Ensuring cybersecurity resilience in an ultra-connected world
The development of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), the cloud and big data have enabled devices that started out as unbelievable concepts to become a reality. From a consumer standpoint, these ever-increasing trends are often taken for granted as people become accustomed to smart devices becoming more commonplace in all aspects of our everyday lives across all industries – a trend that will only continue to grow. According to Cisco IBSG, the number of connected devices will reach 50 billion by 2020, while IDG expects that 89% of enterprises will have plans to adopt or have already adopted digital technologies to create or modify business processes to meet the changing business and market requirements by the same year. This reimagining of business in the digital age is known as digital transformation. On face value, this is an impressive industry development. However, with the freedom to access the Internet comes serious cybersecurity threats. Having a competitive edge in service offering or innovation will not bring much success if there is a cyberattack on the business due to a small IoT device not being secure. It is these devices that are often forgotten but are the easiest for hackers to use to access the whole network. With this in mind, businesses need to learn more about IoT, including both benefits and the concerns, and change the way they protect their data and assets. Leaving the front door wide open is like inviting a criminal into your home – you just wouldn’t do it – yet that is essentially what happens when IoT devices are not secure as hackers are granted access to everything.
Denouncing IoT cybersecurity myths
Advances in the industry and the lack of understanding from businesses have made cybersecurity a much larger threat. Concerns around security are often limited to protecting sensitive information, with a common misconception that only devices that contain the information need to be secure. Many devices that are connected to the Internet are also connected to each other. Any person with control of one or more of these devices can potentially access numerous computers and networks. The amalgamation of these misconceptions is extremely dangerous. IoT devices can be used to reach bigger targets if they don’t have meaningful cybersecurity measures. For example, hackers have previously retrieved the information of ‘high-roller’ players in a casino by gaining access to the network through a connected fish tank thermometer. Similarly, a bank has had its security breached via access to CCTV. This risk is heightened as companies also look to install the most cost-effective equipment, further opening up the possible number of devices to attack.
It is important to recognize that all IoT devices, no matter their face value, must be protected. It is not necessary for manufacturers to spend the same on installing security as a Government department would, but it is essential...