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Will Android Things Solve the Issue of IoT Security?

February 7, 2017

With more and more enterprise companies adopting Internet of Things devices, Google is helping lead the way towards creating a strong IoT security framework.

The last quarter of 2016 was filled with horror stories of enterprise security being heavily threatened by the new tech darling of the moment: IoT. And while sometimes security threats are overblown, the concerns around the Internet of Things is not. In fact, we think it has the possibility to be one of the biggest enterprise security issues for 2017, primarily because of the lack of cohesive security guidelines that nearly all IoT devices suffer from.

This isn't surprising, given the rush to market that many companies face when trying to innovate and roll out new products. What is worrisome, though, is the fact that many of these devices are being quickly adopted by consumer masses and even by large organizations and municipalities without having IoT security in mind.

A Gartner report from March of 2016 found that an estimated 43% of enterprise organizations were expected to adopt some type of IoT device by the end of the year, with 29% reportedly already using IoT in their operations. These systems are expected to be most heavily used by companies in the oil and gas, manufacturing, and utilities industries, where IoT can help bring automation to many operational processes, saving time and money.

While that can be great for operational efficiency, it's a hugely risky proposition given the lack security standards for IoT devices overall. And with cyber attacks predicted to continue to increase at a rapid pace over the next year, it presents a major security quandary - how can enterprises either retroactively or quickly create and implement stronger IoT security?

That's where Google comes in. The tech giant recently rolled out a developer preview for Android Things - an operating system that grew out of their Project Brillo. Android Things is an Android based IoT initiative that offers a development platform for building IoT devices using Android API and Google Services through Android's SDK "Android Studio".

Now, you might be wondering how an open source development kit for small-scale IoT devices applies to enterprise companies, and that's a great question. It doesn't necessarily directly affect enterprise organizations, but what it does do is start implementing some basic IoT security framework from a major tech organization. The hope is that this helps spur on the creation of a more robust security framework from more IoT developers for both consumers and enterprises.

At the end of the day, IoT is still a very new technology even though it's experiencing a very rapid adoption from consumers and businesses. During this early rollout, there's going to be a catch up period where companies have to figure out how to keep these devices safe and secure from cyber attacks. A push for a set of security protocols from a major industry leader like Google will help set the stage for creating and implementing further security standards for the IoT industry. And in the meantime, we plan on keeping an eye out to see what other advancements are being made in IoT security this year.



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