Why IoT Security Will Always Matter
The launch of the Matter smart home connectivity standard brings renewed attention to the interconnections between smart devices. And it also triggers new questions for both device makers and users about IoT security.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance, the group behind the Matter standard, has said, “The time has come for the world to work cohesively to create the standards for IoT product security that will deliver on the promise of a more connected, secure, and productive world.”
Security has always been a critically important topic, and IoT has had a checkered history regarding security effectiveness. As we begin the Matter era, let’s look at what might change—and what remains constant—about IoT security and Ayla’s approach.
What Matter Affects, and What It Doesn’t
Although Matter is predicted to significantly impact the smart home market, it won’t fundamentally change the approach to IoT security.
This is largely because of the standard’s robust security characteristics. For instance, Matter supports several different ways for devices to authenticate with each other and to authorize different levels of access. In addition, the formal certification process for Matter limits discoverability and interoperation to proven Matter-compliant devices.
But security is only one piece of the larger smart home puzzle. The Matter standard does not address a number of other topics important to device manufacturers, including cloud connectivity, data analytics, mobile application development, or how to support non-Matter devices. Fortunately, the Ayla IoT platform addresses all these areas, and more.
Advantages of an IoT Platform for Smart Device Manufacturers
Device manufacturers must continue to focus on the management policies and processes outside the scope of the Matter specification.
A primary advantage of building connected devices on the Ayla IoT platform is that manufacturers can focus on adding value and differentiation to their products, rather than separately implementing the security, cloud connectivity, interoperability, integrations, and other factors already addressed by the Ayla platform.
For smart home device manufacturers interested in taking advantage of Matter, Ayla is adopting the Matter standard and partnering with Espressif Systems to include Ayla’s software on Espressif’s Matter-compliant chipsets and modules.
By building smart home products on the Ayla IoT platform, device manufacturers can gain automatic access to a number of security features and best practices necessary to keep data private and secure.
Ayla Offers an “Easy Button” for Matter, and Beyond
There are many ways for smart home device manufacturers to be smart about the Matter standard. One area of concern is the possibility of end users inadvertently opening their connected devices to security breaches.
This concern does not stem from the Matter protocol’s security capabilities, which confer sufficient control over what devices in the home network are allowed to see or change. For example, Matter protects against friends invited onto a home network from being able to eavesdrop on or tamper with the network owner’s Matter devices. But the standard does not limit how end users choose to join a Matter-compliant device to the home network, or security between smart devices and the internet. That’s an example of where the Ayla IoT platform becomes quite valuable.
In designing their smart devices, manufacturers must consider how to ensure that end users will implement security policies beyond the control of devices once connected to their home network. How will manufacturers enforce policies that protect devices and their cloud services when they communicate over the internet so that, for instance, someone can’t use the internet to join a user’s home network and unlock their front door?
This is the level at which Ayla makes it easy for device manufacturers to protect users from themselves. Manufacturers that build their smart devices on the Ayla IoT platform can be confident that their firmware is implemented correctly and that they can control what information is stored on the device itself.
Ayla reviews designs by manufacturers on our IoT platform. For example, our platform restricts how much personal information a device can store. At the same time, however, manufacturers can and should make user data-protecting security measures the default settings of their smart devices.
The promise of Matter for easy smart home interconnectivity is exciting. As this new era begins, it’s important that everyone involved—device manufacturers, users, and platform providers like Ayla—do everything possible to make sure the Matter experience remains secure as well as satisfying.
Learn more about how the Ayla IoT platform, built with security from the ground up, provides device manufacturers, developers, and retailers with an end-to-end solution to quickly create competitively distinctive smart home products