I speak with Cisco customers regularly. The topic of the Internet of Everything (IoE) comes up often. Put simply, their concerns can be summed up in a single question: How can I prepare for the network of tomorrow when it’s difficult to keep pace with managing the fast-moving complexity of my network today?
IoT: So Many Vulnerabilities. So Little Time and Resources. So Much at Stake.
Research firm IDC predicts there will be over 28 billion connected devices installed by 2020, while fellow analyst Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.
An example of one industry that’s moving to meet this opportunity is retailing. Like me, I’m sure you’ve noticed the change in your shopping experience — whether it’s contextual matching of products to your personal profile or in-store product or pricing comparisons using your mobile device.
But moving into the revolutionary digital retail environment enabled by the Internet of Things doesn’t come without risk. New connectedness brings new security threats. For the typical network administrator a major security issue like the Heartbleed bug can quickly turn into a bad case of heartburn. What’s the nature of the vulnerability? What devices are impacted? How do I respond? When you combine these questions with the day to day demands of directly supporting end-users, answering technical questions, resolving network issues, writing scripts, creating reports, monitoring systems and managing version controls, it’s not surprising that a network operations team can be overwhelmed. And that’s before the growing connectivity fueled by the Internet of Things.
Quickly pinpointing security problems among thousands of connected network devices is hard. But finding relevant security alerts has traditionally been a time-consuming, manual process complicated by the fact that even when an alert is found, a network administrator then needs to find the specific, impacted devices on his company’s network to protect them against risk. Now, compound the problem with the onslaught of IoT devices.