Survey: Security The Top Issue for IoT Developers

Developers responding to a survey by The Eclipse Foundation listed security as their top concern in developing Internet of Things technologies.
Developers responding to a survey by The Eclipse Foundation listed security as their top concern in developing Internet of Things technologies.

In-brief: A survey of more than 300 developers working on Internet of Things products reveals that security is their top concern, followed by interoperability.

A survey of developers working on Internet of Things technologies reveals that security and interoperability are the top concern, the Eclipse IoT Working Group reports this week.

Fully 44% of Internet of Things developers listed “Security” as one of two top concerns for developing IoT solutions. Thirty one percent listed “Interoperability” as one of two top concerns. The survey, which took place in February and March, polled 356 IoT developers.

The Eclipse Foundation is an industry-funded consortium that promotes open source development. It counts companies like Google, IBM, SAP, Oracle, CA and Red Hat as members.  

[Read Security Ledger coverage of open source security.]

Responses varied depending on how far along developers were in their IoT project, wrote Ian Skerrett, the Director of Marketing at the Eclipse Foundation. Sixty percent of developers who were in the planning stages of developing an IoT solution were concerned about security. But that number was lower for developers who had already deployed such a solution. For that population, connectivity was more of a concern, the survey showed. 

“It is interesting to see how the concerns change between developers who have deployed a solution vs developers planning to deploy a solution,” Skerett wrote in a blog post.

The results provide an interesting glimpse into the fast-evolving Internet of Things space, from the software developer’s point of view. The results suggest that Internet of Things products are a reality in many organizations. Forty five percent of those surveyed said their company currently develops and deploys Internet of Things products. Another 17% said their company plans to do so within the next six months.

Home automation was the most common type of solution that developers reported they were working on, with 44% identifying that as the focus of their work. Industrial automation was a close second,with 35% of respondents reporting having worked on an industrial automation IoT project.

And much of the development work appears to take place at smaller firms. Fifty six percent of respondents said their employer had between 1 and 500 employees. Thirty five percent worked in a company that employed between 1 and 49 employees.

The use of open source technology was pervasive: fully 80% of the developers surveyed said their employer uses open source software for Internet of Things solutions. Linux was the dominant operating system, accounting for 78% used to power IoT devices. HTTP was the most common messaging protocol. Among IoT specific protocols, only MQTT was used by a majority of respondents (53%), Eclipse found.

Despite the popular focus on the Internet of Things potential to connect and instrument the physical world, the survey suggests that – for now, at least – IoT development is being driven by individuals with backgrounds in more pedestrian pursuits: enterprise software, web development and embedded software development.

Those developers said they were influenced more in their technology decisions by hardware vendors, semi-conductor manufacturers and cloud computing providers than by network operators, system integrators or huge enterprise software vendors, Eclipse said. Intel, Google, IBM, Cisco and Bosch were listed as the top five corporate IoT leaders by survey recipients.