The year 2015 is soon coming to an end as the year 2016 looks to be ushering in exciting new ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our way of life. It’s easy to see these transformations taking shape on the consumer side (home automation, smart appliances, connected cars, personal computers, smart devices, etc.), but what will 2016 hold for the Industrial IoT (IIoT) space? (Note: Go here for a quick rundown on the difference between consumer IoT and industrial IoT)

2016 IIoT Bold Prediction Series

As stated in our introductory blog post (Are We All on the Same Industrial IoT WaveLength?), we at FreeWave Technologies are thrilled for the future of the IIoT and what it means for the entire business ecosystem. That is why we are excited to present the “connected world” community with a bold prediction in IIoT each day this week – aptly named the 2016 IIoT Bold Prediction Series! We of course encourage everyone to contribute your perspectives and experiences – whether in response to our predictions or a submission of your own – to help advance the dialogue around the emergence of the industrial internet.

Our first bold prediction in the series comes from Glenn Longley, Regional Manager of Energy Markets at FreeWave:

Prediction #1: Major Security Breach of Industrial SCADA System Brings New Focus to IoT

According to Longley, “There will be a major security breach of an industrial SCADA system in 2016, which will drive industrial organizations to shift more of a focus on IoT and newer, more secure communication systems.”

If you may not already know, cyber attacks against supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are not new. In fact, Homeland Security Magazinereported earlier this year that “Cyber attacks against industrial targets—including power plants, factories and refineries—increased 100 percent in the past year, according to a new study conducted by computer technology company Dell.”

Additionally, IT World Canada reported on a new InfoSec survey by the SANS Institute in 2015 where, “Both the degree of uncertainty and the rising number of known incidents are red flags calling for the dedication of greater resources to monitoring, detecting and analyzing anomalous activity in control system networks.” The survey also found that only 65 percent said vendor qualification of security technologies and solutions to be either highly important or mandatory. So with a proliferation of new cyber attacks seemingly happening more frequently, Longley explains how this widespread issue will impact IoT adoption in industrial businesses in the coming years:

“Each company is different in how it handles the influx of IoT and the resulting IT/ OT convergence. With the merging/blending of Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT), the firewall that separates the two becomes more complicated and less well-defined. Traditionally, each was a separate entity; however, with IP-enabled devices and blending of technologies in enterprise networks, that dividing line becomes less clear. IT and OT professionals themselves might put a different emphasis on security, but in 2016, the two will need to come together (more than ever before) to prioritize security in their quest to create end points for all of their field assets. Therefore, security will ultimately be the limiting factor on how much IIoT is deployed.”

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