Potential minefields on the Internet of Things landscape

Potential minefields on the Internet of Things landscape
July 25, 2016  |  BY

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing fast. So fast, in fact, that Gartner predicts that we’ll have 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020.

All of these connections will improve efficiency and improves lives, for people in your neighborhood and businesses around the world. But with any innovation, especially something that has mass scale, the IoT’s amazing benefits come with potential security pitfalls.

Connectivity strength is a security weakness
The IoT is revolutionary since it connects nearly every kind of device, for nearly any kind of function. Yet because of this ability to connect, we produce more insecure locations with each new device added to the system.

The problem is with encryption, which is harder to get right on the myriad small devices that comprise the bulk of objects on the IoT. By their very nature, these devices are easier prey for hackers, making security an issue for individuals and entire networks.

Time-to-market is another concern. Companies are excited to be included in the IoT, and who can blame them? Not only is there the sheer thrill of innovating, they can also reap some major financial benefits. But by trying to get out of the gate as quickly as possible, security tends to be an afterthought that can leave back doors open to cyber thieves and hackers.

In this context, it’s easy to see how individuals can be vulnerable. However, we must also be aware of the dangers posed to the infrastructures of organizations and businesses.

More devices = more data = more vulnerability
Some issues come down to simple math. With all of those devices and all of the data being shared, there’s an exponential amount of insecure devices and potential data theft. That’s why all IoT data has to be secured to avoid issues like identify theft or the hacking of entire businesses. And that’s why, as we said earlier, IoT developers must account for security from the onset.

Unfortunately, the problem extends to IT departments of companies who use this new breed of network-connected devices; the problem isn’t isolated to entrepreneurs of IoT products. IT professionals have specific skills and may not be able to grasp the complexity of IoT, especially when it comes to data and privacy protection regulations.

We’re not trying to paint a doom and gloom picture of the IoT. Just the reverse, in fact. We believe strongly in the power of connected, smart devices and how they will transform our lives, improving health, safety, and prosperity for everyone.

The point is this: That because new technology inherently presents blind spots, we have to slow down and be responsible for what we create. And to be fully accountable, all parties involved in the IoT must start putting safety first.