Can the Internet of Things Grow Without Trust?
The Internet of Things. Five years ago very few people had heard of the concept. Despite the fact that the term is now commonly used, most people would not be able to confidently give a definition of IoT.
What consumers and businesses are aware of is the concern that with IoT devices, their privacy could be at risk. Every day, new stories emerge about data breaches, whether caused by hacking or information leaks. Consumers want to know how their information is being used, shared and stored.
Where is the trust?
In the Information Age article “Why privacy concerns will hinder trust in the Internet of Things”, Jim Hunter paints a picture of how IoT devices gathers and uses our information. Each bit of data creates a snapshot of a moment in time. Each moment adds up to tell a story.
Our information is valuable. As the number of IoT devices in our homes and offices increases, so too does the amount of information being gathered and shared about our businesses and our lives.
Hunter rightfully argues that security cannot be an afterthought. As devices evolve with new and greater feats for engineering and innovation, security must be part of the equation. Secure connectivity, data management and communication between devices cannot be sacrificed in the race for innovation.
Trust Comes With the Promise of Security
IoT devices hold the promise of making our lives easier and more efficient. Each new device promises to save us time and money. But what information will we be giving away about ourselves?
Consider the slate of new smart thermostats on the market. They can learn when you're at home or asleep. They adjust to your preferences. Suddenly that device becomes much more than a thermostat that communicates with your furnace. It holds valuable information about whether your home is empty or occupied.
If the consumer doesn't believe that devices can communicate without the danger of their information being compromised, will they adopt the new technology? Should they?
While the individual consumers plays a critical role in protecting their own security by being aware of the risks and taking appropriate precautions, the industry must also make it easier by:
- Providing education about the risks and information on how to protect themselves.
- Making it easy for consumers to control settings and secure their privacy.
- Being transparent about what data is collected and how it's used and stored.
- Adopting strong security measures to protect their customers.
If manufacturers take these measures, they will grow the trust consumers will demand.
To learn more about work underway to help keep private information secure, read Cyber Risk Management by Design. Published by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Risk Management (C3RM), this report details the type of information hackers try to access, how to stop them, and what C3RM does to help.