IoT provides opportunities but companies need to consider connectivity and security

The Internet of Things (IOT) offers many opportunities for businesses. IoT connected devices can make production processes more efficient, reduce maintenance and provide data to better control a business. They can also provide new ways to interact with and boost revenues from customers.

To implement any of these possibilities research by McKinsey and Company points out that companies need to give detailed thought to the actual connections being used. Companies might need mobile, WiFi or even satellite connectivity for their devices. Speed and data size are also important considerations. Last, but not least, management needs to give thought to security and reliability.

McKinsey points out that a customer who loses access to a device is more likely to blame the supplier of the device than the data network operator. They use the example of a car with GPS navigation. If the driver loses access in a remote area they are more likely to feel let down by the car manufacturer than the internet provider being used by the car company.

Security is also key. McKinsey note in their research that as IoT implementation increases, so will threats from hackers. When companies are trying to determine how well connectivity providers can combat such intrusions, they should focus on three areas: infrastructure, endpoint security, and encryption techniques.

In relation to infrastructure, McKinsey suggest a focus on security issues such as traffic separation, access management and firewalls. Companies should also gauge how quickly providers can respond to hacker intrusions.

Cybersecurity threats suggest a need for endpoint security such as asking device users to enter passwords before connecting a device to IoT and would thus need providers who can support this capability.

Cryptography — the process of transforming plain text into encrypted text — is essential to protecting the integrity of data transmitted over IoT and keeping them confidential. McKinsey recommends that businesses seek connectivity providers with encryption methods that allow for agility — in other words, those that can easily adapt and evolve in response to an attack.

For more on the Internet of Things and security see our BI Research report The Connected World

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