a primary phone/data communication medium using cellular networks. The modems allow either personal or individual smartphones/tablets/computer devices or a router set up to receive wireless internet access using a mobile broadband connection. This is why cellular modems are also called wireless modems.
WIth IoT modems, however, wireless data receivers (devices) receive data from remote sensors. The data are then forwarded to a different communication format or device through Bluetooth or other communication technology. Generally, IoT modems transfer data bytes with different input and output data formats.
There are various kinds of cellular modems in IoT, as it’s usually a system and infrastructure set up to facilitate certain and specific objectives. With cellular modems, factories, plants, as well as other facilities in the manufacturing and industrial industry has witnessed the benefit of:
- Global Reach
- Big Data Collection and Analysis
Yes, time and geographic location are no longer an issue with cellular modems in IoT. However everything good… comes with a price.
We’ve all heard about security breaches and flaws. This has caused countless companies in the world to lose millions and billions of dollars. The problem could be anywhere within the modem infrastructure, and you will get hacked and breached. Even one of the best network operators in the world can lose to this cause.
Malicious activities are inevitable, the reason for this is no longer due to individually targeted attacks but instead, mass and public viruses, malware, and bugs on various sites and internet resources.
Truth is, there are no security standards for the internet of things, but if you do things the right way, the probability of preventing such unfortunate mishaps is proven to be significantly higher.
Manufacturing processes are supposed to be seamless. It contains a lot of data and information that may include but is not limited to personal information of customers, suppliers, partners, employees, executives, and even a strategic blueprint that is generating the company revenue.
Poor security measures will result in high losses and long-term recovery. Therefore it’s essential to ensure your cellular modems are secured from the very beginning and throughout the whole process.
APN (Access Point Names)
An APN is a gateway connection between a GSM (Global System For Mobile Communication), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), mobile network (3G and 4G) as well as other computer networks. A device will not be able to connect to the internet without an APN. This setting allows calls, SMS, MMS, and data connection, but is often easily compromised. A private APN is required for a private company as it offers more security than a public APN.
With a private APN, only the team members of an organization are authorized to use the system or access the cellular modem. Having your own corporate network allows:
- Data tracking and recording internally
- Safer route of communication
- Privacy from outside of the organization
A corporate network with a private APN prevents outside intrusions/hacking and levels out the access of public IPs at the modem.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
VPNs are easily accessible nowadays through a simple extension download. And most of the time, the reason it is used is to access sites that are out of either a network operators’ provision or a certain geographic range.
However, the actual purpose of a VPN is actually to hide online activities.
VPNs are a good defense medium against hackers and spies on public networks. It also helps you hide your IP address, browsing activity, and personal data from other public networks such as WIFI.
Usual VPN extensions can be turned on and off for basic daily use. However, will a corporate network, a private VPN should be on at all times to protect all information within the company from data leads or cyberattacks.
With a corporate custom VPN, the authorized organization members can access a secure end-to-end encrypted connection. The IoT infrastructure usually includes a cloud resource on a company network to make all communication smooth and seamless. Remote, and real-time.
A VPN allows all data to be sent through the encrypted pathway – a VPN tunnel.
How To Monitor Data Usage In Corporate Network – Cellular Modem
Precise and continuous monitoring of data traffic can allow you to identify suspicious actions immediately and take the necessary precautions or solutions to stop them.
There are two ways you can ensure the security of your devices or corporate modem with the help of passwords:
- Use a strong password instead of a default one.
Keeping default passwords increases the risks of hacks and/or malware. If your password goes like this:
- 000000 (Repetitive numbers)
Then you should change it ASAP. According to sources, there is a list of over 200 common passwords that are easily hacked. And yours could be one of them.
- Change the passwords regularly.
Ensure that only a limited amount of people know them, and remember to take the actionable legal precautions by updating the agreement policies with your employees or organization members.
In conclusion, manufacturing or industrial companies require and have plenty of data and information that powers, protects, connects, equips, and even automates every single system. This is worth millions and billions of dollars. With the fourth industrial revolution on the go, cybersecurity may no longer be an option, but instead, a safety requirement. Cellular modems in IoT can be safe, secure, and beneficial.
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Article inspired from Opengear, Digi, NCD, IoTforall, and Laird.