Webinar Review

IoT goals, applications and challenges with emphasis on security and private networks

WebinarIT Pros Weigh in on IoT’s Role in Transforming Enterprises
DateJune 04, 2020
OrganizerIoT-Now and Syniverse
ModeratorJeremy Cowan, Editorial Director & Publisher, IoT Now & VanillaPlus
PresentersDavid Hassman, VP Strategy, Syniverse
Dan Klaeren, Senior Product Management Director, Syniverse
Linkhttps://www.iot-now.com/it-pros-weigh-in-on-iots-role-in-transforming-enterprises/

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a great enabler for businesses looking to transform their products and services and increase customer satisfaction. Internal IoT adoption additionally provides companies with opportunities for increased competitiveness through operational efficiency and cost savings.

During 2020 Syniverse conducted a survey by polling 200 IT professionals belonging to large enterprises (with over 1000 employees). Five industry verticals were roughly equally represented: Finance, Transportation, Health, Manufacturing and Retail, operating mostly from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK. The survey uncovered goals and use-cases in IoT adoption, as well as challenges and concerns.

This report summarizes a webinar organized by IoT Now and Syniverse which reported the survey results. The webinar was well organized and informative. Reflecting on the key messages as presented, I find that further discussion is required to properly interpret some of the results.

Goals and Applications

Top three main goals in IoT deployment were found to be improved efficiency and productivity (54%), improved product and service quality (48%), and improved customer retention and experience (35%). Interestingly, during the webinar, just before presenting this finding, webinar participants were polled for the same question, revealing similar results. Note the mix of external and internal goals for adoption.

Top three use-cases were reported as connected security – cameras, locks, alarms (70%), workplace safety and other smart building systems (64%) and remote payment terminals (53%). These are all internal use-cases. This seems contradictory to above goals. But I believe this is easily explained by the fact those use-cases are common to almost all companies no matter the type. Whereas the next use-cases on the list including asset tracking, predictive maintenance, and fleet management depend on company type.

Challenges

50% of survey participants reported security as a challenge to IoT adoption, followed by concerns about integration with legacy IT networks (44%) and complexity of integration with business processes at 40%. Security ranking high in IoT adoption challenges is not a new finding (see for example Gartner’s report).

But the survey further checked top security concerns and found them to be ransomware and malware (58%), data theft and financial loss (55%), and accidental data and intellectual property leakage (52%). Note the overlap between these. I think malware and ransomware are a very easy and prominent reason to cite by a survey respondent as the stories are well known.

Private Networks

The webinar then continued to discuss main communication technologies employed as part of IoT deployments and found them to be cellular (68%), short range wireless (63%), followed by fixed, LPWAN and satellite. After the webinar I noted the Syniverse website boasting “the largest private network ever built for linking to the mobile ecosystem.”

The survey further found that private networks are implemented by many companies to address security concerns. 46% of respondents reported already using a private network such as private LTE, and 40% reported plans to do so in the coming year. Main reasons for private network implementation were security and privacy, better data management and control, and easier integration with existing IT systems. Reasons for not using a private network were mainly cost, geographical coverage and lack of expertise.

It seems this part of the survey and presentation coincides with the Syniverse product offering. The webinar has not made that apparent, although it was obvious by the relative weight the topic of private network was given in latter stages of the presentation.

Conclusion

The presentation part ended with a summary reinforcing the narrative of IoT adoption for a wide range of IoT applications being hindered by security concerns which are found to be addressed through private networks implementation. A 10-minute Q&A session concluded what I found to be a professionally prepared and well delivered webinar.

One must of course realize, granted the described goals and challenges, that other IoT providers or related industries incumbents could tailor the last part of the discussion to reinforce solutions other than private networks. SASE is one example. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)  a term coined by Gartner, is a disruptive network and network security architecture for meeting enterprise connectivity and security needs through a suite of cloud services. As such it encompasses IoT edge devices as much as it does any other company asset.

IoT security is a complicated challenge. There is no silver bullet. It is only natural that the business world will offer multiple viewpoints for addressing it. Guidance should further be sought through relevant certification and compliance initiatives offered by government and various other agencies as well as academic research.

References

Cowan, J., Hassman, D. & Klaeren, D., 2020. Webinar: IT Pros Weigh in on IoT’s Role in Transforming Enterprises. [Online]
Available at: https://www.iot-now.com/it-pros-weigh-in-on-iots-role-in-transforming-enterprises/
[Accessed 4 6 2020].

Crist, R., 2016. New study details a security flaw with Philips Hue smart bulbs. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cnet.com/news/new-study-details-a-security-flaw-with-philips-hue-smart-bulbs/

Franceschi-Bicchierai, L., 2016. Blame the Internet of Things for Destroying the Internet Today. [Online]
Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vv7xg9/blame-the-internet-of-things-for-destroying-the-internet-today

Gartner, 2019. IoT Opportunities and Challenges in 2019 and Beyond. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gartner.com/en/webinars/26641/iot-opportunities-and-challenges-in-2019-and-beyond

Hay Newman, L., 2018. A New Pacemaker Hack Puts Malware Directly on the Device. [Online]
Available at: https://www.wired.com/story/pacemaker-hack-malware-black-hat/

IoT Security Foundation, 2020. IoT Security Foundation Publications. [Online]
Available at: https://www.iotsecurityfoundation.org/best-practice-guidelines/

Judd, M., 2020. Secure Your Enterprise IT from IoT Onslaught. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gartner.com/en/webinars/3891492/secure-your-enterprise-it-from-iot-onslaught

Lerner, A., 2019b. Say Hello to SASE (Secure Access Service Edge). [Online]
Available at: https://blogs.gartner.com/andrew-lerner/2019/12/23/say-hello-sase-secure-access-service-edge/

Syniverse, 2020b. The world’s most connected company. [Online]
Available at: https://www.syniverse.com/about

Syniverse, 2020. IoT is transforming the enterprise. Find out how your peers are doing it. [Online]
Available at: https://www.syniverse.com/insights/iot-is-transforming-the-enterprise-find-out-how-your-peers-are-doing-it

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2016. Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things (IoT). [Online]
Available at: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Strategic_Principles_for_Securing_the_Internet_of_Things-2016-1115-FINAL_v2-dg11.pdf

Zurkus, K., 2019. ICS Ethernet Switches Littered with Flaws. [Online]
Available at: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/ics-ethernet-switches-littered-1/

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