In an increasingly connected world, the Internet of Things (IoT) is delivering business value and real-world benefits to individuals across the globe. From increasing physical safety to creating fundamental changes to how we build and consume products, the IoT is creating the data that unearths insights into better ways to work and live. Deploying IoT solutions effectively and successfully, however, means deploying them securely, fully aware of the need to provide data integrity and confidentiality as well as being resilient to cybersecurity risks.
We live in a world of connected devices, an Internet of Things. From the tablets on our coffee tables, to the electricity meters on our walls, to industrial control systems and smart building technology – it’s a world that’s full of opportunity. New organizations and services based on IoT and data analytics are constantly evolving, and established firms are adapting to new data-driven business models that drive efficiency and innovation for themselves and their customers.
In markets as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing, transport and the construction of smart buildings and smart cities, the IoT is enabling the development of products and services that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
Yet many businesses are still reluctant to adopt an IoT strategy and embrace the benefits. Concerns around how to implement a secure infrastructure and manage the associated costs, as well as reputational damage from recent high-profile cases of IoT hacking and data breaches, are holding back investment – leaving companies at risk of being out-competed by those who are moving ahead.
At the same time, end-users are increasingly aware of the consequences of poor security, and concerns about the level of digital protection offered by IoT innovations are growing - which could put people off new services. These concerns that could dangerously make them turn their back from new, convenient services. Already, research commissioned by Gemalto suggests that 90% of consumers lack confidence in the security of IoT devices.
These concerns are understandable. IoT solutions have to be well managed and care must be taken to design security into every single part of the whole. As more and more systems are connected together via the IoT, weak security in just one part can end up jeopardising the whole.
There is an intrinsic relationship between IoT technologies and the digital strategies followed by successful companies. While this goes by many names - the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, digital transformation - they all describe new, agile working models underpinned by data.
“Digital transformation is important for companies,” explains Steffen Sorrell, a Principal Analyst at Juniper Research. “And digital transformation is about becoming ‘digital first’ and data-driven. The IoT is ultimately the provider of that data. Myriad devices provide mountains of information that businesses can leverage, analyse and act on. The digital transformation of these businesses involves first of all connecting devices, and then implementing the proper analytics that enable that data to become useful information that can add value.”
We see instances of this in the headlines all the time, where attackers compromise one seemingly innocuous device and gain access to far more critical systems and databases. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a solid understanding of the fundamentals of IoT security and the right partnerships in place, risks can be mitigated and benefits gained.