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Time to Get Serious About IoT Cybersecurity

By Jeff Kagan
Mar 2, 2017 11:30 AM PT
internet-of-things-security

Both companies and individuals will have incredible opportunities ahead with the Internet of Things. IoT is starting to combine with artificial intelligence, cloud-based services, and many other new segments, creating a very fertile growing field.

However, it also poses a growing threat for security. We need a secure IoT framework -- something that does not yet exist. That's where the new IoT Cybersecurity Alliance comes into play.

Security must play a very active role in the future of IoT. The IoT Cybersecurity Alliance, announced last month, is a great start. I hope it continues to grow in size and scope, because it will be important going forward.

We need to protect both companies and individuals -- whether they're employees, customers or end users -- from increasing cyberthreats. We need to create a secure IoT environment.

Top-Tier Participation

The IoT Cybersecurity Alliance has attracted several important players, including AT&T, IBM, Nokia, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Trustonic. As amazing as the Internet of Things is, and as much as it will transform our world, there are many soft areas that need to be strengthened.

The alliance won't set industry standards. Rather, it will research, educate and influence consumers and businesses to adopt strong standards for the protection of all. This is a great first step.

IoT offers exciting potential. However, it is just as exciting for the bad guys. Everything needs to be protected -- from networks to devices. Security must be paramount for every connected thing.

Among the top four major U.S. wireless providers, AT&T has the greatest presence in IoT, with 32 million connected devices.

There currently are 10 million connected cars, which is a rapidly growing segment.

Juggling threats and opportunities requires very delicate balance, but it must be achieved. If it's not achieved -- and especially if consumers are hurt -- the future growth potential of IoT and the cloud will be curtailed.

There are so many new IoT segments: smart homes, smart cities, connected cars, healthcare monitoring, and more. Every new segment needs to ensure security to win consumer trust in order to grow.

Wake-Up Call

All sorts of companies active in the rapidly growing IoT area participated in the recent IoT Evolution Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The entrepreneurial spirit at the show was astounding -- and we are still in the very early days of the IoT revolution.

However, one topic that was not discussed enough was security. Security ought to have been center stage.

The formation of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance is reassuring. It will help to raise the profile of this very important area of concern as the Internet of Things continues to transform our world.

I hope it attracts more companies as sponsors and inspires many similar alliances. We need to fight hard to win the ongoing security battle if we are to reap the rewards of the IoT.


Jeff Kagan has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2010. His focus is on the wireless and telecom industries. He is an independent analyst, consultant and speaker. Email Jeff.


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Which form of smartphone security do you rely on most?
Face ID or Fingerprint
Strong Password
App Locks
Storage Encryption
VPN with Public WiFi
I don't use any smartphone security tech.