The term Internet of Things (IoT) relates to the growing network of physical devices, which connect via the internet to offer new functions and ways of using traditional objects. Of course, all while gathering data on users behaviour. IoT has transformational possibilities with devices increasingly communicating with each other without the need for human interaction. A simplistic example being smart thermostats using real time weather forecasts to adjust the heating in your home. The possibilities are endless: new products in development range from smart nappies which will alert when the nappy needs changed, consigning the traditional ‘sniff test’ to history, to pill-shaped micro-cameras that can pinpoint thousands of images within the body.
We are all familiar with the smart phones and smart TVs however internet connectivity is being added to just about any and every object around us. It brings seemingly luxurious options to control home devices remotely at the touch of a button. Many consumers now enjoy the ability to adjust their home appliances, such as heating, lighting and even toasters from miles away. Wearable devices, such as Fitbits, means users can monitor their activity, sleep, heart rate etc.
But what are the risks?
This rapidly emerging sector is changing traditional business models. The scale of growth has been phenomenal and it’s estimated that the global number of IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017. Microsoft has estimated that the number of Internet-enabled devices is expected to increase 50 billion by 2020. Embedded, networked sensors and actuators are everywhere and long term we will see the rise of smart homes, cities and nations.
The IoT is transforming our world into a dynamic system of connected devices on an unprecedented scale. Yet the key question is whether security will keep pace with these rapid developments or will we see products being rushed to market and attackers taking advantage of security vulnerabilities? A fridge with an IP address and default password can offer a route into your whole network. We have already seen high profile cases of baby monitors and smart TVs being hacked and on a larger scale there are serious concerns about threats to supply chains and even national security. These devices massively widen the scope hackers have to enter your network. Often they are omitted from businesses patch management and security update plans. There are parallel concerns about privacy as businesses rush to monetise large data sets they collect from these devices.
What does this mean for our IT support customers in central Scotland?
Many of our customers across Glasgow and Edinburgh are already adopting smart technology to increase efficiency and productivity. It is essential that businesses consider cyber-security weakness created by the introduction of new technology. Likewise it is essential to ensure that effective security tools such as network monitoring, wifi encryption, etc are in place. Running alongside technical solutions you also must ensure your team know how to use the device safely. So, policies on password management will be needed. There are many factors to consider to ensure your network stays safe. We always recommend a layered approach to cyber security and your smart devices should be included in this.
We can provide a thorough IT security audit of your network including smart technology products. Contact us today for more information.
Red Mosquito provide IT support across Glasgow, Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.