Managing The Intersection Of Cyber Security And IoT

They’re two of the biggest terms in the IT industry at this moment, and it looks like they won’t lose steam any time soon: cyber security and Internet of Things (IoT).

The question is, how do they interact, and what do IT professionals need to know about their impending intersection?

It begins with an understanding of each. The Internet of Things is essentially the attempt to connect anything with an on/off switch to the Internet. That, inherently, comes with a need to secure each and every device and the networks they use.

While security experts have long warned of the rising threats to business continuity in the IoT era, many were shocked by last fall’s widespread Internet outage in which thousands of personal devices were effectively hijacked.

As previously reported, the growth of cyber security is based in mobility, and the market value is expected to see a CAGR of 10.6% between 2017 and 2021. The growth behind cyber security comes from:

  • Application security
  • IoT and BYOD’s enterprise presence
  • Web and cloud-based business apps

When one considers some 500 billion devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by the year 2030, the need for cyber security becomes a must rather than a want. While IoT’s outlook stands to make productivity in the workplace more seamless and efficient, there’s no question the obstacles are abundant. A recent Hewlett Packard study showed 70% of the most commonly used IoT devices contain serious vulnerabilities – and that’s a hacker’s dream come true.

Despite the obvious challenges, companies are betting big on the proliferation of IoT. Most recently, Dell EMC announced a $1 billion spending plan over the next three years to fund an IoT specific division of its enterprise.

See Related: 6 Tech Giants Form Form IoT Cyber Security Alliance

In a recent survey, just 12% of IT executives said IoT was among the top three priorities they were addressing in 2017. However, in that same survey, 48% of those executives said they were strategizing how to best address a connected enterprise. Another 20% claimed they had already begun initiatives that would enable a fully connected enterprise.

Securing IoT is not just an enterprise problem, however – it’s a national security issue. Earlier this year, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), co-chairs of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced legislation to improve the cyber security of the Internet of Things, stating that devices purchased by the U.S. government would need to meet certain minimum security requirements.

“Under the terms of the bill, vendors who supply the U.S. government with IoT devices would have to ensure that their devices are patchable, do not include hard-coded passwords that can’t be changed, and are free of know security vulnerabilities, among other basic requirements.”