In the much-hyped world of the Internet of Things, the industry continues to focus on the number of connected devices and machines that will roam the earth today, tomorrow and beyond. Mark Bartolomeo, head of connected solutions at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, has a broader view.
"The Internet of Things is more than simply the number of connections. It starts with a network that's both reliable and pervasive. This is true whether you're a provider of transportation and logistics services with operations in New York City or another major metropolitan area where network capacity is absolutely critical; or if you're in the oil fields of rural Montana or North Dakota where network coverage is also crucial."
Bartolomeo says that without a reliable network, it's impossible to maintain cybersecurity and cloud capacity to deliver actionable intelligence at scale.
"The Internet of Things is a nascent market with huge growth potential, but we find that enterprises and the broader ecosystem often get into it without fully understanding the complexities of building out more intelligence on to the edge of a network at scale and in a secure environment."
In IoT, Cybersecurity is the Elephant in the Room
In Bartolomeo's view, a cybersecurity gap has emerged as the "big elephant in the room," which he says is even more accentuated by a lack of common standards for interoperability.
"Greater attention needs to be paid to understanding cybersecurity risks within the context of the Internet of Things. Anything connected to the Internet is basically at risk, as are 'things' connected in a closed environment like a SmartGrid or a manufacturing plant."
He continues: "Is it realistic to believe that vehicles could be hacked; smart grids infiltrated and even your FitBit compromised? Simply stated the answer is 'Yes!"
According to Verizon's security experts, there are three points in which connected "things" need to be secured:
- The thing itself
- The communications channel between the thing(s); and
- A remote service where the remote service talks or listens to the things and typically has some form of control over it/them.
Verizon's Managed Certificate Services lets enterprises know that two machines talking to each are the right two machines connecting, not a machine that could be used to subvert another machine(s) for purposes of malicious intent.
The Bottom Line
Bartolomeo concludes: "As enterprises seek to derive more intelligence from the network by connecting things, it's imperative that we help them navigate the entangled web of the Internet of Things proactively so that they understand the key risks and challenges eyes wide open - and that starts with understanding the network."