The problem is that security is not ready for the internet of things

CIOs Need To Know How To Secure The Internet Of Things

The problem is that security is not ready for the internet of things
The problem is that security is not ready for the internet of things
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Guess what? The person with the CIO job has another question about the importance of information technology that they are going to have to find the answer to. This time around the question is just exactly how we can go about securing all of the so-called “smart” devices that are going to be constantly connecting to the internet and sharing data. As the internet of things starts to take off, the security questions need to be answered right now.


The Problem With The Internet Of Things

What the person in the CIO position is all too aware of is that during the past 25 years our companies have all been busy moving most of the most important applications that we use from our physical data centers into the cloud. All of these applications are connected together using a protocol that was never designed with security in mind. It just wasn’t a big deal back then. What this means for us now is that we find ourselves playing a game of catch-up. We have not taken the time to properly calculate the risk associated with moving all of our information into the cloud and then connecting it using an insecure medium.

Now we are looking at the arrival of the internet of things. The internet of things is defined as being the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. The challenge that CIOs are now facing is that all of a sudden we’re going to be facing a massive increase in the number of devices that have the ability to cause the immediate loss of life or serious injury. All of these devices are now going to be connected using the same insecure protocol. Before we allow this transformation to occur, CIOs need to make sure that we are not making the same mistake that we made before where we discounted the risk involved.

A good example of the types of changes that CIOs are facing is when we consider the fact that we are now thinking about moving from having cars with drivers to having cars without drivers. This is going to have a big impact on both our society as well as how we go about moving goods and services. Once a company has allowed all of their delivery trucks to be connected to the internet, all of sudden the possibility of them being disrupted on scale has to be considered. CIOs need to understand that we are standing on the brink of a big change and none of us is really prepared for it.


How To Secure The Internet Of Things

Its going to come down to the CIOs to make sure that as their companies start to adopt the internet of things that we take steps to keep things secure. This means that CIOs need to be asking questions like “what standard should we be following?” Once we have an answer to this question we then need to find a way to combine it with a certification process.

CIOs need to understand that all too often our developers will create products that solve a particular problem. The solution will be a good solution and it will be able to provide people with the data that they need. However, they may not have taken the time to think about how their solution could be secured. What this means is that once we realize that we have a problem, this issue is going to have to be taken care of via a software patch. This is going to cause problems for CIOs.

CIOs need to keep a careful eye on what their company is doing. All too often what we want to do is to get our products to market quickly. We believe that we can come back and worry about security later on. This is not a good approach. If we are not careful, the government may have to step in and place requirements on every company that is creating products like this. CIOs need to understand that the security issues associated with the internet of things are going to get worse before they get better.


What All Of This Means For You

Change is something that every CIO needs to learn how to deal with. Right now a significant change is getting ready to happen that CIOs need to start to prepare for. The internet of things is almost upon us and we are not ready for it. As more and more things are being connected to the internet, CIOs are realizing that this is going to pose some significant security issues for them going forward.

When the original protocols that the internet has been built on were designed, the world was a very different place. Security was not such a big deal and these protocols clearly show that. This means that CIOs are spending their time playing catch up. The arrival of the internet of things means that more and more items are going to be connected to the internet and will be exchanging data. CIOs need to be aware of the risk that this is going to cause. An example of this will be the arrival of driverless cars which will be a big change and CIOs need to make sure that their company will be ready for this eventuality. CIOs need to determine what standards for the internet of things their company will adopt and what certifications they will start to require. CIOs need to make sure that their development teams don’t treat security as something that they can come back and add in later on. The security threat posed by the internet of things is going to get worse before it gets better.

CIO find themselves in a tough spot. The promise of being able to connect just about anything to the internet and have it exchange information with other applications opens many doors for us. However, at the same time it poses a number of difficult security questions. CIOs are going to have to stay aware of just exactly what is going on and make sure that the company does not end up exposing itself to security issues. If this revolution to a new way of connecting devices can be properly managed, then CIOs should still be able to sleep at night.


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™


Question For You: Do you think that CIOs should put the brakes on implementing the internet of things until the security issues are resolved?


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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So if you look back on the day that you become a CIO, you need to remember that nobody ever told you that this was going to be an easy job dealing with the importance of information technology. One of the reasons that being the person in the CIO position is such a tough job is because of all of the important decisions that you are expected to make. The impact of your decisions will affect the lives of everyone who works in your department and may impact the company for years to come. There is a lot riding on what you decide to do. Feeling any pressure yet? What are the biggest decisions that CIOs are expected to make and what are the best way to make these decisions?

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