Monday 16 October 2017

Tomorrow’s Internet—A Lot of ‘Little Things’ That Can Add Up to Big Trouble

Posted by at 10:10 AM

How many devices do you have connected to the internet? Hackers are now able to access a growing list of these smart devices to gather information from consumers and businesses. One of the most massive attacks used a collection of over one million infected security cameras, digital video recorders and other small devices to launch attacks on businesses and knock them offline.

Another ‘Internet of Things' (IoT) attack caused major service delays for customers using Twitter, PayPal and Spotify. Internet security experts are saying events like these are just the tip of the iceberg. Many of these ‘remote controlled over the internet’ devices like Wi-Fi routers are easily forgotten and not given ‘fixes’ to make sure they’re secure.

The IoT is the new, “Wild West”.

There are no universal standards for IoT devices. Threats can invade any of the channels they’re connected to on the internet creating malfunctions or complete shutdowns of your entire organization. For certain industries, like healthcare, a shutdown can be life threatening.

The 'Internet of Things' has many fans!

Computer chips are connecting even the simplest home and business ‘things’ we use to connect to the internet. Those chips, often controlled by our phones, tell us when the kids are home from school, lock our doors, turn on the lights, monitor our heat, turn on the coffee pot, even help monitor the baby in the nursery. A smart, $7,000 voice activated grill can even tell you when to flip the burgers.

Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading research and advisory company, predicted that 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ would be used in 2017, up 31% from 2016. By 2020, it is predicted there will be 25 billion IoT devices—that’s almost four devices for every human on earth.

There’s no going back.

  • Healthcare: The IoT is connecting medicine with healthcare devices that are reducing human error and helping increase the ability to provide earlier diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases. Other devices provide tracking of elderly patients and their activities in nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Auto: Connected car sensors indicate when to change the oil—and someday sensors will order the oil, schedule maintenance and complete payment before the driver pulls out of the service station.  
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturers of automotive, chemical, durable goods, electronics and more are making heavy investments in IoT devices to improve efficiency and productivity and are seeing many benefits.
  • Banking: Last year Citibank tested Bluetooth-enabled beacon technology to provide customers the ability to use their cell phones to access branch ATMs 24 hours a day and receive location-based personalized offers. Banks can also use IoT to enhance the payment process. One future scenario is a customer’s refrigerator sensing the home has run out of milk and ordering a fresh carton from a local grocery store. Payment is seamlessly made by the bank.

Smart ‘things’ require smart security.

Small businesses are most vulnerable to IoT threats. Awareness of the advantages and risks of the ‘internet of things’ devices is a great start. Step two, might be checking out what managed services can offer. Cost is not prohibitive for most and it’s worth a conversation to find out how you can best protect your devices and data.

Cybersecurity is complicated. There’s no sugar coating it. Managed IT security experts wrestle with the ‘devil’ every day to keep customer services and their data safe. Here, at EO Johnson - Locknet®, our job is to put blockades in the way of hackers. If they break down one door, there are many more we use to keep them out of your system. Hackers want to shut you down. Managed IT security is the ‘push back’ to make sure you can keep the ‘lights on’ and your customers served.

Cybersecurity for small business can touch all aspects of the owner's livelihood and life. Download our FREE guide: 7 Security Leadership Questions Small Business Owners Should Be Asking About Cybersecurity and take the important steps for your security.