The Internet of Things. It's an exciting concept, perhaps even a world-changing one. And the Internet of Things vision of seamless, global interconnectivity between people, objects, and computing systems looks set to be reality this decade: Gartner predicts that the Internet of Things market will exceed $300 billion and include 26 billion installed units by 2020, radically transforming everything from individual user experience of devices all the way up to how data centers are architected and operated. But a number of concerns surround Internet of Things security. Every connected device is a hackable device, and many of those devices—pacemakers and cars come to mind—should never be hacked.
What can be done to improve Internet of Things security? While the technology is still in its early stages, there are several approaches VARs can begin taking to help their customers adapt to this brave new world.
1. Tighten up backend and endpoint security
When it comes right down to it, if every device is a sensor, then every device is also an endpoint, making endpoint security paramount for Internet of Things security. VARs should begin learning about the endpoint security technologies that can protect devices from intrusion and malicious software. Unfortunately, not every Internet of Things device is made to enterprise-grade security standards, as Bruce Schneier pointed out to the Harvard Business Review. In those cases, organizations must decide whether to allow those devices access to their networks and, to mitigate the risks, strengthen their backend security as well.
2. Leverage Big Data and business analytics
Among the many use cases for Big Data, Internet of Things security is one of the most critical and most universal. By applying analytics to device and user activity patterns, security teams can more quickly identify and respond to anomalous or suspicious behavior within their enterprise data environments, heading breaches and malfunctions off at the pass. VARs looking to leverage Big Data and business analytics for Internet of Things security should begin learning about the platforms and applications currently available. Additionally, as both Big Data and the Internet of Things movements gain traction, VARs with security expertise may find opportunities to begin offering managed services and winning long-term contracts from their customers.
3. Keep ahead of the curve
One of the most problematic aspects of Internet of Things security is that many of its challenges have yet to be adequately identified, let alone addressed. The security industry hasn't yet caught up to the massive number of new endpoints and processing systems the Internet of Things will generate. Efforts are underway to change this, however, such as Internet of Things leader Cisco's "Internet of Things Grand Security Challenge," which will award five-figure prizes to the best proposed solutions to Internet of Things security issues. VARs looking to take advantage of the growing Internet of Things market must stay informed on the latest developments in the field in order to offer their customers the best solutions.
Internet of Things security problems are as vast and varied as the devices the movement hopes to tie together. VARs planning to sell infrastructure in support of the Internet of Things—and planning to profit from the overall security market in general—must get a leg up on the competition by developing their knowledge base. Start out by reading a white paper or two on leveraging technology and distributor partnerships to increase your security offerings. Attend a free webinar. Or talk to one of our information security and business development specialists for personalized advice and resources to take your business to the next level.
What are your thoughts on the Internet of Things? Tell us in the comments.