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The Internet of Things Expected to Bring New Security Threats: Report

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IT decision makers at US SMBs are nearly unanimous that the Internet of Things (IoT) will produce negative impacts for their organizations, according to a survey released this week by GFI Software. While 96.5 percent of those surveyed expect at least some downside, 26.7 percent fear that device management will spiral out of control.

The biggest drawback anticipated is new security threats and the extension of existing threats to new devices, a concern for 55 percent of respondents. Over 30 percent anticipate an increase in IT spending.

Survey results accordingly indicated that IoT will likely force changes in policy and security practices at most organizations.

Perhaps ironically, the “thing” causing the greatest concern is still employee mobile devices, which were cited as a major concern by 81.7 percent. Other things, such as commercial equipment, automobiles, and medical devices were named as concerns for around 12 percent each.

Firewalls and mobile device management are the two top priorities for IT administrators tackling these new security challenges, at 45.1 and 35.7 percent respectively.

“The research findings reveal that the Internet of Things will transform business security, as even standard employee devices could present an opportunity for exploitation and pose a real danger to organizations if they are connected to the Internet without proper security protections,” said Sergio Galindo, general manager, infrastructure business unit at GFI Software. “With billions of devices poised to connect to the Internet, organizations are exposed to billions of insecure new endpoints that can compromise the network. The key takeaway is clear: IT organizations must plan effectively to ensure adequate operating system, firmware and patch support within the new IoT age.”

At the same time, 27.6 percent say that the Internet of Things is not a business driver or has no bearing on their organization, meaning that some IT pros expect negative impact with no substantial benefit to their organization.

While the benefits will vary from company to company, SMBs are clearly thinking about the impact IoT will have as it continues to grow, with pushes like Cisco’s March announcement of $1 billion to accelerate its development.

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