CES was buzzing with IoT. What about security?
Another CES is in the books. As usual, the booths were crammed with exciting innovation.
It's been fascinating to watch the evolution of CES over the last few years. Less than four years ago, smartphones took all the attention. Then the focus shifted to wearables. This year, IoT took center stage.
It's no big surprise. IoT device numbers are increasing steadily. There are currently about 5 billion connected devices today. That number is expected to grow to nearly 12 billion by the end of the year.
Key Word is Monitor
As product developers see it, IoT devices will help our lives and homes run more efficiently. Everything in our lives could be connected.
- Our homes
- Our objects
- Our health
- Our movement
Everything could be monitored for the purposes of making life better. Our heating and cooling systems can be more energy efficient, our fridges could let us know when we need milk and we can be better aware that we need more sleep and should eat less sugar.
Not to sound paranoid, but that's a lot of monitoring. It's all well and good if the data that is helping us live better is also collected, transferred and stored securely. The problem is, it's not.
Lack of Security is Being Noticed
We were pleased to see that there was at least some discussion about security at CES. While there is not enough attention being paid at the individual booths, a panel discussion titled The IoT: Mitigating Risks and Harnessing Potential did examine the topic. The conclusion: More security is needed. Consumers will demand it.
The topic was also covered in a scattering of articles, including one by ZDNet: As IoT takes center stage at CES 2016, security gets lost in the wings, which comes to the same conclusions we've discussed many times on this blog. Security must be part of product development. Security does not have to be sacrificed to achieve innovation.
By building security as a main product feature, it can prevent the high cost of devices being hacked or data being compromised. We can't stress enough that it is much better to consider security from the beginning than to try to hastily add it on after something bad happens.
Consumers Just Won't Buy It
In November 2015, Accenture surveyed 28,000 consumers in 28 countries to learn their attitudes towards connected devices. While intrigued by new devices, the study found that security is a big concern.
“Security is no longer just a nagging problem, but a top barrier as consumers choose to abandon products and services over security concerns.”
While we love to see the new gadgets that come out of CES, we really want to see security as key feature that stands out.