IoT Security Concerns: Consumer vs. Corporate Viewpoints

IoT security concerns are very different between corporates and consumers.

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Secure lock behind the words

IoT seems to be the fastest growing segment in the tech sector, with consumers and enterprises alike rushing to buy and enjoy the many benefits of connected devices. As is often the case, consumers are leading this charge and adopting this new technology at a much faster rate than their employers.

More than 700 million IoT products have been deployed in the U.S alone, and the quick adoption rate is not slowing down. But the risks embodied by connected devices are not the same for consumers and enterprises.

The Greatest Consumer Risk is Privacy

Connected devices in the home have brought a level of privacy risk that has never been seen before; it’s like living in a house with glass walls and inviting everyone to look in. Smart, connected devices can record the voices, movements, weight and eating habits of the home’s inhabitants. A recent survey indicates that nearly 50 percent of US consumers have information on their Internet-connected devices that would be harmful to friends, family or business associates. Moreover, 59 percent fear that one of their Internet-connected products could be used by a hacker as part of a cyber-attack.

If consumers are aware of the problem, it isn’t stopping them from buying more devices. And with the adoption of IoT security solutions still fairly low, it appears that consumers are willing to take a ”calculated risk” in regard to their privacy. You could even say that privacy is the currency they are willing to trade for more connectivity. But what might be acceptable for the home environment would not be so welcome at the enterprise.

IoT Devices Increase the Enterprise Attack Surface

IoT for the enterprise isn’t the same as IoT for the home, psychologically or operationally. Enterprises do not fall for hype, tending to invest in new technologies only if they offer concrete value, be it revenue generation, improved customer satisfaction or reduced wear and tear.

Having gone through a “digital transformation” period in recent years, enterprises have developed methodologies for implementing disruptive new technologies — including assessing the risk vs. the gains.

The main risk of using IoT devices in the enterprise environment is that a hacker could break into the corporate network and steal sensitive employee/customer information. Enterprises acknowledge this, with 59% of respondents to a recent survey highlighting security as a barrier to the adoption of IoT solutions within the enterprise. Another survey shows that 46% of respondents intend to invest in IoT security in 2018.

This demonstrates that enterprises are well aware of the risks involved in deploying IoT devices to rapidly, including not just potential hacks, but also compliance and legal liabilities.

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Different, but the Same?

Although there are significant differences between consumers’ and enterprises’ attitudes toward IoT, the two can still learn from one another. Consumers may want to adopt a more cautious approach to new technologies, and enterprises should emphasize not just “hard” risks but also the “softer” risk of privacy breach. After all, enterprises have employees, who are also concerned about their privacy.

Both consumers and enterprises should strive for better security of IoT devices and should demand this from IoT service providers. The IoT is ushering in an “always connected, always on” era, and for the first time enterprises and consumers will be fighting the same enemy: the IoT hacker.  We must all adopt a new mindset to deal with this novel challenge, in order to ensure that IoT Security concerns will remain just that, and not manifest into real attacks.

Written by Yotam Gutman, VP marketing at SecuriThings