Digital Trust in the era of IoT
In the post-pandemic world, one technology enabler that will witness the greatest level of adoption is the Internet of Things. We have reached an inflection point in the IoT adoption journey and are now staring at a hockey stick growth curve in terms of the number of endpoints and use case diversity. So is it a smooth journey from here on? The answer unfortunately is a no.
Security: the foundation of digital trust and exponential growth
To capitalize on the demand for IoT-enabled data, various stakeholders often overlook security. This creates an enticing environment for hackers to exploit leading to multiple problems in areas such as return on investments and value accretion. IoT devices operate on the cusp of real and virtual worlds and with security being accorded little or no priority, these devices turn into conduits for hackers to enter, exploit, and exit at will. Such devices can also be used by hackers to launch Denial of Service attacks on third-party infrastructure causing more damage while attracting legal ramifications.
Subex’s research has shown how hackers latch on to IoT projects at a very early stage such as proof of concept or pilot and stick around to monitor the networks patiently waiting for data or asset of interest to appear on the network or the connected infrastructure. They also deploy a range of malware and trojans to keep the network under watch for long periods.
Such challenges can create trust concerns for various stakeholders including end-users, investors, employees, and vendors. Thus, security concerns must be addressed not just according to compliance norms but as per the prevailing threat environment and projected changes in this environment in the near term and future. Creating an environment of digital trust in an IoT project requires investments and a deep understanding of the threat environment and its implications.
Improving digital trust in the IoT world can lead to a range of benefits. To begin with, projects at various stages will benefit immensely as the improved security posture will help ensure disruption-free operations and thereby improve stakeholder confidence. Start-ups can expect more access to funding options and innovative projects in established businesses can expect to mobilize more funds from internal sources.
On the whole, the digital economy of a nation itself can stand to benefit from such granular attention to IoT security and digital trust. Today, many vital business streams and infrastructure sectors are relying on IoT to some measure and this dependency will increase in the days to come. Investments in IoT security will help guide better outcomes for these streams and sectors thereby having a cascading effect on the economy.
Important considerations for improving IoT security outcomes and digital trust
- Align security needs to the highest internal standards
- Invest in devices and other infrastructure components for value rather than cost savings
- IoT security should be viewed as a conduit for enabling digital trust
- All stakeholders should be sensitized towards security mandates and considerations
- Building digital trust should be an ongoing exercise with investments, resources, and attention coming from all stakeholders at all times
- Opportunities for improving security posture should be a key area of attention
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