Internet of Things

Internet of Things: Security, Privacy and Trust are Key Issues

As the Internet of Things (IoT) rockets up the business agenda, technology firms are competing fiercely to stake out a leadership position in this burgeoning growth market. But success in the IoT space will take more than slick applications, connected devices and advanced analytics; it will also require a robust approach to security, privacy and trust.

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), you can believe the hype. In fact, IoT will likely be even bigger than most people think. But success in the IoT space will take more than slick applications, connected devices and advanced analytics; it will also require a robust approach to security, privacy and trust. For the technology sector, the message from businesses and consumers is clear: be innovative, be bold, and be secure.

An immediate need to drive future opportunity

According to Security and the IoT ecosystem, tech firms and IoT service providers will need to work quickly, diligently and decisively to address security, privacy and trust concerns before they turn into problems. Those that fail to do so will have a difficult time growing in this new environment.

It seems obvious that IoT will bring massive growth to those tech companies and IoT developers that are able to carve out a dominant position in this expanding market.

“Key concepts around IoT security, privacy and trust must be front-and-center for tech firms and IoT solutions developers,” Gary Matuszak, KPMG’s Global Chair Technology, Media & Telecommunications, “The ‘upside’ to cyber is coming. In fact, before too long we expect to see organizations turn cyber security prowess into real revenue opportunities by, for example, monetizing identity and usage patterns. But this, too, will come with its own inherent risks and rewards.”

Cyber security becomes a ‘must have’

Business leaders may recognize the potential advantages that IoT can offer. But they are also deeply worried about the risks; the majority admit that they don’t fully understand the cyber security threats that IoT brings. But while IoT customers may not be willing to pay extra for security, recent security breaches in consumer data and systems suggest that they will lose confidence and may even avoid solutions providers who fail to take the appropriate measures to protect their security.

Everyone wants to be ‘first out the door’ with a new IoT solution or product; 89 percent of our survey respondents said they believe that the first movers in IoT will enjoy a clear competitive advantage in their markets. Technology firms and IoT service providers are fighting to get their products out to market faster, eager to capitalize on the massive growth potential of this emerging field. The rationale is obvious. Those that are able to get to market first and solidify a dominant position in the IoT value chain should be well-placed to parlay their leadership position into rapid and sustainable growth. But the reality is that history is littered with products and ideas that placed speed-to-market over substance and, as such, quickly lost their advantage to other – less nimble but more robust – competitors. Simply put, companies will need to prioritize security alongside other key considerations such as speed and usability when developing and operating IoT solutions.

sECURITYThis reality is already being borne out. Recent revelations about security vulnerabilities in a number of newermodel automobiles have forced some major manufacturers to conduct massive recalls. Over the summer, the media was abuzz with news of hackers ‘hijacking’ cars through badly-secured software systems.

Risks and opportunities

While the ‘downside’ risk can range from data loss through to denial of service or loss of control of the device, improved security in IoT can also provide significant advantages. Our experience suggests that a strong and robust cyber security stance, commonly accepted standards and strong actions towards earning consumer trust will be key to ensuring long-term advantage and, ultimately, supporting growth. “Key concepts around IoT security, privacy and trust must be front-and-center for tech firms and IoT solutions developers,” noted Danny Le, Partner, KPMG in the US. “The ‘upside’ to cyber security is coming. In fact, before too long we expect to see organizations turn cyber security prowess into real revenue opportunities by, for example, monetizing identity and usage patterns. But this, too, will come with its own inherent risks and rewards.” Some companies are already monetizing their customers’ personal data. Telecoms companies, for example, are using customer geolocation data (with permission) to tailor offerings from 3rd party vendors such as insurers and retailers; car ‘communities’ are being created around customer driving patterns. Yet continued expansion of these models will require that all those involved in the ecosystem are able to keep that data private, secure and confidential. Those tech companies and IoT solutions developers that take a disciplined approach, investing the appropriate time and resources to integrate security, privacy and trust concepts into their IoT solutions will – ultimately – win out over those that eschew discipline in order to be first to market.

The above is an excerpt from our report on Security and the IoT ecosystem. Please feel free to download.

David Okwara
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