Safeguard Your Organization’s IoT Initiatives

As data becomes increasingly valuable, companies need to secure their IoT-enabled devices now, rather than wait until hackers find a way in.

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Internet of Things

IoT research and subsequent fall 2016 report, “Data Sharing and Analytics Drive Success with IoT,” looks at analytics capabilities, the impact of larger IoT projects on diseconomies of scale, and potential security issues that accompany device network growth.
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Recently, attackers broke into an unnamed casino and stole data by compromising an internet-connected fish tank. If this were a plot device in a Hollywood thriller, the cyberattack method would likely be deemed far too implausible and left on the cutting-room floor — not to mention the preposterous idea that thieves find a better return on investment (ROI) in stealing data from a casino instead of stealing money. But both the method and “goods” targeted by the thieves are real.

As implausible as this scenario seems, increasing internet of things (IoT) adoption portends worse cybersecurity breaches unless businesses recognize the need to improve IoT components.

In the fish tank example, it is particularly ironic that the pun “phishing” evolved back to the original “fishing.” Phishing attempts to steal valuable information through deceit. An email, for example, elicits confidential information by pretending to come from a boss or colleague. Rather than attacking systems directly, phishing uses social engineering to prey on parts of computer systems that are traditionally far weaker: users. But in the weakest link contest, we have a contender rising quickly — IoT devices.

Unfortunately, IoT did not rise to the top of the weakest-link leaderboard because we the users all strengthened our security chops. Despite constant prescriptions for better user education, it is difficult to raise every user’s security prowess — and the resilience of a defense depends, by definition, on the minimum weakness. Instead, IoT devices may become the preferred path for attackers by creating far better ROI for attackers along an IoT path rather than a user path.

The use of “ROI” here is important. It’s tempting to think of security as a technical problem — one that we wish some smart technical folks would just solve. Despite many smart people working on it, this is highly unlikely. Instead, security is an economic problem — attackers are economic actors who will strike when benefits exceed costs and will turn their attention elsewhere when it doesn’t.

The “return” part of the attacker ROI is based on the value of data. The value of data has increased dramatically over the last decade. It stands to reason that the same data would be valuable to attackers as well.


Internet of Things

IoT research and subsequent fall 2016 report, “Data Sharing and Analytics Drive Success with IoT,” looks at analytics capabilities, the impact of larger IoT projects on diseconomies of scale, and potential security issues that accompany device network growth.
More in this series

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Comment (1)
Muhammad Moroojo
Interesting article, there will always be risk of stealing associated where ever the data is being collected and processed. The big data today is like an oil which was found back in past, whoever have access and right leverage to gain profit out of it is going to make a lot of money. “Internet of things” (IoT). “The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.” We will be having smart devices all around us. Sensors installed not only in devices but even in the cement will be collecting information and communicating with human and other devices. This will not only increase the efficiency but also the safety for human kind. It seems like we are soon going to enter in the world of “Matrix”, IoT is disrupting the physical world. Imagine sensors installed in cars communicating with driver and smart roads! This will solve our problem of heavy traffic on the roads this means less pollution in the environment.
According to Nate Williams (2017) The city of Barcelona saves $37 million a year, thanks to smart lighting. Intel forecasts 200 billion connected devices by 2020, nearly 25 connected devices for every person on earth. IBM believes that making sense of data embedded in intelligent devices is creating a significant market opportunity that is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020. McKinsey & Co. estimates a potential economic impact of IoT systems of as much as $11.1 trillion per year in 2025.  Approximately 70% of the value is derived from B2B applications.
According to an article by Maciej Kranz (2017) in Harvard Business Review, companies who are willing to take advantage from implementing internet of things will have to change their traditional ways. They will have to develop a partner eco system where interconnectivity is not only among devices but partners, customers and suppliers. They need to change the talent management strategy like Siemen a German giant company, which is offering a four-year degree in mechatronics and on job training. And companies will have to focus on business challenge not the technology, Like Harley Davidson which formed a unified team from IT and operations created a fully IoT-enabled plant. This allowed the company to shrink a fixed 21-day production schedule for new orders down to just six hours, reduce operating costs by $200 million, improve production efficiency, and reduce downtime. Plus, build-to-order cycle times sped up by a factor of 25, allowing the company to respond to customer desires far more quickly and efficiently.

Amin Moroojo

Kranz, M. (august, 2017). Success with the Internet of Things Requires More Than Chasing the Cool Factor. Harward Business Review. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from

Williams, N. (2017, September). Keep calm and automate to unlock the opportunity in the vertical Internet of Things. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from

Burrus, D. (2017). The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from