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Successful IoT strategies are built on a digital foundation that rethinks security

Recently, I attended Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo in NYC (June 7-9) and I found the content to be interesting and thoughtful for companies that are planning their future success.

Like most conferences, there was a lot of chatter about IoT app development, consumer trends, and security with a smattering of privacy concerns and thoughts. More interesting to me were the sessions on identifying how to develop and bring to fruition new lines of business and how non-IT businesses may actually benefit the most from IoT. For instance, the majority of the work today in IoT is occurring in transportation, infrastructure, and environmental scenarios. Second, the marketing aspects of IoT are an important "pillar" to the success of IoT in a "Big Data" way.

With all of the Internet-connected devices, sensors and appliances establishing new or more real-time benefits, many industries like healthcare, energy, transportation, and citizen services need to address serious concerns about privacy and intellectual property protection. According to the latest public statements, the FTC believes that general authorities used to protect data privacy can cover IoT without specific new laws. Information security compliance programs such as FedRAMP and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can help. Other known FTC regulatory findings such as the Wyndham case can offer partial guidance for the IoT and cloud markets.

Although it is still too early for any additional regulations, it is important for organizations to balance their IoT strategy with existing security and privacy standards - otherwise they risks losing their return on investment (ROI).

IoT in Focus
Key takeaways from the Cloud and IoT conference:

  • Successful IoT strategies are built on a digital foundation that rethinks security from the perspective of how the organization is monetizing the sensor data.
  • Digital foundations need to address data migration and data management across multi-vendor platforms for both cost reduction and cyber protection.
  • Cyber security and privacy strategies may need to address risk and liability issues related to the re-use and / or sale of pre-existing sensors or established sensor data.
  • Mobile use and mobile marketing should be tied to the monetization of IoT

IoT Could Change the Security Paradigm
The implications of IoT extend to privacy issues. CEOs should be concerned about the use and the potential loss of personal data. Along with this C-suite consideration, company executives must determine the accompanying liabilities, cyber security investments, and the privacy implications of the information, data and analysis.

Due diligence suggests that the C-suite should review privacy protection claims by partners and providers to minimize liability risk.  Whether physical tools, marketing dashboards or streaming data analytics, Corporate Executives and IT leaders will need to consider which streams of information result in new Intellectual Property (IP) and which can be sold as a revenue stream to partners. The likely results with IoT in use will be new information protection practices related to non-centralized computing at the "fog" and "cloud" locations.

As a result, there will be a need for creative pre-engineered defenses (NIST SP 800-160), liability mitigation awareness (NIST SP 800-171), and isolation techniques for meeting early-stage IoT business strategies and successful return on investment.

Meeting compliance standards even with guidance such as NIST and ISO will require security architecture decisions that focus on the planned and discovered revenue generators.

About Maria C. Horton
Maria C. Horton, CISSP, ISSMP, IAM, is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of EmeSec Incorporated. She founded EmeSec in 2003 after retiring from two decades as a Navy Officer where she rose to the rank of Commander. As a hands-on cybersecurity expert, she grew the company to become a leading provider of Cloud Security and Engineering Services delivering cyber assessments, protections and business enablement.

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