The Internet of Things (IoT), the idea that all devices that can benefit from connectivity will ultimately be connected, is already re-shaping industries like education, healthcare, facilities management and industrial processing. When machines can “talk” to each other—and connectivity is at an all-time high—they can perform a variety of functions without human intervention, leaving employees free to complete other pressing tasks and allowing for automatic data capture as well.
A recent report by IDC projects the worldwide IoT market to reach a staggering $7.1 trillion by 2020, with the number of connected devices more than tripling to 28.1 billion by the end of the same period. But while the efficiency and cost savings have companies across many industries scrambling to connect devices, security remains a potential risk with such adoption.
Put simply, interconnected devices create greater potential points of access for unwanted intruders. Point-of-sale devices like credit card processors and even items like badges or watches can become targets for hackers if they connect to other machines.
Before companies can fully embrace IoT, without significantly increasing security vulnerability, they need an IoT gateway that uses high-level encryption and boasts robust firewall capabilities to protect against intrusion. Because just as the data aggregated and analyzed in an IoT environment is extremely valuable for businesses, it is a prize for criminals looking to steal and sell personal customer information or company secrets. These gateways also enhance security by enabling remote access and monitoring of connected devices or sensors, so network configuration can be changed via remote control if necessary.
Similar to cloud computing, or any number of other technological advancements, security is the biggest threat to derailing IoT’s momentum. But that doesn’t mean companies should shy away from the technology. Rather, they should simply make sure they enter this new world fully prepared.