How can I build my IoT devices more securely for a business?

digital IoT devices
Photo: Pixabay, Pexels.

Emerging technologies are transforming our world like never before. Gone are the days when we had to wait for reaching home to turn on the air conditioner or get up from our beds to turn off the lights. Now, all we need to do is use the smart app on our phone or ask Alexa to do this job for us. Smart devices have changed our perception of the world and made it much simpler for us. No matter where we look, we find devices connected, adding comfort to our lives and at the same time penetrating everything around us.

The smart world that we live in today, has its perks. Everything that was an idea a decade back is gradually taking shape and impacting the reality of the world. As a result of this, customer demands have changed and are under a continuous process of change as time flies by. It is difficult to categorize this in terms of good or bad, but for businesses, it is a tough nut to crack.

Organizations and enterprises all across the world are trying their best to capitalize on the latest technologies and offer them to the customer in one form or the other. The point is that today’s customers want to live in an integrated world, where everything they own is connected to other relevant things. They expect a seamless transition from one device to another without having to go through a complex process anymore. This need to stay connected not just with people around but also with physical entities has given rise to the phenomenon of the Internet of Things.

Though just as an idea some time back, the Internet of Things is one of the most after technologies in the world today. It harnesses one of the most basic elements that we have in the world today- the Internet. As humans, we can’t imagine our lives without the Internet today. Be it a location that we have to find, text our friends and colleagues, find a restaurant or seek answers to the most difficult questions. The Internet is our go-to place for every single thing.

The IoT explosion

While the Internet is the solution to most of our problems, there was no way that devices remained away from it. Why not make a smart fridge that orders dairy supplies on its own, when they seem depleted, making it super easy for the user? And this is just one of the tiniest examples of how the Internet of Things is impacting everything around us. It is taking us to a connected world, where we no longer have to do things independently or let’s say worry about our home when we’re not there.

Statistics suggest that as many as 127 devices are being connected to the Internet every second of our lives. This takes us to a close of 2.4 billion connected devices by the end of the year 2020. Not only this, but the economic impact obtained from IoT is equally huge. Research suggests that the Internet of Things market is expected to reach an astonishing $11 trillion by the year 2025. All of this points to one direction- the Internet of Things is expected to become a huge potential in the coming time, thus giving rise to a whole new set of opportunities for organizations and enterprises across the world.

IoT digital devices connecting to internet
Photo: Kevin Paster, Pexels.

Businesses will be seen reluctantly jumping into the IoT market to capitalize on the growing trends and establishing more and more connected devices for people. This would mean the extension of connected devices at the household level. Right from autonomous vehicles to home security, wearable devices and everything else in between. Statistics suggest that companies could spend as much as $15 trillion in IoT by the year 2025.

IoT will become a valuable addition for businesses driving their return on investments by many folds. Not only will Java development companies be a part of it, but the fever will spread to multiple industries like clothing, healthcare, municipalities, etc. who aim to establish as many interconnected devices relevant to their streams. Research further indicates that as many as 90 percent of the senior executives in media companies believe that IoT is crucial to their growth, while there would be 80 percent of retailers willing to utilize IoT to customize store visits in 2020.

What about security?

But, amidst all the good things that IoT will bring to the table, security will be the one thing businesses need to worry about. If ignored, it will have the power to break your business without you even realizing it. The expanding number of devices in the world will pose a huge security threat to them. A large number of connected devices means large networks. These networks will find a lot of predators who would be eagerly waiting to swoop in and benefit from all the data that resides.

No doubt that IoT will establish a seamless connection and network, but so will it enhance the amount of data coming out from each device. Each of these devices will be governed by application software. The challenge, therefore, lies in devising an application software that would help data securely transmit from one device to the other without being vulnerable.

Moreover, the testing of such application software would be a tough nut to crack because it would be spread to a wide range of devices. At one end it could be connected to a smartphone, while on another end to a household automation device. The underlying issue for businesses will be to crack this and create a device-independent testing environment.

IoT isn’t all upside. While those who are already in the market understand this fact, people must know who is planning to capitalize on the market due to the shining figures. The security implications of IoT are widely recognized, but with the number and diversity of the companies involved, most choose to ignore it.

The point is that organizations have to include security as something in-built in IoT devices. Instead of building a device to perfection first and then adding a layer of security to it. Because all it will take is one vulnerability for attackers to breach the network, shut down the devices and run away with all the data. Mary O’Neill, VP of security at Nokia highlights the fact that if an unprotected IoT device is plugged into the network, it gets infected within 3 minutes or less.

Conclusion

Most organizations that are planning to venture into IoT will have to leave old embedded techniques for IoT devices because the cost, security, and update of IoT systems will be spread across a relatively small number of systems. Therefore, the responsibility of adding protection to IoT will lie on the shoulders of both hardware vendors and software vendors along with the service providers involved.