The Importance of Security When Using the Internet of Things
What is one thing that phones, tablets, computers, vehicles, watches, and kitchen appliances all have in common? They all give us internet capabilities, and are in many cases, all connected to each other through various applications and software! Nearly every gadget and gizmo we own operates in a network of connectivity that gives us the ability to simplify our busy lives and do more with our days. We call this level of connection between devices the Internet of Things. While this relatively new phenomenon in technology has many excellent advantages for us to partake in, it stands to reason that the issues of privacy and protection must be addressed.
According to Business Insider, it is likely that we will have 24 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things by the year 2020. That's a lot of devices to keep track of and safe from hackers and thieves of all sorts! So what is being done currently to make certain of everyone's internet safety now and in the near future?
First, we must address the four major concerns that the public has with IoT; these are 1) the staggering volume of incoming and outgoing data from IoT technology, 2) unwanted public profiles, 3) concerns about corporate and governmental entities spying and/or eavesdropping, and 4) a general lack of confidence in the IoT compatible products themselves. The sheer volume of incoming and outgoing data is a major concern because of what it takes to store and organize data, let alone make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands and cause reasons #2 and #3. Lack of confidence in IoT compatible products is also a concern because of 1) lack of IoT compatible products currently on the market, and 2) lack of quality and security in the products currently available. Think back for a moment to around 2012 when many PS3 gaming systems were hacked, causing online users to lose a lot of important personal data. This created widespread outrage, and was only from one device. Imagine now a household full of devices all carrying the users' personal data. These are the things the public is concerned about, and rightfully so.
This is also one of the biggest concerns for businesses developing and selling IoT products. How does one overcome such a massive hurdle in gaining the public's trust?
The top priority of IoT product development companies is dealing with concerns about hackers. Only 10% of companies creating such products have full enough confidence that hackers will not destroy their attempts at building trust with the public. Thus, companies need to develop products that enable users to develop things such as secure passwords, ways to encrypt all personal data, and, in the case of emergency, be able to contact the company's security department to stop hackers in their tracks. This should work much like Lifelock does for people's bank accounts and credit cards. Every detail should be monitored on a 24/7 basis every day of the year. While no piece of technology is absolutely unhackable, companies developing IoT compatible devices have the unique opportunity and cross to bear of keeping as far ahead of all hackers' tricks as they can.
Yes, people's trust is a major hurdle for companies developing IoT tech to contend with. However, it is pertinent to have a handle on the issue of privacy first before trying to sell such technology to the public. The basics of business is developing strong relationships between the consumer and the company; that is done through trust. People have to know what they are getting is something amazing that does its job without creating bigger problems, especially in the area of privacy and personal data.
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