Gartner analysts recently forecasted that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use during 2015. This figure – up 30 percent from 2014 – is expected to reach a staggering 25 billion by 2020.
“Consumer applications will drive the number of connected things, while enterprise will account for most of the revenue,” the Gartner analysis explains.
“[We] estimate 2.9 billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector in 2015 and will reach over 13 billion in 2020. The automotive sector will show the highest growth rate at 96 percent in 2015.”
According to Gartner, the rapidly expanding IoT highlights the “tight linkages” between information security, information technology security, operational technology security and physical security like never before.
“The IoT will bring into the digital security architecture dozens of new platform options, hundreds of variations on hybrid IT/IoT integration, new standards per industry and a new view of an application,” the analysis continues. “IT leaders will have to accommodate the differences in technologies across those areas and develop a multifaceted technology approach to IoT risk and security. In addition, with some machines producing enormous amounts of data and other sensors sending a handful of bits per day or week, IT leaders will need to balance digital business requirements with digital security realities.”
As Sudhir Sharma, high-tech industry director at Ansys, recently told Semiconductor Engineering, one of the major challenges the Internet of Things currently faces is that no one actually knows what the IoT will ultimately look like or how the various pieces could potentially fit together. Meaning, until there is a history of attacks and failures, it’s practically impossible to comprehend the weaknesses, inherent or otherwise.
Indeed, as Semiconductor Engineering editor Ed Sperling points out, there are many ways for data to become corrupted, stolen or even leak.
“Even on captive devices that are have only limited connection to a network, components wear out, or they are subject to single-event upsets that may destroy bits of memory, or software becomes corrupted by updates and interaction with other data.”
According to Rambus VP of solutions technology Steve Woo, it is therefore critical for the industry to understand precisely how the ongoing paradigm shift affects both the collection and processing of IoT-related data.
“We’re starting to see this [evolution] in cars, which are incorporating elements of sensor fusion architectures and techniques, where you take input from disparate sources,” Woo told the publication. “This used to be something that was confined to the military [and government systems]. And we’re seeing it in phones, which used to be end devices but which now are being used to control other devices.”
Fortunately, says Woo, the industry is starting to treat security as a key part of design, rather than a tertiary afterthought.
“Nevertheless, the basic problem is that interfaces are like doors, and you’d like to have a lock on every door, but a connected device may have 20 doors,” Woo added. “We saw this kind of problem in the PC world years ago, when every company was working on its own hardware and software and each company tried to have their own standard. But as data becomes valuable in itself, the control plane for that data becomes equally important. You don’t want someone to be able to selectively snapshot or control that data.”
As Sperling concludes, IoT security is a challenge that will only grow as the complexity of systems increase – in parallel with the inevitable vulnerabilities discovered in IoT devices.
“In fact, there is no end point where everything will be deemed secure. But as security and connectivity impact safety, there certainly will be a lot more attention focused safety and why some devices that were built in isolation are suddenly considered critical systems.”
Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out our Rambus Press archive on the subject here.