Are You Prepared for the Security Challenges of the Internet of Things?

Sue Marquette Poremba
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How the Internet of Things Will Change Our Lives

The Internet of Things is moving into an office near you. Maybe even into your office. Are you ready for the security challenge?

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 26 billion devices will make up the Internet of Things (IoT) and be connected to a corporate network. That doesn’t include the devices that we typically associate with Internet connections, like computers, smartphones and tablets.

However, according to a new study by GFI Software, IT departments and security staff are worried about what the IoT explosion will do to the network, particularly the potential (probable?) increase of security threats via these new connections. As Information Age stated:

[The] spike in connected devices will create billions of new unsecured endpoints that will in turn produce new vectors of attack designed to either compromise the device or gain access to the infrastructure.

However, IT staff aren’t doing much of anything to prepare for this massive security and connection challenge. A study by Spiceworks found that while IT professionals expect IoT to make an impact on the workplace, little is being done about it, as PC Magazine pointed out:

But while 71 percent of IT professionals surveyed said they believe the IoT will "affect both consumers and the workplace," some 59 percent were "not actively preparing for the impact it could have on their business," Spiceworks reported this week.

IoT is just the latest in what is a growing list of security challenges for businesses of all sizes, but especially SMBs, which are already working with limited security budgets and security expertise. And let’s be honest, companies are already struggling with the impact of BYOD and securing the many and varied endpoints that personal devices add to the network. During his keynote address at CEIC 2014, Joel Brenner referred to BYOD as Bring Your Own Disaster because of all the security problems. And now we’re adding IoT to the mix?

Right now, IoT isn’t widespread within the workplace – at least not at the levels of other security concerns like BYOD and cloud computing, but as Kathryn Pribish, voice of IT program manager at Spiceworks, was quoted in the PC Magazine story:

IT professionals understand the inevitability of the IoT but the reality is, though the impact will be gradual, resource-strained IT departments and others who haven't jumped on the IoT bandwagon will be playing catch-up if they don't adequately prepare.

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