As the year winds down, industry thought leaders and publications are beginning to release their top trends and predictions for IIoT in 2018. From what we’ve seen circulating around the top news sources, there looks to be a lot in store for Smart Cities and utilities in particular.
Reports have shown time and again that IoT devices are being deployed and disrupting industries at an incredible rate. While this has brought a lot of new opportunities to the forefront of many industries – we’re all aware of the lurking giant that needs to be dealt with – security. Security has been a concern and topic of debate since the beginning of IIoT, but perhaps in 2018, we’ll see the challenge addressed in new ways. The good news is that we’re not shying away from the topic and we’ve encountered it as a common theme in recent headlines – especially in relation to Smart Cities. Here are a few top news stories that stood out to us:
The Security Tipping Point
An article recently featured in InfoSecurity Magazine (@InfosecurityMag) by @philmuncaster examines the ongoing security challenges when it comes to IIoT projects for Smart Cities. The article reveals that an international poll by the Wi-SUN Alliance found security as the biggest barrier around the world:
“The global, standards-based non-profit polled IT leaders in the UK, US, Denmark and Sweden who are investing in these kinds of IoT projects. It found that although half have a fully implemented strategy already in place, 90% said they struggled to implement a plan and 36% said they found it ‘extremely difficult.’ “
An eWeek (@eWEEKNews) article by @editingwhiz, featuring predictions by leaders in IoT for 2018, echoes the same sentiments, but predicts that service providers might take the issue into their own hands:
“Paul Martini, CEO and Co-Founder, iboss: Better IoT network security will come to the fore: ‘The industry will continue to be plagued by IoT botnets and malware. 2018 will be the year that enterprises and service providers finally realize that waiting for device manufacturers to improve hardware security is a losing proposition and take it upon themselves to secure their networks against compromised devices. An increasing number of enterprises will deploy network security solutions that are designed specifically to protect large numbers of connected devices.’”
“However, even with a secure communication link, if the individual devices that are connected on the OT side become compromised and an intruder gains access to that communication link, they can push malicious data, cause denial of service (DoS), or introduce malware or viruses to the entire network, IT side included.”
Allen recommends the following:
“Companies need to prioritize security in their quest to create endpoints for all of their field assets. Some industries, like the smart grid, are already experiencing mandates that ensure a more cyber-secure network. With others, however, it is still up to the organization to make security a top priority. There are technology providers available that are security focused and will provide those extra layers of security to the OT network.”
Investment Will Grow in Utilities
The Future of things (@Future0fThings)article by @morakhiya2711 looked at IIoT investments and the industries in the near future, and it looks to be an exciting time for utilities, among with manufacturing and transportation.
“In addition to the funding of start-ups, overall investment in IIoT technologies and services is growing rapidly with few signs of slowing down. Through 2020, the industries that are expected to invest the most in this area are manufacturing, transportation, and utilities. Last year alone, spending reached $178 billion, $78 billion in transportation and $69 billion in utilities, as these industrial sectors leveraged the deployment of intelligent, networked devices to operate smarter and offset risks.”
As investments in IIoT go up, so do the security risks. Based on the buzz in leading IIoT publications, perhaps we will begin to see new efforts to create secure end-to-end IIoT networks, as companies battle both disruption and the need to protect data and assets in 2018.