A Trend Micro survey shows that businesses are most concerned about losing customer trust in the event of an Internet of Things (IoT) related cyberattack. The global survey of 1,150 IT and security decision makers also revealed that despite this prevailing fear the same respondents said their organizations remain unprepared for such an attack, focusing instead on investing in IoT systems and ignoring the security aspect of this emerging technology.
The growth in the number of connected devices is also opening businesses to real cyber threats. Unfortunately awareness of the threat 43% of IT and security decision makers that took part in the survey admit that security remains an afterthought when implementing IoT projects (peaking at 46% in Germany).
In addition, 63% agree that IoT-related cybersecurity threats have increased over the past 12 months (rising to 71% in the UK and the US), only 53% think connected devices are a threat to their own organisation (75% in Japan).
The results suggest there could be minimal testing taking place ahead of implementation to ensure new devices added to corporate environments are secured.
The survey also showed businesses are experiencing an average of three attacks on connected devices in the last 12 months.
Thirty-eight percent of those that have already implemented, or plan to implement, an IoT solution enlist security decision-makers in the implementation process. This falls to one in three for smart factory implementation (32%), with a similar proportion enlisting the help of security teams for the roll out of smart utility (31%) and wearables (30%) projects. This suggests that a significant proportion of businesses globally could be unwittingly opening themselves up to a range of threats.
“IoT systems are the future for businesses and many new types of connected devices are being introduced to corporate networks,” said Nilesh Jain, Vice President for Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro. “While this is beneficial for business operations, the embedded operating systems of IoT devices aren’t designed for easy patching, which creates a universal cyber risk problem. The investment in security measures should mirror the investment in system upgrades to best mitigate the risk of a breach that would have a major impact on both the bottom line and customer trust.”
With breaches having the potential for a significant impact on business operations – such as jeopardising GDPR compliance or taking critical networks offline – the research confirms that cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought and it must be key to the IoT implementation process from the offset.
Jain warned that if security is not baked into the design of IoT solutions, and SDMs aren’t involved in the IoT implementation process, businesses could face damages far greater than the benefits this connected tech delivers.”