What Is The Internet Of Things And Why Is It A Threat To Your Company's Security?

30 November 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog

You've probably heard the term "the Internet of Things" (IoT) but do you know what it means for you and your company's security? As the IoT gets larger and more sophisticated, every day that you don't fully understand the growing implications for your company's cyber security, the more vulnerable your company becomes. This is what you should know, just to get started.

What Is the Internet of Things?

The basic concept is that almost everything from the copier to the company toaster—anything that has an on and off switch—has the potential of connecting to the internet and each other remotely. More and more items come with some form of Wi-Fi capability. It's estimated that 6.4 billion "things" are connected to something else in 2016, which is a whopping 30% increase since just 2015! 

Many companies, regardless of the industry involved, are excited about the increased productivity and ease of use brought about by machine-to-machine connections. At some point, you may realize that you haven't ordered supplies in a long time for the copier—but it hasn't run out because the equipment is accessing the internet and ordering supplies for itself. Waste and inefficiency can be reduced and productivity can be increased, all because algorithms can be run constantly on your working behavior and help you understand what you can do to make things better.

The IoT also changes the capacity for employees and executives alike to take their business with them everywhere they go. There's little need, these days, to "run to the office" for something because everything that's needed to keep operating is probably available through Cloud storage and transportable gadgets

What Does This Mean for Cyber Security?

Unfortunately, the IoT is a walking nightmare for cyber security experts. Your employees are more than likely wearing in items that are part of the IoT, without a conscious thought of the potential danger they represent. Your CFO's Fitbit, for example, has the potential of being hacked and somebody could use it to ferret out details of his or her sleep pattern and gym schedules. If you're thinking, "So what?" consider this: that's a great bit of information to know if you're considering kidnapping the CFO for a ransom or ransacking his or her office for company documents.

As hackers grow more sophisticated, traditional cyber security systems respond by trying to take away the usual avenues of attack. In this case, however, the hackers may be able to get creative and walk through the door on your cleaning person's iPod. 

What Steps Should You Take Next?

If your company hasn't seriously begun to tackle the task of drawing up cyber security plans and finding ways to protect itself against the legal implication of a cyber security breach, it's already time to start. You need to start with a cyber security expert who can help draft "safe practices" for the management of the IoT. You also need legal counsel that can help you make sure that your policies stay compliant with this rapidly evolving area of the law, including how to best protect you legally in the event of a cyber attack and loss.

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