IoT introduces a host of security issues for businesses.

Security still a huge barrier for IoT adoption

The Internet of Things has great implications for businesses and consumers alike, but the issue of security still holds the industry back. There are many advantages to connecting devices to the Web. A consumer with smart lighting installed can set the lights to come on after the sun sets, which could protect the home from break ins. This homeowner could also make sure the lights are turned off if he or she left in a hurry that morning. These are obvious great advancements. On the other hand, with more devices connected to the Web each day, experts are wondering how to prevent potential breaches.

“Cybercrime is on the rise, and IoT could be one of the culprits”

The need for IoT security
While almost everyone has had the experience of a stolen credit card, but having someone hack into your smart lock or vehicle is another thing entirely. You can cancel a card and get your money back. If someone opens your locks remotely and makes off with your most expensive belongings, where will you be then? As connected cars begin to grab headlines, other concerns arise. For instance, if someone was able to hack into an operating system, would this criminal be able to operate the car remotely? These are the issues the industry is working to solve.

The fact is, cybercrime is on the rise, and IoT could be one of the culprits, according to a recent study from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm’s “Global Economic Crime Survey 2016: U.K.” report found more than half of U.K. firms anticipated they would experience cybercrime within the next two years. As the report pointed out, by hacking into connected devices rather than financial information, these criminals could go after the kinds of data that could really bring a business down, like intellectual property or operational data.

Businesses are unprepared
While businesses are adapting connected devices to increase efficiency, most organizations aren’t prepared for a security breach that comes through these avenues. A recent study from AT&T found 85 percent of organizations worldwide plan to implement some type of IoT strategy. Nearly 70 percent of businesses have at 1,000 or more connected devices already, while nearly one-third have 5,000 or more. Unfortunately, the vast majority of business executives – 90 percent – don’t have confidence in their IoT security. If connected devices will increase efficiency and help to make companies more profitable, these organizations first need to broach the security issue – or risk a breach that shutters them for good.

How to approach the issue
One solution to cybercrime overall is to start thinking about security during the design process rather than afterward. These devices should be secure before they even hit the market. However, when hackers see data they want, they will inevitably find a way around security measures to gain access to it. In the future, we are likely to see machine-learning algorithms being used to combat IoT security threats. Algorithms will learn users’s behaviors over time to more effectively detect fraudulent activity. Once companies tackle the security issues, the promise of IoT won’t be far behind.