The Internet of Things (IoT) uses the powerful combination of Wi-Fi and cloud technology to send information and perform certain actions through devices that can connect to the Internet. This advance stems from the use of telemetry, decades of old machine-to-machine communication via wired sensors and transmitters. Now, these wires have been replaced by radio waves that can transfer nearly infinite amount of data.
IoT technology ranges from entire smart cities that streamline traffic to fridges that detect when you're low on milk and order it for you, among many other products and services. Nearly any object you use regularly can be exchanged for a "smart" version that logs usage, perform a certain task, or learn your schedule and change the environment around you accordingly.
The Internet of Things is becoming more prevalent, so it is likely your business has considered a switch to some form of IoT device. Self-driving delivery trucks and self-monitoring security systems are industry-specific, but every business benefits from smart lighting and thermostats that reduce energy costs. Retail markets can use the Internet of Things to keep an accurate and immediate inventory, while devices like Square can turn your smartphone or tablet into a hassle-free cash register.
Although the IoT is still relatively new, the potential economic impact looms on the horizon. With constant updates on the status and stock of households and workplaces mean the average consumer is likely to purchase more products than they would buy on their own. Majority of the industries have the potential to use this technology to increase sales and efficiency whenever needed. IoT devices may even replace human counterparts in the near future that once performed the same function.
Security is the biggest risk factor when incorporating IoT technology into any business. Here are some factors you should take into account before committing to an IoT upgrade:
Hacking: The most widespread IoT fear also happens to be the most rampant. If there is a security loophole in a device that stores your personal information, hackers will try to exploit this vulnerability, often without encountering firewalls or other obstacles. Understanding how your data is stored and accessed is something you must be aware of when considering IoT devices for your business.
Surveillance: Any device with a microphone or camera can potentially be activated by a remote user with the right knowledge. That is why sites that seek out the IP address of webcams with unprotected open ports stream millions of private video feeds to viewers willing to pay. Be sure you know the terms and conditions of your device and the permission its software may have to be sure no one can eavesdrop on you.
Company Security Policies: Device security is the responsibility of the individual company, and since there aren't any laws, yet, on protecting IoT security, most companies depend on self-regulation and self-reporting.
Education and Caution: People can become reliant on smart technology, so it is important to know the hidden downfalls of using these devices in your business. Employees who come in contact with a company IoT device should be aware of the possible threats and the security breaches these devices can cause.
Most of the security concerns with IoT technology have to do with the engineering of the devices themselves. Even though it may be fun to begin to imagine your work computer booting up when it senses your car pulling into the parking lot, the vulnerabilities of this technology cast a long shadow on its practicality.