Security lags as IoT moves from prototype to deployment

As IoT moves from prototype and proof-of-concept testing to production in enterprises, companies realize they don’t have a clue how to secure the devices now encroaching on traditional networks.

That’s one big takeaway from a report released last week from the research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) 2016.

According to IDC’s Global IoT Decision Maker Survey, the market is pivoting away from proof-of- concept projects to scalable Internet of Things (IoT) deployments that incorporate cloud, analytics and security capabilities.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • 31.4% of organizations have launched IoT solutions, with an additional 43% looking to deploy in the next 12 months.
  • 55% of respondents see IoT as strategic to their business as a means to compete more effectively.
  • While security, privacy and upfront/ongoing costs are top concerns for decision makers, lack of internal skills is a new, top concern for organizations looking to deploy an IoT solution.
  • Improving productivity, reducing costs and automating internal processes are seen as top benefits of an IoT solution. This highlights an internal and operational focus by organizations over the short term as opposed to external, customer-facing benefits.

The survey was conducted throughout July and August 2016 and consists of responses from more than 4,500 respondents within 25 countries worldwide and multiple vertical industries.

“Setting strategies, finding budgets, and supporting IoT solutions have contributed to an ongoing tussle between line of business executives (LOBs) and CIOs. However, that race may be over, because in many cases LOBs are now both leading the discussions and either paying in full or sharing the costs of IoT initiatives with the CIOs,” said Vernon Turner, SVP of enterprise systems and IDC Fellow for the Internet of Things.

The amount of risk this is going to create will be substantial. The research and technology consulting firm Gartner estimates that there will be roughly 21 billion IoT devices by 2020.

That’s a considerable number of devices that will be targeted for data theft, disruption and to even launch denial-of-service attacks. And these devices are vulnerable. IDC has predicted that 90 percent of networks will suffer an IOT-type breach.

There’s no easy way to fix the state of IoT security. But if you’re interested in what steps can and should be taken, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has a Top 10 list of IoT related security design and implementation errors [.pdf] . It’s an ideal place to start.


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