IoT: The Internet of Trouble

It might be surprising to note that the number of connected devices outgrew the world population back in 2008. By 2020, on average, each person on the planet will have about six devices. It’s fair to say that the Internet of Things (IoT) has already arrived, but what does this mean, and should you be concerned?

Surfing the Tsunami of IoT Challenges

Organizations are increasingly embracing the IoT, where business technology is connected to physical assets. These IoT-enabled solutions can offer a wide range of business and commercial applications, connecting tens of millions of devices to help drive optimization, cost reduction, access to real-time data, and speedier and safer decision-making.

However, this convergence will create a potential tsunami of security challenges if not properly addressed. Wearables, connected cars, smart cities and more contribute to this ecosystem, but these life-enhancing technologies bring additional problems. Many of these sensors and devices lack the proper hardware and software to meet burgeoning security demands.

IoT is driving digital disruption of the physical world
Source: IBM Watson IoT

Novel types of attacks and new cybersecurity regulations may take some industries by surprise. To succeed with the IoT transformation, companies must gather information to understand new threats and how to mitigate them within the context of big data.

The IoT opens up networks to a variety of threats as they connect to more and more devices and, eventually, to the cloud. The figure below shows an example of a home automation device connected to a home network with possible security threats.

Diagram of IoT security attacks
Source: Nautech

Big Data, Big Problems

The traditional model of security is different when applied to IoT devices such as basic sensors and data collectors. A new approach is required to withstand the increasing volume of devices. Unfortunately, organizations don’t yet understand what this new approach should look like.

With the huge amounts of data we have available to us, it is impossible to understand it all. It’s important to train businesses to ask themselves what they need to know, not what they need to do. When combined with cognitive capabilities, this insight empowers analysts to ask the right questions, build foresight and adapt accordingly ahead of risk. In other words, data integration — or, to be technical, data harmonization — is absolutely essential for taking full advantage of your big data and the IoT revolution.

Listen to the podcast series: 5 Indisputable facts about IOT security

IBM’s Watson for Cyber Security represents a new relationship between technology and people in which the technology transforms from enabler to trusted advisor. By accessing and understanding all kinds of data — including unstructured data, which had previously been invisible to analysts — and making correlations at great scale and speed, Watson for Cyber Security helps analysts more effectively respond to threats across the network, endpoints and in the cloud. Security investigations can be shortened from days or weeks to mere minutes.

Watson Changes the Game

Why Watson? The IoT will soon be the largest single source of data on the planet, yet almost 90 percent of that data is never used. Video, audio, blog posts, tweets — it all overwhelms traditional computing systems and approaches to analytics. As a result, we can only see slivers of insight. The rest remains in the dark.

Watson is a game changer. It is the first — in fact, the only — complete cognitive computing platform built specifically to handle all the data processing challenges the IoT presents. With its unique ability to learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact naturally with users, Watson opens the door for enterprises, governments and individuals to more fully harness the potential of this data to generate new insights that can benefit businesses and society alike.

QRadar Advisor with Watson provides cognitive abilities that can help your team deal with security challenges. Its technologies can mimic human thought to understand advanced threats, triage those threats and make recommendations about dealing with potential or actual attacks.

A Continued Investment

IBM is investing heavily in the IoT and aspires to become the platform for the IoT market. In March 2015, we announced a $3 billion investment over the next four years to deliver IoT solutions and services to customers. With this investment, the company plans to create, build, and manage connected products and systems at the heart of the IoT.

Using its industry-leading cognitive security capabilities, Watson can be your trusted advisor to help you make sense of a sea of structured and unstructured data. QRadar Advisor with Watson taps into the vast array of data to uncover new threat patterns, deliver faster and more accurate analysis of security threats, and save precious time and enterprise security resources.

Learn More About Cognitive Security Analytics and what it can do for your business

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Luke Kenny

Senior Managing Consultant, IBM

Luke joined the IBM Security Business Unit in 2016 as a Senior Consultant supporting clients across Energy & Utilities and Industrial sectors. He brings a plethora of experience focused around security and risk management, Industrie 4.0, Advanced Manufacturing, Lean Six sigma and business execution. Luke moved from General Electric Oil and Gas (subsea and drilling) as an Advanced Manufacturing Leader. Here he led and integrated a number of Brilliant Factory (Smart Grid) initiatives throughout the value chain as part of the emerging digital oil field concept (IoT). In particular, he championed; the cybersecurity and crisis management team, digital production boards, RFID (tracking), additive manufacturing and the first to use collaborative robotics in production in oil and gas.