The high performance network security, enterprise, and data centre firewall company Fortinet have just released the results of their latest survey and found that data loss and unauthorised access are the most important issues facing the internet of things today.
The survey, conducted in June 2014, asked more than 1,800 homeowners across the world about the key issues that effected both their belief in and desire to embrace the internet of things.
Other key findings include:
- A significant majority – 61 percent – claimed that they believed that ‘connected home’ (a home in which household appliances and home electronics are all connected to the internet) is ‘extremely likely’ to become a reality in the next five years. In India – on average the most positive country about the internet of things – the figure rose as high as 69 percent. This is great news for the industry; there are expected to be 9 billion devices connected to the internet of things by 2018.
- Data security remains a significant issue across all aspects of internet usage, and the internet of things is no different. Nearly three quarters (69 percent) of respondents to Fortinet’s survey said they were either ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ that a connected appliance could result in a data breach or an exposure of sensitive, personal information. India was once again the highest ranked country, with 81 percent of respondents highlighting the issue.
- The cost of implementing the internet of things in the home is not a deterrent to most users. When asked “would you be willing to pay for a new wireless router optimised for connected home devices”, 40 percent responded with “definitely” and another 48 percent said “maybe”; in a follow-on question more than 50 percent said they would pay more for their Internet service in order to “enable connected devices to function” in their home. Although, despite consumers’ willingness to pay for a quality infrastructure, homeowners across the world still claimed that price was the number one factor likely to influence them, followed by features/functionality and brand.
It is inevitable that privacy risks will arise as objects within the internet of things collect and aggregate fragments of data that relate to their service. The collation of multiple data points can swiftly become personal information as events are reviewed in the context of location, time, and recurrence, etc. Similarly to the early days of RFID tags in passports (when US-based passports could initially be read from 10 metres away with eBay equipment worth $250), the manufacturers and developers will need to find a way to eliminate these risks while still taking advantages of the benefits that that internet of things can offer.
By Daniel Price