Once in awhile some new use of technology comes along that takes the world at large by storm. Email, YouTube, cell phones — sometimes it's just that big. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is one such new use. If you're unclear on the definition of IoT, check out this post first. If you're clear, and just want to understand how this shift will impact both society and your business, read on.
According to Gartner, not only will worldwide spending on IoT security reach $547 million in 2018, but that spending will also be easily justified: by 2020, more than 25 percent of identified attacks in enterprises will involve IoT. So it's obvious that your business should be aware of the possible consequences of ignoring this major addition to your security ecosystem. But what do you need to know?
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The Real Impact of IoT Sensors
The possible impact of the Internet of Things has yet to be discovered. But we have some information that could help you better understand the possibilities.
1. Added efficiency and added complexity
One important thing to keep in mind about IoT devices is that they often come with added efficiencies. That not only applies to the device itself, but potentially also to your home or business network.
Usually, an IoT device you'd use for business serves a function that improves the performance or the feature set of a prior technology, explains Jennifer Allen, Twinstate's Red Team manager. But that added layer of efficiency can also come with an added layer of complexity, Allen says. An embedded IoT device may increase the difficulty of integrating security infrastructure with that device. That means there is more responsibility on your end to do your homework.
There isn't any current regulatory compliance standard for the IoT or IoT devices. With the diversity of devices and the lack of compliance regulations, the onus is on you, not the vendor or manufacturer, to make the right decisions about what to integrate and how. Allen notes that regulation will likely soon begin to take shape in high-risk industries, such as automotive, government, financial and health care. If you're not in one of those industries, and are just a person who wants a bluetooth-connected toy for your kid, what do you do?
Suggested Read: Business Implications of IoT and IoE
2. Consumer demand will create standards, later
"The real long-term pain of the IoT exists in end consumer and home devices," says Allen. "Those tend to be designed in the least expensive way possible. They're lower risk in and of themselves, based on functionality."
That means that people likely don't think about the other risks these devices can carry, such as entry to their home network, or the ability to begin to use that network as part of a botnet.
"Most consumers don't know how to pressure vendors for better manufacturing standards," Allen says. "So those high-risk industries will change over to regulated soon, but the seemingly lower risk ones are bent on consumer pressure. That could take a while."
3. In business, balance and risk assessment are priorities
"Organizations need to recognize that smart devices are the future of any market," says Allen.
They'll add functionality and automation, and you, as a leader, should embrace that idea in order to maintain a competitive stance in your industry. A competitive posture requires the latest and greatest tech on your side. On the other hand, though, you need to know not to trust manufacturers to create secure technologies.
It's up to you to educate yourself on the basics of the tech and on changes in IoT device regulations. That way, when you make decisions about integrating smart tech with your day-to-day products and services, that decision can come from the top. Leadership will need to know this transition is necessary, even with all of the risks that come with unpredictability.
A top-down approach demands that you understand consequences and benefits from a process standpoint. How can integration help your business? How can interruption impact your bottom line? If the executives of your company devote themselves to grasping the full implications of every device that enters the organization, the transition to IoT sensor use will be much more successful.
The Internet of Things involves all of us. The devices we use, from our cars to our toaster ovens, can now be connected to a network at all times. That means we have a responsibility: becoming connected means becoming vulnerable, and, in some cases, even inadvertently causing new vulnerabilities in others. So consider all the possible benefits and consequences of your new devices. Think about the added convenience vs. the inherent risks. Think about what you can do to minimize the risk and maximize the convenience. Then decide if the device is right for you. Careful attention is the one factor that will help us all keep our collective networks secure.
Originally published on 12/16/2016