Channel technologies, Networking

Is the Internet of Things Safe?

As global use of connected devices--including those used for life-saving purposes—grows, a new survey from ISACA shows that there is a significant confidence gap between consumers and cybersecurity and IT professionals. In fact, while 64% of US consumers say they are confident they can control information conveyed through Internet of Things (IoT) devices, 78% of professionals say security standards are insufficient.

According to ISACA’s 2015 IT Risk/Reward Barometer, the number one IoT-related security concern for enterprises is data leakage. Nearly half of the more than 7,000 global professionals surveyed think their IT department is not aware of all of the organization’s connected devices (e.g., connected thermostats, TVs, fire alarms), yet 73% believe the likelihood of being hacked through an IoT device is medium or high. All while 72% say that IoT device manufacturers do not implement sufficient security.

Internet of Things Market Growth

It is clear that further education and awareness efforts are needed. Now. The number of B2B IoT devices is expected to grow from 1.2 billion connected devices in 2015 to 5.4 billion in 2020. That is a lot of important personal and confidential data being shared, transported and used by often unknown entities.

On the flip side, there is a significant business risk if organizations do not embrace IoT. They may lag behind competitors and upstarts, and risk losing revenue and reputation. In addition, enterprises do gain value from IoT.

Internet of Things' Biggest Benefits

Specifically, global survey respondents reported that the greatest benefits of using IoT are:

  • Greater accessibility to information (44%)
  • Greater efficiency (35%)
  • Improved services (34%)
  • Increased employee productivity (25%)
  • Increased customer satisfaction (23%)

The key is to balance risk with benefits, and I encourage professionals and consumers to safely embrace IoT devices. To help do this, ensure all devices are updated regularly with security upgrades, take cyber security training, be wary about information shared and stay alert for unusual behavior at all times. The future is bright. Or at least that’s what my connected watch tells me.

Note: ISACA’s annual IT Risk/Reward Barometer is a global indicator of trust and attitudes. The 2015 study is based on polling of 7,016 ISACA members in 140 countries and additional surveys among 1,227 consumers in the US, 1,025 consumers in the UK, 1,060 consumers in Australia, 1,027 consumers in India and 1,057 consumers in Mexico. To see the full results, visit here.

Rob Clyde, CISM, is international vice president and board director, ISACA, and managing director, Clyde Consulting LLC. Read more ISACA blogs here.