The Continuing IoT - The Internet of Things

This is a decent little article from Norton on the continuing need for security, especially in supply chains.  If you have needs in this area, we can certainly help.


“The Internet of Things: Defining Future Business"

How everyday “smart” devices may change everything

Imagine this: You have your own army of robot minions to count your inventory items every month—always perfectly, no mistakes made. You pay them nothing, and they never complain. They even alert you to low supplies, reordering them promptly. 

Science fiction? More like science fact—and one coming soon.

Just like the dawning of the World Wide Web, the Internet of Things (IoT) could change the way we do business forever. So what is it? Basically, it refers to data communication among a large range of devices—from your toaster to your teapot. The more devices “speak” to one another, the more they can work together to help you.

Empty vaporware hype? Unlikely. While 2014 is still early in the IoT game, we won’t have to wait long for this office of the future to arrive. Some IoT devices are already here, with the promise of many more on the way. And this coming deluge could make your days much easier or your nights much, much longer. We’ll explain.

Strong security remains a constant essential

We’ve all heard about the recent company data breaches. In each case, cybercriminals found a way to break through insufficient security. Wasn’t technology to blame? Eliminate it and solve the problem. That’s the conclusion a time traveler from 100 years ago would posit. After all, without computers or credit cards, there would be no electronic data to pilfer.

Today, we know that most businesses, big or small, would find it very difficult to move ahead without technology. Consumers aren’t about to return to the days of cash only; credit and debit cards are simply too convenient. Instead, we move ahead and embrace tech while understanding its limitations and needs.

One essential need: top-notch security.

IoT connections require security everywhere

Return again to our hypothetical “Internet of Things” office of the future.

Each item you may manufacture or sell is tagged. You know exactly how many you have, and where each one may be in the world at any given time. The same applies to your employees, vendors, and peers.

This data represents a gold mine to thieves. If you know everything about your business down to the minutest detail, so could they. If they breach your data, your customers’ trust could wane and wither overnight. And once everything connects to the Internet, this could allow myriad avenues for cybercriminals to enter and plunder.

Devices from employee smartphones to the new “smart” refrigerator in the break room needs to be secure—safely communicating via the Web, while keeping the bad guys out.

Sure, you could just banish such devices from your workplace. (Does your team really need a WiFi-ready toaster oven?) But for many, the pros of using these devices are going to outweigh the cons—especially when strong security can eliminate the strongest negatives.

Before deciding, recall that some people first balked at smartphones and their added expense. “I already have a laptop and a cell. Why do I need this, too?” Modern touchscreen smartphones have only been around a few years, but how very, very strange that sentiment would sound now.

Many IoT devices will likely follow the same path: Today’s business nicety often becomes tomorrow’s business necessity.

How secure is your supply chain?

Another aspect to consider as we enter the brave new IoT world: Even if you’re secure, what about your vendors? There’s a reason we refer to certain malware as “Trojan horses.” What may appear safe on the outside only presents a threat after we invite it inside our office.

Think about it: If you wanted to infiltrate a stronghold, would you attack its strongest point or the weakest? That’s precisely the way cybercriminals think, too. Going up head to head against a Fortune 100’s defense wouldn’t be easy. But infecting the small-time supplier who works with the small business that shakes hands with the Fortune 100 company…? Now there’s a plan!

Bear this in mind as the Internet of Things turns from fantasy to fact. Remain vigilant and proactive in your security. To cybercriminals, your small business presents a more tempting target over enterprise, as they won’t believe you’ll have the strong security that corporations will. Show them the error of their ways by staying secure.