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IoT buyers eye private network deployments for added security

Fully private, segregated networks for IoT deployments are becoming increasingly attractive to many organisations, according to a report

More organisations adopting the internet of things (IoT) into their IT strategies are considering implementing or already setting up fully-private networks to guard against cyber security threats, according to a report produced by analysts at Omdia on behalf of Syniverse, a supplier of mobility services.

The survey of buyers in the financial services, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing and retail sectors was conducted across both North America and Europe, and found that while most organisations saw strong business drivers to adopt the IoT as part of their wider digital transformation strategy, implementation concerns were high on the agenda.

Indeed, said the report, 50% of respondents cited data, network and device security as the most pressing challenge to IoT adoption. The same number said they had put IoT devices on a privately held network, and 97% were either considering or currently using one.

Syniverse said this reinforced the trend of moving away from running IoT deployments on the public-facing internet as concerns around the hijacking of devices into botnets, the use of them as a gateway to introduce malware to the enterprise network, and data theft or leakage, increase.

“The increasing adoption of IoT across enterprises is not without its challenges. However, experience, network reach and technology expertise can be instrumental in addressing enterprises’ concerns,” said Syniverse chief marketing officer Bill Hurley.

“For example, the use of private networks to avoid the inherent risks of the public internet is a viable but technically complex approach. The Syniverse IoT study with Omdia shows that companies are eager to adopt and realise the economic and productivity benefits, but understand they can’t go it alone in their deployments.”

More concerningly, said Syniverse, half of organisations quizzed said they had no dedicated teams, processes or policies governing IoT cyber security.

It also highlighted that concerns around the safety of the IoT tended to slow down adoption, with nearly 90% saying they had seen delays or constraints in this regard. This is in spite of the fact that budgets allocated to securing the IoT appear to make up a statistically significant proportion of the total project spend – just over half of respondents said they were spending 20% or more of their IoT budget on security.

Syniverse and Omdia agreed this might indicate “significant reliance” on third-party IoT providers, the IT channel and suppliers for solutions and guidance, with a majority of respondents saying the ability to provide proven integrated IoT security solutions was either essential or very important in the tender process.

Alexandra Rehak, head of Omdia’s IoT practice, said: “Cleary there is strong demand to expand the use of IoT solutions in enterprises. But to realise this potential, enterprises need fully secure, easy-to-deploy and highly flexible ways to support integrating IoT into their businesses and processes.

“Syniverse and Omdia see a growing role for expert third-party suppliers to help businesses tap into the opportunities available through greater global IoT connectivity.”

 Other pressing concerns included an inability to integrate IoT deployments with legacy IT and networks, cited by 44%, and an inability to integrate IoT deployments with business processes, cited by 40%.

The full study, Connected everything: Taking the I out of IoT can be downloaded from Syniverse’s website.

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