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Managing the Internet of (insecure) Things

According to Gartner, 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, climbing to upwards of 20 billion by 2020. This presents a significant opportunity for organisations to enable new capabilities and integrate better workflows and efficiencies. At the same time though, it also means being more exposed to cyber-crime, with an increased number of gateways and larger pool of data available to target.


Managing a web of devices… and a minefield of data

The structure of IoT creates trials of its own. Logistically speaking, management is complicated, and our recent pan-European research found that securely managing multiple devices at scale remains one of the biggest challenges faced by many companies: 84 per cent of senior European IT decision makers stated unauthorised IT system use is endemic within their businesses.

The sheer amount of data being sent back and forth within the IoT’s web of inter-connected endpoints results in the threat and implications of a cyber-attack being greater than ever before. There is a necessity for CIOs to fully analyse their digital functions, including how their business processes, stores, and safeguards personally identifiable information (PII) which is increasingly becoming central to the operations of organisations – the healthcare and financial sectors in particular may find themselves a preferred target of cyber-criminals.


A secure Internet of Things

Research by Gartner suggests that addressing these vulnerabilities over such a wide expanse of devices and fronts will come at a cost, increasing IoT security expenditure to $547 million by 2018, from just $281.5 million in 2015.

Businesses which aren’t effectively prepared for the IoT risk falling behind their competitors, alienating their customers, and – worse still – exposing themselves to this augmented threat of a data breach and the subsequent ramifications of reputational and financial damage that is so often irreparable. The industry has progressed leaps and bounds in recent years to help companies effectively secure their business critical intellectual property, particularly at a device level through features like built-in encryption and biometric security.

To address this evolving threat fully though, companies need to adopt deeper solutions which help protect data at a central level. Technologies such as Mobile Zero Clients achieve this by removing the threat from the hands of employees, storing sensitive data away from mobile devices and instead within a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure. For businesses handling increased volumes of sensitive information via their IoT solutions, such a robust and secure measure is vital in removing the threat of malware from being stored on devices, and subsequently eliminating the threat of data theft or destruction in an age where cyber-attacks are becoming all the more common, and increasingly advanced in their nature.

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