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Help Your Customers Reap the Gains IoT Flexibility Brings – Without the Risks

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides flexibility to use information in ever more powerful, efficient ways. But as the  IoT expands, it also introduces new security and privacy challenges. Are your customers’ security postures flexible enough to protect systems and data from the risks?

IoT is everywhere—from smart home devices like thermostats and door locks, to smart cars with apps that tell you when to change the oil, to fitness trackers that push you to take more steps each day.

While increasingly common in the consumer space, the IoT is also proliferating throughout the modern business world, as enterprises learn more about its potential to streamline processes, increase revenue and cut costs. Business Insider (BI) estimates that a total of $6 trillion will be invested in IoT solutions over the next five years, with enterprises poised to invest $3 billion and reap an ROI of $7.6 billion between 2015 and 2025.

Enterprise interest in the IoT is being fueled primarily by the flexibility it offers for sharing, using, storing and analyzing data in different ways and places. For example, BI predicts that by 2020, IoT will be big business in:

  • Oil/gas/mining: The industry will deploy 5.4 million IoT devices to provide critical data such as environmental metrics at extraction sites.
  • Agriculture: Up to 75 million IoT sensors will be used to track soil acidity, temperatures and other variables to improve crop yields.
  • Retail: Beacons paired with mobile apps will track consumer behavior and push just-in-time ads, generating an estimated $44.4 billion.
  • Healthcare: The industry will implement 646 million connected devices to handle tasks such as monitoring health issues and regulating/administering medications, reducing costs while improving patient outcomes.  

IoT Flexibility Adds To Network Complexity

Unfortunately, while all of this IoT data and flexibility enables your customers to bolster the bottom line, it also adds to network complexity. Enterprise networks must now support hundreds and even thousands of IoT devices, all of which communicate different data sets from different places at different times and frequencies, adding to congestion and bandwidth concerns.

In addition, many IoT devices are headless and run only the simplest of communications protocols. This hinders their ability to run security agents easily or be patched efficiently, which opens up a slew of new attack surfaces and threat vectors. In fact, a recent HP Fortify study found that common IoT devices on average had 25 vulnerabilities per device.

Attackers know this. With recent hacks proving how attackers can take control of vehicles remotely, spy on your toddler via a baby monitor or send you into cardiac arrest by manipulating your pacemaker, it’s only a matter of time before a major breach of an enterprise IoT deployment makes headlines.

Centralized Control Secures IoT, Preserves Flexibility

Securing IoT while preserving its flexibility to boost revenue, cut costs and deliver ROI requires an approach that enhances visibility, improves response times and helps manage growth. Fortinet’s FortiManager does just that, with centralized control and single-pane-of-glass management, enabling comprehensive logging and reporting, as well as consistent policies and monitoring across thousands of FortiOS-enabled devices. Isn’t it time to recommend Fortinet FortiManager to your customers?

As a value-added distributor for Fortinet, Fine Tec can help ensure your customer’s IoT initiatives remain flexible, profitable and secure. Learn more.