IoT, the Internet of Things, makes headlines daily. News feeds announce the latest smartwatch, fitness wearable, smart appliance, or home security devices from a host of sources. These devices offer users the ability to monitor, control, or take action for a myriad of conditions, whether it’s calories burned or a reminder to buy milk. While the market is currently very strong from a consumer standpoint, it’s forecast to grow, especially within the Enterprise IoT market.
A 2015 Business Insider forecast looking at enterprise, home and government IoT markets found that Enterprise IoT will be the largest market. Authors indicated that 23.3 billion IoT devices will be connected by 2019 across all sectors. Of those 23.3 billion devices, the connected enterprise market will account for 40% of the total or 9.1 billion devices, making it the largest of the three IoT sectors.
Enterprise sectors will experience a 5-year 40% CAGR according to the authors
Source: Business Insider
But with so many devices talking to one another, it’s important for businesses to create secure networks to avoid a meltdown. The liability of a business includes not only their personal assets but protecting the personal information of their customers. Weak security on any one device offers a tunnel into corporate IT assets. Recent security breaches like Target’s 2013 credit card reader breach that exposed the contact information of 70 million customers, including 40 million credit and debit card accounts, gives enterprise businesses pause. Target paid a steep price for this hack including a 46% drop in Q4 profits and a reported $162 million expense for bank-related costs. These costs don’t even include expenses due to pending class action lawsuits, loss of customer goodwill, and future business.
Enterprise IT security professionals charged with protecting the “family jewels” have taken notice of one significant strategy to minimize or avoid such breaches to their connected devices: network independence. Realizing every IoT device, whether a temperature monitor or robotic controller, connected to a company’s IT network offers a breach potential. Devices that operate independent of a company’s IT network offers a potential firewall from hackers. One way to disconnect from a site’s IT network is to use cellular technology.
Cellular-connected devices rely on national cellular carriers to transmit data to secure data center servers, completely bypassing the web which can be vulnerable. So long as cellular service is available, battery-backed devices, like the TempAlert Cellular Edition, will continue to safely communicate and send data. And unlike site IT networks that often become disabled when site electrical power is interrupted, cellular data communication continues to provide an uninterrupted stream, which is especially critical for reporting and regulatory purposes. Onboard device memory combined with redundant, geographically dislocated secure servers help assure complete records are maintained.
Cellular communication accomplishes two mission-critical security needs. First, it’s independent of enterprise IT networks; hacking into a company’s cellular device is very difficult, doing so does not compromise a company’s IT network. Second, battery-backed and battery-powered devices continue to operate, collect and broadcast critical data even when site electrical power is lost. High value materials such as vaccines and high risk products such as seafood, meat and dairy are vulnerable when freezers and coolers stop operating properly. Alert and alarm messages can provide IT and business managers with critical data even when site IT networks and electrical power are lost. Because they operate independently from those IT networks, they protect the enterprise from IoT attacks.
When it comes to IT strategies, decoupling mission critical IoT devices makes sense. Whether cellular or other strategies are employed. Such an approach allows IT security managers to get a good night’s sleep knowing when something goes wrong, they or their staff will safely, securely be informed.