Is the Internet of Things (IoT) shaping up to become a security nightmare?
The fast-growing market for IoT solutions and services may be giving IT professionals some pause, suggests a new study from Dallas-based IT outsourcing company CompuCom. Citing a forecast from IDC, the firm expects the IoT market to consist of 212 billion connected devices and be worth $8.9 trillion in 2020. Meanwhile, telecommunications giant Verizon predicts that by the same year, the industry will have established 5.4 billion business-to-business (B2B) IoT connections.
With so many devices flooding the Internet of Things with so much data, it's little wonder that IT experts are a little wary.
A recent survey of 431 technology professionals conducted by CompuCom found that security and the potential rise in cyberattacks were the top concern for 44 percent of respondents. Data privacy and the risk of exposure of sensitive personal information emerged as a major worry for 28 percent of those polled.
"IT professionals have pretty much figured out security at the traditional end-point," remarked Sam Gross, chief technology officer for CompuCom. "IoT accentuates a new set of security concerns that span securing the device, the edge network and the new classes of data that will be collected."
Current approaches to safeguarding data and locking down networks may fall short in the IoT era, he added. "How we rethink security standards has driven innovation into the marketplace that will benefit us all."
Some IT pros fear that their companies may be dragging their feet on the way to IoT readiness, the survey revealed. Nine percent pointed to a lack of organizational drive in committing to, or investing in, IoT-enabled technologies. Five percent of respondents expressed unease about finding ways to capitalize on IoT data.
Another five percent are worried that consumers may push back against IoT, fearing the possibility of invasive surveillance and other "Big Brother" scenarios. Technology and interoperability issues represent a big stumbling block for yet another five percent of survey takers.
Finally, as always, someone has to pay the bill. Four percent of respondents said implementation costs were giving them doubts about IoT.
At least one tech giant doesn't look like it needs much convincing.
IBM on Tuesday announced a major bet on IoT, to the tune of $3 billion over the next four years. Some of that funding will go toward advancing Big Blue's analytics capabilities, ultimately helping customers benefit from the business-enhancing insights that are locked away in mountains of IoT data.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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