Internet on Things (IoT) is a buzzword today, people are talking about it and there has been exploration on how it will affect businesses and individuals. Internet on Things denotes a situation where virtually all the electronic devices from phones, cars, refrigerators, television sets, and many others, will be connected to the internet. There has been an upsurge in the number of devices which are connected to the internet; the trend is expected to continue with a total of 50 billion devices in 2020. However progressive, innovative and promising this trend seem, there are security concerns about this development. There has been a significant rise in the number of security risks that consumers and businesses have to deal with. A device which is connected to the internet has the possibility of being compromised in turn becoming an avenue through which cyber attacks can access an enterprise’s information system. Internet on Things exposes a business to a host of IT vulnerabilities of which, if not properly managed, can lead to heavy losses.
The opportunities presented by Internet on Things cannot be overemphasized; it holds a great potential to turn things around, advance and empower individuals and businesses. It presents a huge opportunity for businesses to develop new products and services as well as offering increased satisfaction and convenience to customers. With Internet on Things car owners will be able to lock and unlock their vehicles, as well as start the automobile using an internet enabled phone. When looking at logistics, every package will be monitored through every step giving the sender real time information on its movement. The medical environment will benefit with real time information, where patient data will be transmitted to users who need it on a real time basis. Farming will also benefit through this development, it will be possible to track the location of animals, and get their health condition using a remotely enabled device. The possibilities presented by the Internet on Things are real and enormous. The threats and IT vulnerabilities presented by this development require businesses and consumers to plan ahead, so that they are not overwhelmed by the system and end up losing.
Businesses and individual users need to be prepared for these threats. They need to be aware of the risks that are inherent in an Internet on Things environment. Cyber attacks can have serious effects on a business. If the business relies on the internet to connect and interact with the consumers, a denial of service attack means that consumers cannot access the website or particular data. This will lead to frustrated customers, followed by loss of revenue, dissatisfied customers and the business gaining a bad reputation. IT security needs to be enhanced to ensure that the system is not compromised, to make sure that the customers can access the website at all times, their private details are safe and their security is ensured, without this, IoT will be the worst nightmare to happen to any business. A business should not only concentrate on cyber attacks, but also physical attacks can threaten smooth running in an Internet on Things environment. There is a need to install security cameras which have strong enhancements. The businesses will need to focus a lot of attention on physical attacks which can be metered on devices which are in remote locations. This means strengthening the physical security where unauthorized access is prevented to internet on things enabled devices which are located outside secured areas. This includes HVAC systems which may be compromised when security systems are not strong enough. Using an Internet of Things enabled device, it is possible to adjust the HVAC system remotely. When the system gets compromised, someone malicious can adjust the temperature remotely. This can pose a great danger to the occupants, where they may be exposed to environmental conditions which are not conducive. The system may malfunction posing great dangers, where the occupants are subjected to harsh and extreme conditions, some life threatening. Compromised security cameras can have great effect on a business. When they are used in a business to monitor employees’ activities as well as ensure there is security. Any compromise exposes the business to theft both internally and externally.
Internet on Things presents a huge opportunity for connectivity, innovation and upscaling business operations, but it also exposes an enterprise to serious threats and risks which, if not managed effectively, can have serious effects on the business. There is a need to put in place security measures that will ensure smooth operations even with the anticipated level of connectivity.