The Internet of ‘Secure’ Things
The internet of things (IoT) is a term we have given to the connectivity and integration of physical items into our computer-based world that helps us perform tasks in better, more efficient ways. We’ve heard about driverless cars optimizing fuel efficiency, aerial drones delivering couriered packages, and our enhanced ability to monitor our home’s heating, lighting, and security settings on a remote basis – to name a few. Surveillance cameras, thermostats, televisions, refrigerators, and vehicles are simply just “things” that can be affixed with an IP address allowing us the ability to communicate and control using our computers and mobile devices.
The resulting benefits are enormous: improved logistics, better efficiencies, economic advantages, etc. According to Foreign Policy magazine, the already massive IoT industry is expected to more than triple in size to nearly 21 billion devices by 2020. That growth stems largely because of society’s ubiquitous use of smart phones and personal devices that have profoundly changed the way we communicate. Regardless of where we are or what we are doing, people are connected at all times.
For organizations that subscribe to videoconferencing, BYOD, telecommuting, virtual offices and collaboration, the ability to be connected is an important business tool that allows us to manage our affairs better. If IoT offers significant social benefits, the proliferation of mobile devices will certainly drive its continued development, especially in the workplace.
Progressive integrators and manufacturers in the AV industry are catching on to how the IoT is dramatically changing the way solutions are conceived, designed, engineered and delivered. The traditional stand-alone AV boxes that are isolated in a room with localized control buttons are fast becoming a thing of the past. In its place, control software driven by a computer platform that is a component of an IT network is offering a level of interaction, ease of use, and overall management that has been difficult to achieve in years gone by. AV is now part of the IT infrastructure and its technology is communicating and interacting with switches, routers, firewalls, and user interfaces.
As cloud-based applications and the IoT phenomenon continue to advance in the mainstream at a lightning pace, we also need to be aware that there are burgeoning security risks and vulnerabilities that lurk on the fringes of our connected world. The stakes can be very high if the systems we use are open to attack by cyber criminals. It’s something that gives IT professionals pause for concern. They have every right to be worried about any security risk that could pose a vulnerability to the network they are expected to manage and protect.
Security is vital in all areas of your business, but it is especially important when it comes to business IT. Organizations eager to take advantage of the IoT should not let their excitement cloud their judgment when it comes to security risks. A high definition videoconferencing system needs to be trusted, reliable, and secure enough to share important and sensitive information if outside devices are connecting to it.
While not every organization needs dedicated military-grade security solutions that have traditionally kept videoconferences secure, they do need to deploy certain measures so that the right amount of security can allow them to take advantage of the benefits that the open internet allows.
If companies want to be ready for the IoT, their IT personnel will need to understand the risks, as well as what they can do to mitigate them. Backman Vidcom has compiled a comprehensive list of best practices and strategies that will give you a place to start.