Connected Is Expected: IoT Security Is Crucial

John Candish

IoT applications and services started out as a novelty—think LG’s Electronics Internet-enabled fridge in early 2000—but over the last few years, IoT has increasingly become part of modern life. People around the globe have come to rely on IoT to control their home, ensure efficient power usage, control the lights, and provide home security.

IoT is powering industry

Homeowners aren’t the only ones who have found that being connected is expected: Industry and businesses are also increasingly relying on IoT as a key component of their operations. Water companies have deployed remote sensors and IoT-controlled valves to ensure efficient supply. Farmers are using IoT to track livestock monitor agricultural inputs and yield. Construction sites are increasingly harnessing the abilities of IoT to both track equipment usage and plan maintenance, as well as ensure the safety of workers, with environmental monitors and remote alarm systems.

Public transport systems rely on IoT to ensure smooth operation, providing schedule updates for users and enabling predictive maintenance of vehicles. All of these areas have one thing in common: For devices to be connected has become expected. Just as we expect friends and family to be contactable on their mobile devices, we are increasingly relying on the connectivity of devices to enable our daily lives.

Securing connections

The need for IoT to be securely connected has some serious implications. For the novelty appliances of the early days, if connectivity failed or security device was breached, the implications were limited. For the vast majority of IoT devices today, however, this is no longer the case. A failure in connectivity or security has big and costly implications.

An interrupted water supply, an avoidable construction accident, or an urban transportation infrastructure in chaos—connectivity and security of IoT devices is fundamental to prevent such issues. Too often, connectivity is something that is put in place and forgotten.

Organizations now need to revisit both existing connectivity and future planned services and ask these questions:

  1. Is my connectivity resilient, or am I dependent on a single network or service?
  2. How will I manage IoT connectivity over the 10-20 year lifespan of a device?
  3. Can I see at any time which of my devices are connected, and by what means?
  4. Do I know that my IoT devices can and are only communicating with the intended systems?

In order to secure the future, IoT must secure the present.

For more on the future of IoT, see Internet of Things Can’t Connect The Next Billion Until We Reinvent Mobile.

This article originally appeared on The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.

About John Candish

John Candish leads the global business for SAP IoT Connect 365 for the SAP Digital Interconnect organization His goal is to make connecting IoT devices globally simpler for all enterprises. John has worked in both technical and commercial roles. Prior to his current position, John headed the global business for SAP IPX 365 mobile service for SAP Digital Interconnect.