While the Internet of Things is a relatively new technology, it has already delivered some exciting new developments, including light bulbs that change depending on your mood and refrigerators that can talk with your smartphone.
The IoT also promises to bring a variety of business benefits along with it, including increased efficiency across industries, cost savings in healthcare, safer infrastructure and more convenience in the home. Along with all of the advantages, however, the interconnectedness of the IoT brings real challenges for information security at all levels.
EWEEK recently reported on a cybersecurity industry study that found 63 percent of IT professionals believe the IoT poses real security threats to their organizations. According to PCWorld, a separate report discovered that 70 percent of people are at least somewhat concerned about sensitive data being exposed as a result of an IoT device being breached.
Despite the fear of security risks, eWEEK reported that 90 percent of IT professionals surveyed said they were either planning to or had already implemented various solutions to prepare their networks for IoT connectivity. According to PCWorld, analysts at Gartner believe there will be 26 billion devices connected to the IoT by 2020, while Cisco estimates there will be as many as 50 billion things during that same time period.
The Internet of Things presents a variety of security issues because while current Internet security objectives deal with providing human users with access options, there are no human users in the IoT, meaning security objectives must be shifted to making reliable access decisions without human assistance.
Because of the IoT's vast global presence, conventional safeguards become less effective. The dispersed nature of the IoT causes threats to privacy and the risk of extortion becomes much more subtle, but they can also be more damaging due to the highly-connected nature of the technology and all of the personal information stored within connected devices.
Luckily, there are defense options for companies looking to implement the IoT into their offices. First, existing trust models have been proven to be effective at securing large-scale information environments and reliably defending against IoT-related threats.
Second, networks can be secured by leveraging device certificates, ensuring that only authorized applications, payment cards, devices, servers and appliances can access connected systems. Third, because the required security management skills are so scarce in most enterprises, a cloud approach is the most reliable option to protecting sensitive systems.
Entrust's latest infographic, "Practical Security for the Internet of Things," outlines the current IoT landscape -- from cause and concern to challenges and solutions.