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“The Internet of Things” and Its Relevance for SMBs

By the DynaSis Team

Have you heard of “The Internet of Things,” and if so, do you know what it is? This term is being bandied about in the media a lot recently, but it is certainly not self-explanatory, and we suspected that many business owners – not to mention their employees – do not understand precisely what it is or what it means for them. According to a survey, released last week by CompTIA, a leading IT industry trade association, we were right.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that describes a global, interconnected network of objects that can transfer data over a network to other objects/entities without the need for a human or computer to propel the transfer. It is similar to the “smart grid” approach being used by utility providers to interconnect buildings and other facilities powered by electricity. However, with the IoT, network nodes are connected via a wireless data transfer network (like the Internet), instead.

A considerable percentage of science and technology experts predict that it is the future of our world. Per Pew Research, 83% of technology experts and engaged Internet users believe that the dynamic web created by the IoT, the cloud, and embedded/wearable devices will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025. Furthermore, research firms predict that by 2020, between 26 billion devices (per Gartner) and 30 billion devices (per ABI Research) will be wirelessly connected.  Already, a lot of them are.

In other words, it won’t be long before most businesses and individuals will be connected in some way to the IoT, whether by the watch a company president wears, the smart thermostat installed in a corporate office, or the medical monitoring device that an employee has implanted inside his or her body after a heart attack or stroke. So, what does this mean for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), and do their owners need to be concerned with it, now?

The CompTIA survey referenced earlier found that 34 percent of SMBs in the United States haven’t reviewed their service or product portfolios to take advantage of the rise of the Internet of things (IoT) and 31 percent have no plans to change their offerings in order to do so. Interestingly, 49 percent of American SMBs think the IoT will help their organizations make more money.

Here at DynaSis, we are highly cognizant of the IoT, not only the benefits it can bring SMBs but also of the risks it may generate. Already, security experts are warning that without proper precautions, a cyber-strike against the IoT could wreak incredible havoc, not only on companies and citizens but also on global infrastructure. They point out that when the majority of “things” can communicate without human or computer intervention, there will be fewer opportunities for a person or a system to detect an attack as it crosses various nodes. This scenario will make robust defenses at the corporate level even more important.

We believe that SMBs should be at least familiarizing themselves with the IoT, now, and should be preparing for the impacts (both good and bad) it may have on their businesses. If you would like to learn more about it or discuss how it might affect you, please give us a call.

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