Atlantic.Net Blog

Imagining the Internet of Things

How much do we want data to flow? It’s a more confusing question than you might think. The third platform of computing (the realm computer cloud hosting) has made it possible to integrate systems and process data from multiple devices seamlessly in real-time. In many ways, that scenario is wholly optimistic, and in others, it is cause for concern.

The Promise

The Internet of Things industry is growing at an astonishing rate, with big players such as Google and Cisco throwing themselves in with fervor (the former with its self-driving car project and the latter with its $15 million Barcelona Internet of Things center).

At the heart of the Internet of Things is the concept of interoperability, which means that systems cooperate in exchanging data when it is in the user’s best interests. Essentially, the servers can talk to each other, so IoT is also called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. A perfect example of this is healthcare, where studies show interoperability will reduce medical errors.

The Challenge

What’s the catch? The issue with the Internet of Things is security. The reason is that many of our devices are outfitted with wireless capabilities, but there isn’t standardized security between them, and some of them are entirely unprotected from hackers. This is especially concerning when it comes to questions of compliance and IoT devices, such as with HIPAA compliance and data storage.

A recent Business 2 Community article, “Internet of Things: A Pandora’s Box of Security Concerns,” looked at perspectives on M2M from a couple of security thought-leaders, Bruce Schneier and Joshua Corman.

Schneier said the level of risk for the Internet of Things is similar to the risk level for personal computers 20 years ago. In 1995, software companies were tightlipped about any vulnerabilities, didn’t prioritize security patches, and weren’t concerned that patches were user-friendly to apply.

The reason this M2M situation is more daunting is that “[t]he computers in our routers and modems are much more powerful than the PCs of the mid-1990s,” said Schneier. He added, “The industries producing [consumer] devices are even less capable of fixing the problem than the PC and software industries were.”

Corman has said that the hackers have become more successful, and in an Internet of Things world, vicious intruders could attack people by doing things such as suddenly deploying their car airbags.

Internet of Things Security Expertise

Atlantic.Net’s HIPAA cloud hosting, along with their award-winning hosting solutions, was recently featured on Orlando’s Fox 35 News at 10 (see above video). Brendan Bonner, who is on our security team, said, “Having one framework to control everything in one place would be beneficial to the user.” He also discussed various hacker scenarios with reporter Keith Landry.

By Moazzam Adnan

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