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Is there a solution to IoT security?

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By Ann Newman, Writer, Dell

Many of us understand that the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to wirelessly connected devices and appliances (everything from smartphones and refrigerators to cars and heart-monitoring devices), but the farthest-reaching implications are a little less obvious.

Twenty-five billion IoT objects already exist thanks to widespread use ofcloud computing. Some estimates indicate this number will grow to 50 billion by 2020. And each of those devices can potentially reveal intimate data about the objects that house them. How vulnerable does this make us? The frequency of data breaches is on the rise all over the world.

Is the risk worth it? That train pulled into uncharted territory long ago. Consider that more than two-thirds (70 percent) of 50 billion internet-connected objects have already demonstrated serious weaknesses.

Still, no one wants their personal data to end up in the wrong hands. IoT devices don’t have to be embedded in critical objects to create vulnerabilities. For example, a study from Rapid7 found that internet-connected baby monitors could provide a gateway to personal data if they are connected to sensitive networks. The study also provides recommendations for addressing those exposures.

It’s frightening to imagine what could happen if hackers gained control of IoT-connected health devices or worse. To meet this issue head on, the FBI issued a statement to alert consumers of the potential dangers as well as recommendations for safeguarding wearable health devices.

IoT security will continue to present challenges, but teams of experts around the world are dedicated to overcoming those challenges. The Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative creates universal standards and recommendations for using IoT-connected devices. This worldwide initiative focuses on combating threats by establishing controlled, unified use of IoT devices.

Other alliances have also been created to combat this issue, including the Internet of Things Security Foundation. The nonprofit group of leading tech companies helps to vet IOT devices for potential vulnerabilities and provide security assistance.

At the same time, smaller pockets of researchers have organized a partnership called BuildItSecure.ly. This org helps startup IoT businesses build secure objects from the ground up. Individual companies such as Dell are developing solutions that target common IoT security problems. GENBAND, a communications software company, offers layered security for IOT device connections. The product, Kandy Communications Platform-as-a-Service, separates IoT device connections into readymade packages that incorporate encryption technology and security protocols.

All of these companies understand that to achieve success, their IoT solutions need to protect as well as connect their customers.

The Internet of Things makes up just one aspect of the future of cloud computing. To learn more about the future of cloud computing, check out this interactive.

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