For years the proverbial ‘herding cats’ was directed at a room full of programmers who all had a different creative spin on an IT solution. While this still remains an ongoing complexity, the difficulties in the new IT landscape are far more profound. The internet of things (IoT) has taken the ‘cats’ and made them massively mobile, while at the same time interconnecting their workspaces. Design and management across the IoT is already a complex issue, but for business owners and managers, the greater issues are in the field of security.
Security is always a pressing issue in any IT space. Needs like ease of access, rapid data transfer, and open communication clash with intellectual property protection, sensitive data, and blocking unwanted access. With the increase in mobility, and device proliferation, security across the IoT is fast becoming a complex and urgent business. Many of the devices that are connected across business networks use old or out of date security patches, while at the same time have access to private networks. Further, the user may not have ever changed the default password of the device. This leaves a huge security loophole that may allow access to potentially sensitive information by unauthorized users. It seems the cats are too busy and too mobile to be kept up with!
These days the most popular and most helpful fix seems to be the use of APIs across business to business space. The API (application program interface) is a string of code that allows two programs to integrate with one another. The API forces a developer to write in a certain way for the program to have access to an operating system or network. The API has specific required syntax that is needed for integration to take place. The API, because of its more streamlined call demands, represents a simple, elegant, and relatively lightweight solution to the security issues the IoT is facing. APIs would also allow for secure access to cloud information in a secure environment without the bulk of security systems that function universally.
Because of the proliferation of things like smart meters, smart houses, cars with data transmission, etc., the need for more clear and open API information is fast approaching. Manufacturers should begin to produce products with upfront information about the control mechanisms that are underlying their devices, and which would allow for more accurate, rapid and simple integration. IT management should be careful to use devices with disclosed APIs as control systems in order to manage users and devices that otherwise may provide access points to their private information. APIs should be used to ensure that only appropriate users have access to information.
It’s not clear what the future holds in the IoT, but what is clear is that the need for simple but highly effective security systems will continue to grow. The mobile, interconnected world is fast approaching and the cutting edge of security will need to keep up with its sophisticated demands.