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The Internet of Things: Security Risk or Big Reward for Your Business?

Believe the hype: We’re already living in an uber-connected world. And if recent research is any indicator, we’re about to get a lot more connected. Fast.

In a little more than five years, it’s estimated there will be about 50 billion connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). That’s twice as many devices as will exist next year, and 100 times the amount of connected devices in 2003. Astounding growth, in other words. And while wearable technology like Google Glass isn’t mainstream just yet, Pew Research found that an overwhelming 83 percent of tech experts believe such devices will have “widespread and beneficial effects by 2025.” If it’s becoming an integral part of our lives, you can be sure it will impact your business as well. But at what cost? Can you protect your data when everything is connected? Here are some of the benefits — and risks — for when the internet of things enters your office. BENEFITS TO BUSINESSES Improved Intelligence Big Data is no longer the Next Big Thing, as it’s now a pretty common way for businesses to develop strategy decisions and customer insight. But the Internet of Things could make Big Data new again. IoT will help businesses effortlessly gather more information than ever — behind the scenes. Live communication can help businesses operate more efficiently, change company-customer relationships, and provide real-time feedback on market intelligence, performance, customer and product behavior, and loyalty. New Revenue As the Internet of Things changes the business landscape, customers will continue to look for new products and services that hold value. Innovative companies can seize the opportunity to develop these new services, creating new revenue streams where none existed before. Of course, being nimble enough to jump on these opportunities when they arise will require an ear to the ground, and strong information mobility in your organization. Office Productivity Speaking of information mobility, the integration of wearable technology like Google Glass or the iWatch will provide new points of access to the office and expand the workplace. This will present new opportunities to improve productivity, enhance collaboration and provide insight to employee efficiency. SECURITY CONCERNS That’s great, but there’s always a downside. And by far the greatest concern with the internet of things is security. Simply put, more connected devices means more collection of sensitive and identifiable information. And whether you’re collecting data from your products or within your workplace, there exists a significantly greater potential for hackers and cybercriminals to take that information and use it for their own ends. Embracing the IoT means understanding end-to-end security and three main security vulnerabilities: Device Security– the physical security of devices and ensuring they aren’t vulnerable to theft or compromise. Data Security– protecting collected data in its two locations: on the device and in transit. Communication Security– encrypting data in transit between devices. For more information about security, including measures to shore up your defenses, check out WorkIntelligent.ly’s data security archives. WHAT’S NEXT? What should your business do today to prepare for the surging Internet of Things? Start Learning No one wants to be a late adopter and fall behind in the new world of work. This would threaten not only your competitiveness, but also your security. So make sure you have a clear understanding of how the IoT uniquely impacts your bottom line, your customers and your overall efficiency. Be Proactive Start by staying ahead of the curve in evaluating your IT capabilities. Research firm Gartner found that more than 20 percent of businesses will invest in IoT security initiatives by 2017, and chief information security officers are already experiencing changes in the business environment due to the IoT. Other IT pros are investing in their infrastructure, expanding bandwidth and looking at other solutions — like using a hybrid of public and private clouds — to efficiently and securely handle higher loads of data and connectivity. While some companies have already developed IoT strategies, Gartner suggests starting with an interim strategy. Avoiding a “grand strategy” for the time being can help keep your business agile and flexible as the IoT evolves, and will serve as the foundation for a broader strategy down the road. Keep Learning The Internet of Things and the security issues it creates will remain a moving target impacting your employees, vendors, suppliers, customers and, especially, IT. Stay focused on employee training and trends in workplace roles as Big Data jobs continue to grow and emerge. Again, flexibility will be key when dealing with unexpected changes surrounding the IoT.

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Secure Networks (SecNet) is a limited liabilities company working in the Egyptian IT market and focusing on delivering high end total integrated infrastructure solutions, business solutions and professional services, through SecNet's professional certified teams from sales, presales, and services supported by our world leaders partners in three lines of business (Networking & Connectivity, Security & Reporting and Performance & Availability).

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