Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and may not reflect the official policy or position of Excelsior College. Excelsior makes no claim regarding the suitability of the content for all audiences.
The rise of the Internet of Things is one of the most exciting developments in the realm of IT. With the IoT’s unprecedented degree of interconnectivity, organizations in every sector can potentially gain a much better, more data-based understanding of their own operations, their consumers and more. Companies clearly understand this value and are eager to take advantage – a recent IDC report estimated that the global IoT market will reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, up from $656 billion last year.
As businesses rapidly increase their focus on IoT, it’s imperative for leaders to ensure that cybersecurity remains a priority. The IoT presents tremendous computer security challenges, and only an intense focus on cyber safety can ensure that organizations remain protected while taking advantage of these resources.
“The IoT creates exponentially more end-points than earlier networks.”
An IT shift
As CIO recently asserted, the IoT demands a shift in how companies approach cybersecurity. The primary issue is the simple fact that the IoT creates exponentially more end-points than earlier networks. The source quoted Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, who estimated that there will be 25 billion interconnected devices by the end of this year, and 50 billion by 2020.
Cyber attackers will undoubtedly look for ways to use these connections as a means of gaining access to companies’ networks.
“In particular, expect [the Internet of Things] to challenge your conception of cybersecurity and your ability to deliver it in IoT-enabled digital networks, your commercial operations and your partner ecosystems,” wrote Christopher Rezendes and David Stephenson in the Harvard Business Review. “Paradoxically, the very principle that makes the IoT so powerful – the potential to share data instantly with everyone and everything (every authorized entity, that is) – creates a huge cyber security threat.”
Consequently, businesses must proactively recognize these incoming threats and take preventative steps to limit their vulnerabilities. The authors compared this trend to the shift that accompanied the rise of the bring-your-own-device trend, which also greatly increased data access throughout the organization and necessitated more robust security outside the IT department. Similarly, the IoT will demand cybersecurity policies and tools that account for a wider range of potential attacks, as well as the risk of inadvertent insiders to cause breaches.
Obviously, developing measures that adequately account for the IoT’s rise will be a difficult task. Companies need to focus on both finding the right tools and implementing them effectively. The relative newness of the IoT and its relationship to cybersecurity makes this matter even more fraught.
That is why skilled, experienced cybersecurity personnel will prove essential for any organization looking to leverage the IoT in the coming years. Companies will need to hire and retain computer security experts who understand the IoT and can develop creative, comprehensive strategies for warding off upcoming cyber threats.
This presents a huge opportunity for cybersecurity professionals. Firms in every sector will not be able to resist embracing the IoT if they want to remain competitive, and they will therefore need to hire more cybersecurity experts to remain safe.
To learn more about Excelsior College’s cybersecurity educational offerings, click here.