Cyber crime is rising year on year. Every day, companies are attacked by hackers who, in most cases, are looking to steal data. For identity thieves, the more personal information they can unearth on a person, the more money they can make on the black market.
Today’s hyper-connectivity makes access to this kind of information and the sharing of it easier than ever. And as physical objects embedded with information-sharing technology become ubiquitous, businesses face increased vulnerability to cyber attacks.
The Internet of Things revolution
The IoT is transforming how we interact with objects and services, allowing motorists to report accident information via dashboard cameras, patients to monitor their own health and businesses to control their building’s security.
Smartphone apps now allow homeowners to remotely control their heating, security and home entertainment systems; fitness fans can now custom-fit their footwear on the move, with motion-tracking sensors on shoes that can lace themselves.
Looking ahead, tech experts predict a world of self-driving cars; cities that use big data for smarter, more agile urban planning; and a rise in faster, less expensive manufacturing of the sensors and circuits required for IoT (due to the increased commercial viability of 3-D printing).
For organizations, the abundance of data from IoT provides an opportunity to improve customer experiences and depth of customer engagement.
Smart objects as smart weapons?
Identity theft and hacking could be just the tip of the iceberg. More IoT-specific security concerns include criminals taking control of smart objects and using their physical functions to do harm — an alarming prospect when it comes to driverless cars, for example.
Privacy and data protection could also be compromised as IoT devices potentially make monitoring — both legitimate and clandestine — of businesses or individuals much easier.
Cloud computing provides a platform for IoT to flourish, with much of the data stored on cloud services. However, organizations can discover that their cloud provider’s standards of security are not sufficient.
Three questions you should be asking your information security team
While the IoT offers consumers convenience, and provides businesses with vast amounts of data on customer habits, it also means that companies need to broaden the scope of their risk management to include all connected devices. Those devices that interact with your products must have robust built-in security.
Our Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things report has identified some key questions that every organization should ask about its cyber resilience:
- What measures are in place to defend against a cyber attack or data theft as information flows across the IoT?
- Do you have an incident response team in place to ensure your business continues to hit its objectives if a cyber attack happens?
- Are the organizations that connect with you — especially your suppliers — operating in a fully compliant way with your data protection policies?
In the era of connected data, robust cybersecurity is more crucial than ever.