The Internet of Things: Security’s endpoint nightmare gets supersized
June 6, 2016
Shah Sheikh (1172 articles)
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The Internet of Things: Security’s endpoint nightmare gets supersized

It wasn’t too long ago that the Internet of Things (IoT) was just another catchphrase for a niche class of product that was expected to slowly creep from the periphery of the CSO’s attention towards the mainstream.

But with the IoT market now growing faster than most initially expected, the urgency to manage it with workable security technologies has become a pressing priority for every IT executive.

Deciding just how quickly the IoT market is growing depending on who you ask: IDC, for one, has projected a market that isgrowing at 16.9 percent annually and will nearly triple to be worth $US1.7 trillion by 2020. ABI Research has predicted a total of 40.9 billion active, wirelessly-connected devices will be installed by 2020 – up from 16 billion in 2014.

This growth will be driven as much by an increasingly diversified array of connected products – smart meters, smart cars, smart lightbulbs, smart dishwashers, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, embedded environmental sensors, smart meters, home routers, drones, smartwatches and a dizzying array of other gadgets – as well as by the rapid maturation of the enabling technologies and supporting technologies to make a widely connected IoT ecosystem a reality.

Those enabling technologies reached Australia in April after IoT-networking aspirant Thinxtra announced that it had begun deploying a live SIGFOX public network in Sydney and Melbourne. SIGFOX uses low-power wide area network (LPWAN) technology that uses long-wavelength technology to allow IoT devices to send up to 140 packets of data, each containing just 12 bytes, per day over up to 1000km.

Access to a live SIGFOX environment – which complements competing IoT initiatives such as Nest Labs’ Thread protocol, ZigBee mesh networking, LTE-MTC and LTE-M cellular M2M protocols, and others – is likely to light a fire under IoT adoption amongst Australian enterprises that still generally speak of IoT as something that is yet to make a serious impact on corporate strategy.

Yet even as the inevitable new applications come to fruition – Verizon’s State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016 report suggests that utilities, home monitoring and sensor-driven transportation applications are likely to lead corporate adoption – the need to secure those channels and their enabling platforms will be pre-eminent.

This, according to Verizon Enterprise Solutions managing director for operations and strategy Robert le Busque, is where the technology’s security implications will come to the fore. “Development in the IoT space is accelerating far faster than we could have imagined or projected,” he explains.

“It’s a rapidly maturing market that is no longer a mashup of technology and devices and software being deployed by early adopters; we’re really starting to see large-scale, dense applications appearing and an incredibly healthy ecosystem as well. IoT will be a significant multiplier in terms of the amount of data that is collated, organised and interpreted – and the security challenges for IoT are no different to security questions elsewhere.”

Source | CSO