The Internet of things (IoT) is a term that refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that are connected to the Internet and contain embedded technology to communicate and interact with one another. These objects include anything from wearable technology and home appliances to industrial machines and vehicles. The IoT allows these objects to collect and share data with one another and other systems and people to improve efficiency, convenience, and safety.
While still in its early stages, the potential for the IoT is vast, and it is expected to play a significant role in the future of both individuals and businesses. IoT can be used to optimize traffic flow, reduce energy consumption, improve public safety and health care, and enhance customer service.
Features and benefits of IoT for business
The use of IoT devices is becoming more prevalent in business. Why should businesses be interested in IoT? There are a lot of features and benefits that make it appealing for companies. IoT can help companies become more efficient and productive, and it can also help them save money by reducing waste and improving process automation. Additionally, IoT can help companies create new products and services, improve customer engagement, and gain insights into their customers’ behavior.
Here are just a few examples of how businesses can use IoT to their advantage:
Efficiency and savings
Many businesses are using IoT to increase their efficiency and save money. Energy efficiency is one of the significant benefits of deploying IoT for businesses. Devices such as lighting, appliances, printers, and heating and cooling systems that are connected to the Internet can collect data about how they are used and how much energy they consume. This data can be used to make changes that improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption. IoT can also help businesses manage their energy costs. By collecting data about energy use, companies can identify areas where they can save money on their energy bills. They can also track their progress over time to see how effectively their changes have reduced energy consumption.
Businesses are beginning to harness the power of IoT to improve physical security and cybersecurity. IoT allows businesses to collect and analyze data from various sources to help them make better decisions.
Physical security involves protecting your business from physical threats such as theft, vandalism, and assault. Companies are using IoT to improve physical security by installing sensors in critical areas of their facilities. These sensors can detect movement, sound, or any other environmental change, and they can automatically send an alert to security personnel if they sense something out of the ordinary. For example, businesses can use cameras and sensors to detect movement and automatically send an alert if there is a break-in. This allows companies to respond quickly to any potential threats and prevents them from becoming victims of a physical attack.
IoT is also being used by businesses to improve cybersecurity. Using sensors to monitor their networks, companies can detect when hackers are attempting to gain access to their systems. This allows them to take steps to protect themselves before the attack occurs, and it also enables them to spot any changes in network activity that may indicate a potential intrusion.
Many businesses are beginning to capitalize on the potential of IoT by using it to manage their assets. IoT can help businesses keep track of their assets, optimize their use, and prevent loss or damage.
Many businesses are using IoT for asset management by attaching RFID tags to their assets. RFID tags are small chips that can be embedded in objects and that emit a signal when they are scanned. This signal can be used to track the movement of objects and determine when they have been moved or accessed. Businesses can also use sensors to track their assets’ temperature, humidity, vibration, and other conditions.
Risks of using IoT devices
Businesses are increasingly using IoT devices to improve efficiency and productivity. As a result, IoT devices are proliferating in the workplace, yet many companies are unaware of the risks these devices pose. IoT devices can potentially expose a business to security risks, privacy risks, or both. These devices can be vulnerable to hackers who may gain access to company data or even take control of critical systems if they can breach a device. Some examples:
- Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in IoT devices to gain access to company networks and data. For example, hackers have already infected thousands of Internet-connected cameras with malware that could be used to take control of these devices remotely.
- IoT devices can introduce new risks to businesses by leaking sensitive information. For example, a recent security report found that up to 20 percent of all manufacturing equipment and 50 percent of medical devices have at least one critical vulnerability.
- Unexpected failures – when an IoT device fails unexpectedly, it can cause significant disruptions in the workflow. In a worst-case scenario, an IoT device failure could lead to the loss of money or data.
What can companies do to mitigate IoT risks?
While the potential for IoT has many advantages for both individuals and businesses, some risks are associated with its use. Chief among these risks is the lack of strong built-in security in many IoT devices. While the IoT presents tremendous business opportunities, it also introduces new vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. To mitigate these risks, companies should take steps to secure their devices and networks and educate employees on how to use them safely.
Businesses should take the following steps to protect their IoT devices from attack or intrusion:
- Establish a comprehensive security policy that addresses how IoT devices will be used and secured. This policy should include password management, authentication, and access control guidelines.
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly. Passwords should be unique to each device and should not be shared among users.
- Implement two-factor authentication whenever possible.
- Implement strong network security to prevent unauthorized access.
- Enable device monitoring and management tools that allow businesses to monitor their IoT devices from a central location, such as a server or workstation in the office.
Businesses need to have a plan for when an IoT device fails. This plan should include steps for troubleshooting and resolving the issue as quickly as possible. Employees should also be trained to use IoT devices critical to the business’s operation.
The Internet of Things has the potential to grow into a $1 trillion industry, and IoT devices are becoming increasingly affordable. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done before businesses can safely adopt IoT at scale. The prevailing sentiment is that everything in our lives will eventually be connected to the Internet. Some people think this will lead to a utopia where everything is automated, and life is carefree. Others are more skeptical and believe that the Internet of things will create more opportunities for hackers and data theft. Regardless of which side you fall on, there’s no doubt that IoT will continue to grow in its significance to businesses of all sizes.