How the Internet of Things is changing cybersecurity

We’re at an inflection point in technology history. The Internet of Things (IoT) now penetrates to the edge of the physical world and brings an important new “physical” element to security concerns. This is especially true as billions of things begin transporting data “somewhere”.

No industry is immune to the IoT and the digital opportunities it represents. Objects within the IoT also possess the ability to change the state of the environment around them, or even their own state (for example, by raising the temperature of a room automatically once a sensor has determined it is too cold or by adjusting the flow of fluids to a patient in a hospital bed based on information about the patient’s medical records). As technology begins to make changes in the physical environment, we need to have another dimension of security: Digital security.

Digital Security Defined

Digital security can be defined as “The risk-driven expansion and extension of current security and risk practices that protect digital assets of all forms in the digital business and ensures that relationships among those assets can be trusted.”

Security professionals won’t need to relearn what they know today but assets as we know them become loaded with different types of meaning. In the new world of IoT, it’s necessary to protect the relationships – thing to thing, service to thing, and thing to people. Notably, when moving from information security to cybersecurity, the qualities of security evolve to include safety along with availability, confidentiality and integrity.

Understand your role in the digital security universe

It’s important for security professionals to understand that they play a new role in the digital security universe. The “Things” in Digital Business are the “Things” in IoT and will be disassembled and reassembled in tiny packets of function that are fit for purpose and cheap. Most security professional still focus on IT and information security. But devices and services used in IoT are moving out to the edge.

Moving forward, consider reshaping the IT or cyber security strategy to incorporate known digital business goals and seek participation in digital business strategy and planning. Demonstrate competence and value in digital business moments to show credibility and become an incubator for digital security options.

Earl Perkins is a Research Vice President focusing on Integrated Security and Risk Strategies at Gartner.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit

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