The Rise of Enterprise IoT Security

January 2, 2018 - 4 minutes read

It’s no secret that the biggest issue facing Internet of Things (IoT) development in 2018 is security. But surprisingly, IoT development may prove to be the next promising security paradigm for Enterprise businesses.

Turn Weakness into Strength

IoT is already reshaping enterprise businesses, and many view IoT to be integral to their recent successes. Per Vodafone’s 2017/18 IoT Barometer, 74 percent of companies using IoT consider digital transformation impossible without it. Businesses that continue to leverage the advantages of IoT in 2018 will leave their competitors in the dust. According to McKinsey, 70 percent of the value that IoT produces over the next ten years will derive from business-to-business (B2B) applications.

None of this is so surprising until you consider that Tim Lang, CTO at Business Intelligence firm MicroStrategy, says that a good portion of this value will come from IoT improving key issues of enterprise security. Considering IoT’s less-than-stellar track record with security, this probably baffles most people. But Lang explains that roughly 70 percent of security breaches occur internally. And Enterprise IoT could help “monitor and prevent these breaches before they happen.”

Preemptive Measures

Lang elaborates, “What IoT brings to the table is a low-friction way of monitoring and tracking who’s in what system when, and sending alerts if there’s activity from unauthorized personnel or a settings change in a highly confidential system.” This would allow enterprises to solve problems before they become bigger threats. “Having this level of intelligence and support allows your team to have one eye open at all times and ensures the security of your most confidential databases.”

As Lang explains it, EIoT changes the enterprise security mindset from playing defense to playing offense. Current traditional approaches, like passwords, are precarious at best. “In today’s world, enterprise organization can’t afford to constantly be playing defense, they need to be on offense. Utilizing EIoT gives companies the ability to mitigate security threats before they happen. For instance, if you’re alerted of activity in a system coming from outside the office, you can immediately see who it was, [see] what they were doing, and decide whether additional action is necessary.”

A Gift and a Curse

Of course, hardly any solution comes without a catch. In the case of EIoT, that may be the privacy of employees. Essentially, EIoT works by connecting IoT sensors to all enterprise assets, which can range from assembly lines to company cars to refrigerators. A virtual representation of these assets is then created and fed data from the sensors.

MicroStrategy basically applies this concept to people in the enterprise through a “digital badge” known as Usher. Lang explains, “The device projects the badge holder’s identity to the system and can stream data about the person’s context and actions in real-time.”

Aside from MicroStrategy itself, a few companies around the world are employing it in their workplace. But whether you work at a hot tech firm as a developer in Seattle or you’re a business analyst in New York City, it’s easy to see how this technology could be worrisome.

No employee likes to be micromanaged, so it’s likely that most wouldn’t like to be “tracked,” so to speak. The potential for this technology to expand out of the office and into the real world makes it resemble something more from “1984” than a security solution.

Nevertheless, as it is, EIoT could potentially be the future of enterprise security. And when you consider all of the recent hacks on companies over the past year, any improvement is progress that’s much needed.

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