Many people take the term “Internet of Things” too literally, and assume that IoT is about the things, themselves. But they’re missing the whole point! It’s not the “things” that makes IoT special. After all, connected devices are neither new nor particularly interesting, particularly since the data each individual item produces is of little value. But by networking these devices together, IoT enables us to benefit from their ability to combine simple data to produce usable intelligence. In turn, that intelligence can be used by businesses to increase operational efficiency, and by individuals to make life easier and more comfortable.
But despite the many benefits of IoT, the billions of connected sensors, devices, and other smart objects it comprises will also dramatically increase the diversity of threats we will face. As a result, securely embracing IoT will require a multi-layer approach to security – including cloud, perimeter, physical, and device-level security, as well as end-to-end data encryption.
Ensuring that we can reap the overwhelming benefits of IoT without undermining security isn’t going to happen on its own; it will take strong leadership and a great deal of teamwork throughout the industry. That’s why I’m proud that Chris Young, Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Security, recently topped the list as one of the top 100 thought leaders for IoT! It will take leaders like Chris, who have a strong understanding of security and a passion for IoT, to help ensure that we can securely embrace IoT.
I honestly expect IoT to change the world in a variety of ways. But truly harnessing its power requires that we inspire and cultivate a true culture of security throughout every level of the extended network – which means that leadership and teamwork will be far more valuable than the technology, itself.