Internet of Things future forecasts: focus on IoT security

In a series of Internet of Things future forecasts, we look at what can be expected in the coming years regarding the Internet of Things from various perspectives and angles. The reason: the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a key component of most digital transformation efforts for all the obvious connected reasons.

Trust is key to success.

In this piece an overview of Internet of Things security forecasts, spiced with analyst data and additional insights.

Some predictions are easy to make. If you followed how 2016 was the year of the first really massive cyberattacks using IoT-enabled devices, it’s pretty easy to predict that this will not be different in 2017 and beyond.

IoT security outlook

The IoT  security challenges at hand for the industry

The exact impact of those security woes are another question with several answers. They certainly will shape industry evolutions but will they also slow down the market?

It’s probably a no-brainer that we can expect more security breaches and that the industry will come up with more security initiatives in regards with several aspects of the Internet of Things as it has already started to do. A question that remains is what to do with all those existing “older” connected devices and the devices that are more recent but hard to patch.

Reuters tackled the issue on November 8, 2016, and the answer of an Internet security firm CEO on the security topic from a manufacturer perspective wasn’t exactly rosy. A quote “The harsh reality is that cyber security is not even on the radar of many manufacturers.”

IoT security findings from analysts for the near and not so near future

What do the analysts say about IoT security in 2017 and beyond?

Forrester expects that more than 500,000 IoT devices will be compromised in 2017 and that the Internet of Things “represents a two-pronged threat in 2017 — potentially exposing businesses to security breaches and IoT devices themselves being turned into DDoS weapons.” (Source: Forrester, PDF opens).

IDC forecasts that “by 2019, more than 75 percent of IoT device manufacturers will improve their security and privacy capabilities, making them more trustworthy partners for technology buyers.” (Source: IDC).

Many IoT device manufacturers don’t have cyber security on their radar yet.

Let’s hope that the other 25 percent already has top security capabilities (no comment) or goes out of business by then. You don’t mess with security.

In anticipation of new forecasts from Gartner, remember that end February 2016 the research firm released its “Top 10 Internet of Things Technologies for 2017 and 2018”.

Regarding IoT security, Gartner said that “new threats will emerge through 2021 as hackers find new ways to attack IoT devices and protocols, so long-lived things may need updatable hardware and software to adapt during their life span.” (Source: Gartner).

What about the impact of IoT security challenges in the consumer space?

When it boils down to the consumer electronics space of “connected devices” and the Consumer Internet of Things, we don’t expect 2017 to be a big break-through year, among others for reasons we’ve explained in our consumer electronics 2017 outlook.

More than 500,000 IoT devices will be compromised in 2017.

With trust and privacy already being issues the IoT security challenges are big here as well. More in a next Internet of Things future article in our series when we dig deeper in the expectations for this segment.

However, as mentioned in this article on Forrester’s predictions for 2017, “Consumer Trust is Key to Success”. That much is clear.

More evolutions in IoT security

Below are some of our additional IoT security forecasts and recommendations.

  • A shift of focus to and end-to-end security approach with embedded security by design.
  • Reliance on partners and system integrators with clear SLAs for security and privacy.
  • Choice for more secure connectivity solutions in critical applications will expand to less critical applications.
  • Sooner involvement of security in the IoT project process.
  • Data analysis closer to the source (edge computing) and a mix with reliance on highly secured cloud environments (with security in the cloud and hybrid solutions).
  • Regulations and security standards will be deployed.
  • An increasing use of artificial intelligence for real-time security monitoring, depending on the use case.
  • Appearance of blockchain (distributed ledger technology) in IoT security and an ongoing integration of IoT and blockchain.
  • Growing focus on the endpoints and move towards a security perimeter of everything: the security perimeter hasn’t faded, it’s ubiquitous and in the distributed reality of IoT endpoints are key.
  • Visibility becomes the central CISO focus.
  • To address the lack of IoT device visibility organizations will invest more in IoT device visibility solutions, enabling device discovery, onboarding and monitoring (which is a challenge).
The Internet of Things and regulation: GDPR, ePrivacy and more

Top picture: purchased on Shutterstock. Copyright: VICTOR TORRES All other pictures: see mentioned owners in image description and links.