Commentary

IoT May Be Security Sensitive

According to a new report, “IoT Today and Tomorrow,” from Enterprise.nxt (Insights and resources to help IT pros shape the future of business) only 16% of business leaders projected a large profit gain from their IoT investment. Yet post-adoption, 32% of executives realized those gains.

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The Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company) sponsored study  of 3,100 business and IT decision-makers across 20 countries, found that in 2019, 85% of businesses will implement an IoT strategy, driven by the need for innovation and business efficiency.

Technology visionary Kevin Ashton, who coined the term IoT, defines it this way, says the report: "The Internet of Things means sensors connected to the Internet and behaving in an Internet-like way… making open, ad hoc connections, sharing data freely, allowing unexpected applications, and creating a nervous system for the planet that enables computers to understand the things in the world around them."

Many organizations are catching on. But, says the report, many IT and business leaders lack an understanding of what IoT is and how it could impact their organization. They just don’t know how they can benefit, what the ROI might be, and how IoT can transform their business.

According to the report, IoT is having a real-world impact on five industry sectors:   

  • Enterprise — smarter workplaces. 72% of enterprises have introduced IoT devices into the workplace. The predominant use case is remote monitoring of functions like energy usage; indoor location-based services is the second most promising use. 78% say IoT has improved the effectiveness of their IT team, and 75% say it has increased profitability.
  • Industrial — cutting risk and downtime. 62% have adopted IoT, and monitoring and maintenance is the most impactful implementation. 55% believe IoT will reduce operational risk; 44% believe it will cut downtime.
  • Healthcare — cutting costs and fostering innovation. 60% are using IoT; monitoring and maintenance is the No. 1 use. Approximately 80% say innovation has increased, and 73% report cost savings.
  • Retail — engaging customers with location technology. 49% of retailers are using IoT, and over 80% of IoT adopters confirm it has enhanced the customer experience. In-store location services are delivering personalized offers and product information to shoppers.
  • Municipalities — reducing costs. 42% of governments have deployed IoT, but 35% of executives have little to no understanding of IoT, putting them behind other sectors. Monitoring and maintenance are the dominant use case. Even though 49% say they are struggling with legacy technology, 71% report improved visibility across their organization.

Despite these impressive findings, there is plenty of room for improvement. While 98% of organizations that have adopted IoT claim to be able to analyze data, 97% of these businesses report that they are not extracting and analyzing data within corporate networks, and using those insights to improve business decisions. And a troubling statistic: 84% of respondents have had an IoT-related security breach.

For IoT to deliver on its promise security will have to get better. As far as IoT security is concerned, there needs to be a change in mindset. For a long time, IT security focused on the user. Now, the focus must be on things.

The report notes that good devices can go bad, and some devices are bad to begin with. A device might connect innocently enough, but, over time, that device could become corrupted. And, policies are also very important. For example, are printers connected to the Internet and allowed access to financial information? Preventive measures are necessary, says the report, or the organization could be exposed to a catastrophic data breach.

It isn't often that results significantly exceed expectations, concludes the report. IoT represents a new frontier that is full of both opportunities and risks, Those who can make the most of IoT will find themselves at a significant competitive advantage.

For additional information, please visit insights here 

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