When we think about the Internet of Things (IoT), we tend to think about devices. Cars that can text us to tell us they are running low on gas, thermostats that we can control with our smartphones, and home security systems that follow our orders down to the letter. But as the IoT develops, it looks as though the true power of the technology will be found in the data that these interconnected devices collect, share, and save.
Homes that learn the patterns of their inhabitants to streamline daily life, like having the right clothing picked out, cleaned, and prepared for the right occasion. Refrigerators that automatically order favorite foods when they’re running low and that get the right recipes started without even having to ask an individual what they have planned for dinner. These futuristic possibilities of device interactivity without direct human input may be closer than we think. We’re already seeing the beginnings of such home and office enhancements appear on the IoT landscape. The learning that these devices undertake, and the decisions they make based on it, is facilitated by cloud storage and cloud services.
With big players in the cloud rolling out more and more IoT-enabling Web services, it’s clear that the cloud will be the place where much of the future IoT-related data are kept and managed. That means that the more popular the IoT gets, the more critical it will be to make sure that data stored on the cloud are reliably secure. The following examples explain why.
Insecure Clouds Mean Entry Points to Devices
The more connected devices that people have in their homes and offices, the more theoretical potential there is for hacks and cyberattacks of a heretofore unexperienced severity. The possibility of a hacker being able to remotely control the locks on somebody’s house or the temperature of their boiler poses enough concerns to give an imaginative mind quite a few nightmares.
In an IoT-enabled world in which data stream from device to cloud and back, all day, every day, an insecure cloud poses a theoretical point of entry into one or many homes and enterprises. The IoT has the potential to make IT security threats more personal and more immediate, so keeping the cloud aspect of the technology secure is absolutely crucial.
There Is More Value in IoT Data than We Think
Cloud-based services are able to harness the otherwise inconceivable processing power of the cloud to collect information streaming from connected devices throughout a home, interpret those data, and give feedback to the devices and the device owners based on that information. These granular data about the minutia of individuals’ daily lives have the potential to be quite private and quite compromising—perhaps in ways that users, and even providers, don’t entirely understand.
The recent rash of cloud breaches aimed at hospitals and other healthcare providers over the past few years has shown that hackers will find the value in massive repositories of data even if it’s not immediately apparent to users or enterprises. The more IoT tools are in use and the more data they are streaming to the cloud, the more critical it is that people with ill intent are kept away from it. What hackers could do with the data from thousands, or even millions, of homes might not be readily apparent, but be assured it could lead to some truly frightening scenarios.
IT Security Will Safeguard Our Data-Driven Future
We are already seeing the prominent role that the secure cloud will play in the expansion of the IoT. Its storage capacity and processing power have the potential to enable truly helpful and completely fascinating innovations in an always-wired world. But that is only if we keep the data safe and secure, and it is up to security solution providers to make sure it happens.
What new cloud-based IoT services have you implemented, and how are you keeping them secure?