The Internet of Things (IoT) is full of opportunities for marketers. But before launching a campaign, marketers need to take a step back and consider their IoT network security.

It's just common sense.

The IoT is luring many companies to make connected devices of one type or another — all in the hope of providing added value for customers.

But any company that plans to jump aboard the IoT bandwagon should also review its Internet security paradigms to make sure they contribute to that value.

Address Vulnerabilities

App and software developers have traditionally had the luxury of iterating solutions to security issues as they develop.

But that's not the case in an IoT environment, where developers need to include security protocols in the initial releases.

IoT networks increase the number of possible vulnerable points to acquire data, tempting many accomplished cyber thieves. (The widely publicized Wired magazine experiment where hackers took over control of a Jeep Cherokee comes to mind.)

In addition, more manufacturers are developing smart devices for the consumer marketplace – devices that usher all kinds of services that deliver value through customer experience. (An example is Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service, which enables connected devices to order physical goods from Amazon when supplies are running low.

So a smart dishwasher can reorder a customer’s preferred detergent without an interaction with the customer. To offer this service means gaining the customer’s trust for credit card and debit information and preventing unauthorized orders from outsiders.

Making It Secure

With marketplace interest in IoT devices and development rapidly rising, security is at the top of mind among marketers and developers alike.

Security is the top concern of IoT developers creating new apps, according to data from the Internet of Things Study 2015, Volume I by Evans Data Corporation (fee charged). Last year, eMarketer reported a similar response from the majority of marketers surveyed.

Clearly, security must be considered from the start. But it is easier said than done.

How can marketers design systems that are fundamentally centered on security?

Learning Opportunities

Where do they start? Perhaps the best practice is to be consistently security vigilant when planning elements in an IoT network.

Vigilance on the overall IoT network raises several tactical concerns, such as:

  1. Understanding the context of network-related data to detecting deviations in electronic behavior
  2. Confronting IoT threats despite the lack of clear models representing what threats will look like

Addressing the first point — data context — may be simply achievable. Careful planning of analytic solutions can reveal context on the metrics associated with the IoT Network.

Many solutions allow reporting on activity within a specific network via IP filter. Those same solutions offer blending of data from devices, such as the measurement protocol in Google Analytics.

Addressing the second point — threat models – involves considering data as clues to meaningful insights. This leads to implementing a variety of advanced analytics protocol, ranging from regression models to establish the likelihood of data relationships to using machine learning from R or Python to automate analysis.

For any enterprise, it's important to assign business intelligence teams to assess IoT network security as well as to prompt development of the right monitoring activity to best manage security threats.

It’s too early in the IoT era to know what solutions absolutely work best against hacker efforts. Over time hackers can find ways to compromise a system.

Constant reinvention is the nature of technology. Thus vigilance in considering all the elements in an IoT network becomes the best way to secure a network while face of changing technology.

Title image by Blake Wheeler

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