Risk and Benefits of the Internet of Things for Businesses

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a new technological frontier as businesses seek ways to be more competitive in their markets. The IoT refers to the interconnection of technology, and specifically devices’ ability to seamlessly share data without any human intervention. For example, we can now lock our doors, turn on/off lights, or check the contents of our fridge from our smartphones.

The internet of things for businesses offers a new level of convenience and automation, but the same connectivity comes with security and in turn, financial, risks.

You don’t want any devices that collect & store information about you being accessible to third parties without your consent. And any of these devices may be disabled following a cyber attack.

We are a managed IT & cybersecurity services company that can work with you to ensure this new technology is implemented safely into your business model. See more about the risks and benefits here, and consider giving us a call.

The Benefits

Greater Convenience and Efficiency

At a consumer level, it is easy to see how the Internet of Things brings greater convenience and efficiency. We can sync our devices and appliances to easily remember what errands we need to run or keep track of our progress on health goals. Connectivity between devices offers similar benefits at a business level, especially for manufacturers. IoT sensors on a production line can track heat, humidity, vibration and other data points. This data can provide alerts on when to run predictive maintenance to avoid unexpected, avoidable repairs.

The benefits of the internet of things also extend to tracking parts and supplies globally in real time. Keeping better tabs on deliveries gives your business greater control over inventory and supply chain management. During the manufacturing process, IoT can collect data to monitor quality control and productive manufacturing time. For businesses, the Internet of Things offers insight into trends and problems that would otherwise be difficult to detect. Better trend analyses mean smarter decisions.

Easily Manage Employee’s Enterprise-Related Mobile Activity

Outside of manufacturing, IoT is just as relevant. Mobile devices have a big place in the modern workplace. With many organizations allowing employees to use their own devices, it is important to find an effective management strategy. One benefit of the internet of things is that with the right software you can remotely access company-related data on your employee’s mobile devices and identify any activities that may put your confidential information at risk.

Better Insight Into Consumer Interests and Experiences

The Internet of Things gives business more insight into who their potential customers are and into the experiences of their existing customers. Smart sensors can track purchase patterns to determine consumer demand in real time and adjust production accordingly. Information on consumer behavior and individual preferences allow business to advertise more effectively.

The Risks

Greater Threat to Security

If you can access these devices from the internet, so can a determined hacker. This means these devices can be a threat to cyber security. If you do not have strong security measures in place, the connections are not difficult to interrupt. If a hacker manages to access your business’s information, the aftermath will likely be expensive and potentially dangerous depending on your industry.

Since IoT is still quite new, it is not always clear who is responsible for the devices’ security – manufacturers, service providers or users. If you do decide to incorporate the IoT into your company’s management, it is wise to have a vulnerability management solution in place to prevent hacks and to respond in the case of one.

Potential for breaches of privacy

Hackers pose not only a threat to security but also to privacy. A successful hack could uncover personal information about your employees and your customers. In extreme cases, this can even result in stolen identities. In the case of using IoT to manage employee devices, employees may feel uncomfortable sharing access to their personal devices, even if only for enterprise-related purposes.

If you use devices connected to the Internet of Things offers for business purposes, consider limiting the access of these devices to collect sensitive information, or opting for unconnected alternative devices.

A Challenging Sell to Investors

It may prove difficult to persuade stakeholders to buy into the benefits of the Internet of Things for their business. Their concerns about security and the complexity of data may overshadow the benefits of more streamlined data collection. Although there are many popular, consumer-focused IoT products on the market, an IoT business strategy may come across as riskier. Additionally, although increased efficiency will likely result in greater earnings, the perceived costs of restructuring a company to incorporate IoT may not appear cost-saving on the surface.

The Internet of Things has many benefits to businesses in helping them manage employees, make better decisions, and save money. On the flip side, the IoT can expose your company to security and privacy breaches. If you decide to expand your enterprise’s use of the IoT, be sure to plan ahead and prepare for the associated risks.

Consult with a Leading IT Management Firm

The bottom line is that IoT devices can bring tremendous benefits to your business, but they must be properly protected. If your in-house IT department does not have the capabilities for this, work with a company that does. NIC has been a reliable Los Angeles partner to companies for the past two decades. Trust us to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology and to keep your business protected long into the future.

Contact us today for a free consultation with an IT expert.

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