Internet of Things and the Enterprise (InfoGraphic)

I’m a big fan of infographics – at least when they’re well done and present insightful facts. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for good ones – especially when the subject is The Internet of Things.

Xively Infographic: Internet of Things
Xively Infographic: Internet of Things

So I was interested to come across the latest contribution from IoT firm Xively (part of the company LogMeIn), which pulls together some factoids on IoT’s potential in the enterprise. Among the interesting statistics gussied up in this one: an Economist Intelligence Unit data point saying that 95 % of C-level executives expect their company to be using the Internet of Things in three years time, while 74% of them predicting that it will play a ‘major role’ in their business in that time.

That’s kind of astounding when you consider it: executives saying ‘Here is this new kind of technology that we barely use now. But in three years, it will be central to how we do business – we just can’t tell you exactly how.” I’m not sure if even mobile phones inspired that kind of reassessment when they came along in the late 1990s.

The other statistic they throw around, of course, is the gonzo “number of connected devices” figure. It’s 40 billion by 2020, or maybe 80 billion. At a certain point, the exact number becomes irrelevant – its big.

The question, as always, is what affects IoT devices will have on business risk. Xively is a platform for IoT and business, so it makes sense to focus on all the improvements that intelligent, thinking machines will bring. But all those connected devices also escalate the risk of attack and compromise in ways that are difficult to predict. That, in turn, will necessitate new and different spending (though not necessarily more spending) to secure data stored on IoT devices and passed between them. Enterprises will also need new tools to monitor the integrity of enterprise networks that are bristling with smart devices.

At the very least, we need to temper our expectations about all the good things IoT will bring to the enterprise with a healthy dose of skepticism about the security and privacy challenges they’ll pose.

That will be one of the big topics of discussion at our upcoming Security of Things Forum in May here in Boston. If you haven’t already registered, head over to the Security of Things web site and do so now!

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