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The Internet of Things: Friend or Foe at the Workplace?

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While increases in security and productivity are beneficial, using the IoT also provides for added risks from hackers prowling the internet.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the term used by those in the IT industry as a shorthand description for the ever-expanding network of gadgets, appliances, office equipment and more that have their own IP address that allows for connecting to the internet. It also is used as a description for communication that takes place between an IoT device and other internet-capable hardware.

Internet of things

IoT is causing rapid changes in the ways business’ use these tools to improve office security and productivity. However, while increases in security and productivity are beneficial, using the IoT also provides for added risks from hackers prowling the internet. Let’s explore both sides of the coin.

On the Positive Side of IoT

There are three areas related to security in the office that the Internet of Things excels in. They are:

  • Lower cost of security equipment
  • Better connected systems
  • Availability of remote control and automation

The cost of manufacturing and purchasing security hardware has quickly fallen. This means that a small or medium-sized business can begin building a security system that can be monitored by a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a desktop computer. That company can start with security cameras and add more cameras, window and door alarms, and motion detectors. If purchased separately, costs are low enough that the cost can be expensed rather than amortized. This is an added benefit of IoT-enabled security.

For added protection, companies are available that monitor business premises that are filled with IoT security devices.

Better connectivity

Only a few short years ago, digital security systems were limited to only being a “primary detection system and onsite alarm, with at most a link to a central response center using a telephone line for communications.” Today, security devices easily connect to the internet and can be monitored by a smartphone or a central security response center. Alarms are sent wirelessly and offer more protection than a cut phone line does. For improved office security, IoT provides communication by mobile technology and WiFi.

Availability of remote control and automation is a key driver of the IoT in an office environment. Already, agencies are using smart locks that require a biometric such as a retina scan or a fingerprint to unlock doors.

Also, firms are finding that office automation, using IoT, answers phones when no one is on duty, sends emails at a prescribed time, lowers the room temperature via a smart thermostat and scores of additional devices that do more than humans ever thought computers could do.

How Can the IoT Lead to Compromised Security Systems and Other Risks?

In the fall of 2016, there were many companies in the United States and abroad victimized by a Denial of Service Attack This attack flood a website with so many connectivity requests that ultimately the site goes dark. Companies affected by the attack included major technology companies such as Netflix, Spotify, and Verizon. It is believed by IT experts that the attackers hacked into thousands of connected devices including:

  • Security cameras
  • Printers
  • Wireless speakers
  • Other connected devices

These smart devices are easily hacked and when a vulnerability is uncovered, manufacturers are slow to correct the problem or offer a patch.

Lorie Wigle, general manager of IoT security solutions, Intel Security said:

“Everything from printers, cell phones, tablets, USB drives and wearable fitness devices, to industrial controls, smart building technology and the multitude of other internet-enabled devices connecting to a company’s network can be a threat if the proper precautions are not in place. Securing the IoT is a complex topic, especially so for business. . .”

To keep your business safe, consider the services of a managed service provider to handle your security issues.

PC Help Services is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information such as technology tips, tricks, and news. Contact us at (317) 585-0500 or send us an email at info@pchservices.com for more information on IoT.

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