The Internet of Things: Connectivity Needs Security

Like it or not, the Internet of Things (IoT) has already infiltrated many ways in which we live and work today.

And with experts predicting as many as 30 billion connected devices worldwide within the next three years, the desire for the networked life can only gain impetus and society’s acceptance.

Our adoption of the Internet of Things continues to accelerate. And with it the importance we place in the experiences – both personal and public – it enables. We want the functionality and benefits of IoT devices and services such as remotely controlled central heating.

But on the flip side, we need confidence the collection, storage and exchange of our data not only brings ‘value adding’ new services but does so while protecting our information. Because this level of integration into daily lives means an increased threat to security and privacy. Put starkly, the trade off to ‘life enhancement’ is potential vulnerability and exploitation.

So we, quite rightly, expect to know where, when, how and with whom our data is used. However, with IoT so ingrained and the value to us so high, how many of us would readily disconnect despite the associated risk?

What does the Internet of Things mean for organisations?

It’s no surprise that across all industries IoT has become a major business priority. A vital technological investment with huge potential to generate revenue growth and increase productivity.

Viewed as any simple business deal, the approval and uptake of IoT is inherent in the value it offers. And this value is generated by exchanges of data. Organisations looking to provide (and boost adoption of) their IoT services will need to build trust and confidence with customers. Those that succeed will gain significant competitive advantage over those who don’t.

1) Transparency
Organisations that establish and share a clear concise data policy detailing how they will use and secure data, and how this helps to improve customer experience, will ultimately improve their brand reputation. With the probability of gaining even more valuable ‘customer insight’.

2) Control
Organisations should carefully define processes to determine who gets which data, when and where. For example: some data – like usage – could go to a public cloud for the purposes of big data analysis of customer trends. However, a specific customer’s medical data should only be shared with a healthcare provider, if they have given explicit consent.

3) Accountability
From device manufacturers to security software sellers and beyond: everybody involved in the delivery of an IoT service/solution plays a part in security. This can be challenging but security should be considered fundamental to the IoT’s growth and integrated from the beginning. Consequently, organisations must define minimum security standards and requirements. And critically, make all providers involved in the IoT value chain accountable.

Conclusion

Commercial gain aside, on-boarding our confidence that these new services can be delivered in a way that respects and protects data and enhances our lives will drive mainstream adoption and help the IoT to thrive to the benefit of all.

In support of this, organisations will need networks that are capable of delivering the increasing security requirements. For all its connected devices. Working with a range of leading security partners, we can help you minimise the risk to your organisation by designing and building better, more protective systems for the future.