‘The Internet of Things’ is a term you’ll now be familiar with.
What is the one striking feature of this world-changing term that stands out?
Uncertainty. Utter uncertainty. Not many fundamental predicted changes to the human race have been labelled ‘things’. It’s essentially an admission that we don’t really know what is going to happen next.
Such uncertainty on an industrial scale creates both frightening threats and huge opportunity. However one of the immediate and first human reactions to uncertainty is to protect ourselves, secure ourselves against forces unknown at a global, national and personal level. However when it comes to the Internet of Things (IOT), it seems cyber security is not necessarily everyone’s priority. In fact, “only 1/3 of global business leaders see cyber security as an absolute priority” (BT Cyber Security research). But perhaps this in itself identifies yet another uncertainty – how do you begin to form a security strategy against a threat that you can’t yet anticipate?
So in light of this I have considered 4 areas of opportunity that I believe Security can offer;
1) Re-position and re-consider Security
Within the IoT business eco system, security is the refinery that will distil your data and enable it to reach all the key areas. Secure and protected software platforms will be a welcomed part of the business eco system capturing, aggregating and exchanging data at unimaginable speeds and scale creating new economies in the blink of an eye. Exciting, very exciting but what if they are not secure? When considered like this, CEOs may start to connect share price and security in a very new light.
2) Be ready for anything
The modern CEO knows the days of setting out one clear, bold course of direction are gone. The future might be uncertain but, like General Eric K. Shinseki remarked, CEOs can be sure of one thing, if their organisation “[does not] like change, it will like irrelevance even less”. As the IT industry continues to move from closed to more open architecture the fast-changing technical, legal and security landscape will require creativity, versatility and vision. By being ready for anything, businesses will allow the IOT opportunities to come knocking.
3) Take the opportunity to be a leader and a policy maker
Spare a thought for the policy makers. Not a common sentiment but in times of such extreme change a sense of common responsibility and purpose is required. Where will anything start or stop in the IOT?
Where will legal responsibility ultimately lie when a security flaw in the IOT occurs? What can or can’t be insured against in the IOT? What rights will robots have compared to humans? Who owns what data when?
Security (and Interoperability) within the IOT can only work on a shared collaborative foundation. Tim Berners-Lee has called for a ‘bill of rights’ to set out guidelines for appropriate use of the Internet, so how long until a change in legislation is enforced? Keeping an organisation ahead of these changes will be a challenge, but establishing yourself as a leader in the policy making field will bring reward. Not just for the practical first mover advantages, but for the mindset and behaviour that will make an organisation a valuable, relevant and effective player in the IOT’s business eco-system.
4) Make Security your USP, and share it with everyone
In 1958 Swedish car maker Volvo developed a 3-point seat belt that could have been patented and made them hundreds of millions in the then burgeoning car industry. Volvo instead chose to share the invention, such was their belief in the importance of safety. It has saved millions of lives and the Volvo brand remains globally recognized for its core value of safety. Not withstanding these 2 incredible achievements, perhaps most impressive of all is that Volvo showed a sense of collaboration 50 years before it became de facto.
So in 2015 turn road safety into online security, and see what opportunity exists for you to make security your organisation’s USP.
Let it be known that when it comes to facing the Internet of ‘Threats’ your business is leading the battle. Secure in the knowledge that a great new world of opportunity will follow.