Celebrating Internet of Things Day (With Caution)

April 9, 2016, marks the six annual Internet of Things (IoT) Day. IoT Day is celebrated worldwide through events and discussions centered around IoT and its implications. There were IoT Day events held in more than 18 countries last year, and that number is expected to grow this year as the role of IoT in our everyday lives also grows.

IoT is the term used to describe the “concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other),” according to a Forbes report. “This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else.”

According to a Chief Executive report about IoT, “The buzz around employing advances in embedded sensors, processing, data analytics and wireless connectivity to enable the type of machine-to-machine communication that can revolutionize businesses has definitively become a roar. For manufacturers, the implications are huge. McKinsey estimates the IoT could unleash as much as $2.3 trillion in new economic value worldwide by the year 2025.”

While IoT devices have the potential to improve our lives, they also carry with them great risk. Since these devices often have access to personal data, including medical and banking information, they are very attractive to cybercriminals.

As a report on a 2015 IoT research study conducted by HP states, “A couple of security concerns on a single device such as a mobile phone can quickly turn to 50 or 60 concerns when considering multiple IoT devices in an interconnected home or business. In light of the importance of what IoT devices have access to, it’s important to understand their security risk.”

The study, which reviewed 10 of the most popular devices in some of the most common IoT niches, raises many concerns about the security of using IoT devices, with findings that included:

  • 80 percent of devices raised privacy concerns
  • 80 percent failed to require passwords of sufficient complexity and length
  • 70 percent did not encrypt communications to the Internet and local network
  • 60 percent raised security concerns with their user interfaces
  • 60 percent did not use encryption when downloading software updates

The use of IoT devices is becoming more commonplace, and this presents new security challenges for healthcare organizations. If IoT devices have not made their way into your organization yet, they likely will in the near future. It is imperative that security measures be put in place that protect patient and financial data accessed by IoT devices, and restricts the use of these devices for purposes that are carefully defined and monitored.

If you have questions about IT security, including the use of IoT devices, please contact us to schedule an appointment to have PriorityOne Group conduct a complimentary IT assessment of your organization.


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