The Internet of Things (IoT) is now more than just a buzzword in the IT department. The interconnection of a host of devices, and how the data from those can be leveraged, is now an issue for the C-suite and organisations at large.
By 2020, there will be 50 billion 'things' grouped together across the world, or over 6 for every person on the face of the earth, according to statistics collated by Cisco. That may sound like a scary prospect in itself, but how will all of these potential touch points affect businesses?
Well, in short, enterprise security will grow more complex.
Any 'thing' could present an access point to potential intruders.
Digital meets physical
The reason behind the shift is due to the fact that the IoT will represent a melding of both the physical and digital worlds.
"The IoT now penetrates to the edge of the physical world and brings an important new 'physical' element to security concerns. This is especially true as billions of things begin transporting data," explained Gartner research vice president Ganesh Ramamoorthy.
Moreover, what actually constitutes a 'thing' is open to debate, which makes security in the IoT age a moving target. In the past, enterprises may have been able to actively track exactly what devices tapped into their networks.
While it's still possible, the scale of the IoT means that information security will be a top concern. Effectively, any 'thing' could present an access point to potential intruders.
— Gartner (@Gartner_inc) August 31, 2015
Research collated by Wind River found that the biggest challenge of the IoT is ensuring that the inner network of the enterprise remains secure, along with the connection to any devices. How can organisations make sure that this is the case? Through sound strategic planning processes.
Enterprise security is only going to get more complex, and having it ingrained within every company process is the most thorough way to ensure that information is kept safe.
"Moving forward, enterprises should consider reshaping IT or cybersecurity strategies to incorporate known digital business goals and seek participation in digital business strategy and planning," Mr Ramamoorthy surmised.
Ultimately, securing the enterprise in the face of the IoT will be a complex process. There is unlikely to be any silver bullet solution developed over the next few years. Alternatively, companies will need to take a more overarching view of information security, and ingrain it within wider business practices.