Not skeptical anymore: IT has serious concerns about connected devices

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Wearables and other connected devices that make up what’s known as the Internet of Things (IoT) have long been more hype than substance. But now most IT pros agree these devices could pose serious security risks.

SpiceWorks followed up a 2014 survey on IoT with a new report, 2016 IoT Trends: The Devices have Landed. Right off the bat, the survey finds that the idea of connected devices being a consumer-only concern isn’t the case. Only 20% said it was mostly a consumer trend, 4% thought it primarily affected businesses and three-quarters (75%) said that it would affect both consumers and the workplace.

Despite this, more than half of companies (55%) aren’t preparing for IoT in the workplace, the study found.

Laying the groundwork

Of those who are preparing for IoT, most are going at least partially with a training approach. Preparations included:

  • Educating users about the risks (68% doing so already, 26% preparing to do so)
  • Investing in security solutions (47% doing so already, 39% preparing to do so)
  • Investing in infrastructure (43% doing so already, 43% preparing to do so), and
  • Expanding bandwidth (39% doing so already, 39% preparing to do so).

But, as mentioned earlier, not everyone is on board with these preparations. And the primary reasons seemed to be economic in nature.

Nearly half (46%) said they didn’t see a return on investment or value in monitoring IoT devices. Budget concerns  prevented 41% from doing so. Another 38% said they didn’t have enough staff or resources to tackle the problem.

Hardware security issues

One of the biggest worries with IoT devices, of course is just how insecure they can be. Earlier reports have found that these devices are plagued with security shortcomings. Many times, the devices aren’t manufactured with best-in-class security, or if they are, the updates stop coming long before the security risks do.

Many companies try to address this risk with a quarantine approach. Forty-one percent said in the survey that they keep them on a separate network.

But that kind of separation is only so practical. And if there’s any connection between a breached device and corporate networks, you’re going to be left with a major security issue.

More than a security issue

While most people discuss IoT solely as it relates to security, IT pros had other concerns about this trend as well. While 63% said security was a concern with IoT, IT pros also indicated they faced challenges with:

  • equipment issues (42%)
  • insufficient bandwidth (34%)
  • latency issues (32%), and
  • intermittent service (21%).

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