The internet of things. It almost sounds too bizarre to be an actual thing. But believe us, it’s a real term and something you should be aware of.
What is the Internet of things?
In the simplest terms, the Internet of things is what it claims to be… Things that are connected to the internet.
The word ‘things’ refers to something a little more specific.
‘Things’ are physical devices that are now connected together via the internet. Meaning smart devices, sensors, cameras etc. can now ‘talk’ to one another, whether that’s through signals being sent or data being shared between them.
Head of TechUK, Matthew Evans, explains it perfectly:
“Simply, the Internet of Things is made up of devices – from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables – connected together”
Is this a new term/phrase?
Not in the slightest. Would you believe that the term has been talked about for decades?
History even shows that the first internet connected device (other than machines designed for the purpose of internet surfing) was a toaster in 1989.
However (as I’m sure you have guessed) this invention was ahead of its time, where the invention of voice activated devices, smart sensors and smart fridges weren’t there to accompany these futuristic bread warmers.
Why does it matter to me?
As technology enhances and develops, more and more devices will become constants in everyday life. Take the Amazon Alexa for example, upon its release it was rejected by many individuals and people were convinced Amazon was ‘spying’ on family conversations.
This has since been proven that the technology does have the capability to record conversations, but only when the devices ‘wake word’ is spoken. Amazon also pointed to the fact that users are in control to wipe any existing data or conversations.
Fast forward to December 2018 and Amazon have had massive successes with their Alexa and Echo devices, with many people receiving them as Christmas presents.
Why does it matter to my business?
Firstly, if technology like the Echo and Alexa are going to be in so many homes – your business could benefit from adopting the technology. Here are just a few ideas of how IoT inventions could help your business great:
Client + Customer satisfaction
Depending on your business model and day to day activity, could a smart device like a voice activated device improve your customer or client service? Would giving the option of music choice, temperature or even company information on tap help in a sales meeting or account review?
Alternatively, could introducing smart technology into the workplace improve employee morale? Workplaces are evolving with changes to office layouts, remote working and flexible working hours. Meaning embracing new technology would show your employees that the company is willing to invest for them. Smart devices for kitchens to encourage healthier eating? Wearable tech to encourage exercise instead of vehicle usage? Smart devices to allow contact and productivity from outside the office?
Data helps any business, whether its from the perspective of learning more about your clients or when approaching new ones, data can play a big part. The advantage of smart technology and IoT devices is that more data than ever before is now available. These devices can track and record patterns allowing them to become smarter every time they are interacted with.
Could my business be at risk?
Yes. But only if you aren’t proactively protecting what devices you introduce into your workplace.
Previously we’ve wrote about Shadow IT Threats and how new devices that aren’t a part of your network could expose you to potential risks.
Unlike in the past, a physical device would disconnect from the internet once turned off – this is where IoT devices differ. As these devices are always connected to ensure updates and lightning quick information is delivered or retained, as they remain connected throughout the day.
However, there are some very easy steps you can take to ensure your network is secure:
Isolate IoT devices
To ensure no harm can ever affect your network, isolating any IoT devices on a separate network can guarantee nothing attacks your workplace connection.
Purchase from trusted manufacturers
Keeping IoT devices security patches up to date is a vital process if you want to keep them secure and not vulnerable to potential risks or attacks.
Set your own passwords
Make sure any IoT devices are protected with secure and unique passwords, meaning that if any devices are exposed, it ends there. There is also the option for 2 factor authentication with certain devices to ensure user protection.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to protect your IT network, or general advice about how improve your IT infrastructure – Get in contact with us on 02920 887 362 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org