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Is Your Business Prepared for the Security Implications of the “Internet of Things?”

Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D.
Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D. Director-in-Charge, Technology Solutions

Is Your Business Prepared for the Security Implications of the “Internet of Things?”

The Internet of Things (IoT), the term often used to describe the trend of connecting various systems to achieve more robust and high performance operational systems, is creating significant change for businesses. This second wave of the Internet economy is ushering in a whole new range of products and services – a market estimated to be in the trillions of dollars.

IoT is being enabled by the enormous expansion of Internet-connected machines and devices. This phenomenon leverages the newly-developed IPv6 Internet Protocol, which moves Internet addresses from a limited and carefully managed resource to a new platform without any such restriction. This dramatic change in venue has spawned a new creative spirit not unlike the first years of the Internet. The number of interconnected devices on the Internet is expected to grow to billions as organizations and consumers adopt this technology to better manage performance of various processes ranging from supply chain to customer management applications.

Unfortunately, it seems the excitement and opportunities provided by this massive expansion have overshadowed the fact that all of this new technology will have to be managed and secured. In the rush to market and with very little regulatory framework, products and services are being developed without adequate safeguards that will protect businesses and their customers.

What makes the potential security threats from IoT fundamentally different from traditional cyber security concerns is that IoT involves many computing processes outside organizational and personal boundaries. Once organizations and individuals introduce IoT into their business processes and lives, they allow machine-to-machine interactions to take place on their behalf. This results in significant changes in governance, privacy, legal, and liability issues and, in many cases, introduces a number of grey areas yet to be better defined and understood.

This wave of change is another phase of convergence reminiscent of the migration from analog to digital or from the private networks of the 1960s to packetized shared networks. And, like these other examples of convergence, privacy and protections need to be considered before, not after, the massive rollout. Managers and business owners should work now to consider the implications of IoT and make plans to mitigate their impact.

Carefully consider the security, privacy, and long-term organizational and industry implications of IoT as everyone races toward this new model. Thorough planning and risk assessment are necessary as decisions are made to integrate your systems with those of your suppliers, enabling them to manage key operational metrics such as inventory levels, equipment performance, and anticipated and incoming customer orders. On the customer-facing side, managers need to better understand the ramifications of being connected to customer systems and equipment in order to provide a more proactive set of services, and plan for risk implications of potential security breaches either through their internal systems or those used by your customers.

In the world of interconnected IoT, vulnerabilities are defined by weaknesses in a single node that if detected by hackers and criminals, could create significant economic, legal, and brand damage to involved parties. Doing the work now to identify and plan for these potential security implications will pay off if and when you find yourself facing a security threat.


Sassan S. Hejazi, Kreischer MillerSassan S. Hejazi is a director with Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email.


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Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D.

Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D.

Director-in-Charge, Technology Solutions

Manufacturing & Distribution Specialist, Technology Solutions Specialist, Digital Transformation Specialist, Cyber Advisory Specialist, Microsoft Cloud Specialist

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