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What is IoT?

Jon Gold | July 17, 2017
Beyond being a network of online, connected, smart devices, the internet of things it can be a nightmare for IT.

Beyond simple visibility, the chaotic state of software development for connected devices is probably the biggest concrete security issue – not only are some devices insecure to begin with, but even if manufacturers issue patches for flaws, they can be difficult to distribute and apply in an organized way. Many don't patch at all, as ongoing software development simply isn't in the budget for certain types of devices.

Numerous experts, including entrepreneur and writer Anil Dash, told the Pew Research Center that the outlook for IoT security simply has to improve, or there will be serious consequences.

“People will continue to connect out of necessity, but the cost and severity of lapses and breaches will increase until it’s a constant, ongoing burden for all,” said Dash.

Yet others were more hopeful, including Wikimedia Foundation fellow Dariusz Jemielniak, who said that solutions exist for a lot of the security problems facing IoT.

“Current technology already offers much higher levels of security than the market actually uses; there is a scope for radical improvement if people demand it,” he said.


IoT is everywhere, but there are certainly a few verticals where it’s more prevalent. Heavy industry is arguably the sector that’s been working with IoT concepts for the longest, thanks to SCADA and robotics, and it’s got its own sub-type of IoT – industrial IoT, or frequently just IIoT. Sharing data for maintenance and operational purposes makes industrial equipment a lot more responsive and useful, and creates a much safer working environment, as well.

Agriculture is another area where IoT has taken off in a big way – planting, irrigation, harvesting and even soil monitoring have become centralized, thanks to high-precision GPS technology, soil sensors and other systems being wired together in an IoT arrangement.

IoT has changed the day-to-day operations in health care – the ability to share medical data quickly is useful for healthcare workers, even if privacy and security concerns are particularly worrisome in such a setting.


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