Securing Things

As the promise and scale of IoT continues to be fulfilled, interesting implications – and business opportunities – creep out of the woodwork. Any proposition to create exponential growth in the number of active IP addresses in the world will also give rise to a new potential security disaster. Since a requirement of these Things will inevitably be connectivity and even in-field updating – coupled with their mass appeal due to low pricing and low computation requirements – many of these systems will likely be left with relatively open digital doors.

However, unlike a hacked computer system that can unveil user data and expose potential identity theft or enable financial loss, the IoT movement could open us to much more extreme scenarios: failing brakes, stopped pacemakers, houses set ablaze, or worse. While countless thinkers have identified and talked through the opportunities and implications on the hackers and criminals of the world, few people have talked about how we will fight back. And if the IoT market is set to be worth trillions within the next 10 years, even at a fraction of that, one can very easily estimate a multi-billion dollar security market emerging around IoT.

In theory, the most obvious choice to meet this emerging need will be existing digital security firms. However, as previously mentioned, the implications of IoT security will be significantly higher than computer security (think data versus death), that it raises the question of whether or not these firms will be up to the task. Would you trust Norton with securing a life-or-death medical device? Do you feel confident with McAfee protecting your children at home? When your self-driving car goes AWOL, will Kaspersky save the day?

Or, as the stakes get higher, do the demands and expectations that we have of our securers also rise? Does the IoT movement usher in a new era of digital security as well as open the door to opportunity for new entrants, for established security firms to pivot and evolve their brand, or trusted digital brands to establish a new offering around securing your IoT?

Is your company in one of these categories and, if so, how will you make the leap?

Shane Saunderson is the VP of IC/things at Idea Couture.

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