For Entrepreneurs Looking to Disrupt the Internet of Things Industry, Here is How to Ensure Customers Feel Safe Using Your Products

Gary Davis

Q: For entrepreneurs going into the Internet of Things, what do they need to worry about? How do they keep their product safe?

A: One of the biggest security challenges we will face over the next five years is how to secure the 50 billion devices coming online. Between the exponential growth of connected devices and the introduction of hyper-connectivity with 5G, the bad actors will have an unprecedented ability to leverage an extraordinarily large attack surface at previously unrealized speeds.

In the middle of 2014, HP published research that basically suggested that most IoT device manufacturers were foregoing any meaningful security and instead solving for time to market and convenience. In the report, they looked at the top 10 devices deployed in consumers’ homes and found that they had on average 25 vulnerabilities each. Most of those vulnerabilities were things that any security practitioner would address before taking the device to market such as not using encrypted communications, not requiring a password reset and not requiring a complex password, to name a few. I recall being on a panel at IoT conference last year where one of the panelists talked about a connected lightbulb that was broadcasting WiFi passwords in clear text so anyone who detected the lightbulb would be able to easily tunnel into any device connected to the WiFi.

Related: What Small Businesses Need to Know About the Future of Cybersecurity and Hackers

To build trust with the businesses and consumers who will be purchasing your IoT devices, I suggest you consider the following:

Build security in from the beginning.
Hire a cybersecurity expert or seek consultation to ensure you are building products that are secure before you take them to market. Your worst nightmare would be waking up one morning to find your IoT devices were shown to be easily hacked or have a serious exploitable vulnerability.

Take privacy seriously.
Don’t bury the privacy statement deep in a EULA and be sure to use simple language that clearly reflects what information you will collecting and what you will be doing with the data.

Related: Going Beyond Passwords: 4 Ways to Keep Your Company’s Information Safe

Be transparent.
Only collect the data you need what you say you’re going to collect and only do with it what you say in your privacy statement.

Plan for the worst.
Even if you have built a secure IoT device and are adhering to your privacy statement, you still may find your device and company being the victim of an attack. You should build and practice a crisis communications plan should your company’s IoT device be a negative media headline.

Stay informed.
Security practices, architectures and solutions are constantly evolving especially as they relate to IoT. Stay informed of what’s going on the space and use the latest, best known methods and techniques.

Research was recently published saying that 45 percent of those surveyed said concerns over online privacy and security stopped them from using the Internet in very practical ways. I believe for the full potential of the Internet and IoT devices to be realized, we must demonstrate both can be properly secured and that we can protect the privacy of those who use them.

Fast Trak Inc Book Recommendation!

Here is our book recommendation of the week!

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill

This book focuses on the importance of interpersonal skills. The author of this book, Napoleon Hill, was a friend of Andrew Carnegie who was the world’s richest man at a point.   Hill filled the  book with advice he learned from Carnegie throughout the years. It focuses on building meaningful relationships and  practicing leadership that people can try immediately.

tagr

Fiber Optic Fun Facts

Happy Fiber Optic Friday! Feast your eyes on these five fun facts!
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1. Fiber optic fibers use light. If you didn’t know that by now, welcome to the party! On a more serious note, because fiber optic cables emit less heat than electric ones, there’s less chance of a fire in buildings that use fiber optics. Home electric fires are also, sadly, incredibly common, especially these days when entire houses are plugged in and running lights, TVs, kitchen appliances and everything else under the sun! Electric cables can be rendered useless if even a portion of the cable overheats and melts. The signal is disrupted and the energy can’t be used. It’s garbage…dangerous garbage! Not so with fiber optics!

2. Fiber optic fibers are thinner than ever! Yes, it seems even science and technology adhere to New Year Resolutions with the same determination as any of us. And thinner and sleeker means faster and better. Fiber optic cables are thinner than a human hair! Unlike bulky and limited copper wires, data that’s transmitted through lightweight and flexible material can move faster and more fibers can fit into one insulator pipes. That means more data for less cost for both the company and the customer!

3. Fiber optic fibers are incredibly lightweight. How lightweight, you ask? NASA uses fiber optic wiring and cables on their shuttles and rockets to decrease payload and therefore cost of fuel to launch a heavier, metal-wired electrical wiring. Better, stronger, faster, higher!..as in to Mars higher. Another benefit of lightweight materials like fiber optics is the laborers who install and transport the wiring are at a reduced risk of injury. That means a company does not have to worry about additional padded charges from insurance companies that are looking to make a buck on claims of strain from moving heavy objects and the liability therein. The cost of those claims then trickle down to the consumer! You’re already paying for your own insurance: thanks to widespread fiber optic use, you don’t have to pay for anyone else!

4. Fiber optic fibers love the planet. While not sentient, fiber optic technology is one of the “greenest” out there. It takes a lot more energy to send a sustained electric signal across a plane than it does a single flash of light. In this day and age where consumption has to be kept to a minimum, lower energy output and consumption means a smaller carbon footprint on the environment.

5. Fiber optic fibers shake it off, shake it off! Because fiber optic cables don’t transmit electricity but rather light, they don’t degrade over time like wire cables. They’re not affected by water, wind, ice, or extreme heat! They’re not immune to damage, but they can take a lot more abuse. They’ll take what you can throw at them and do it for longer, again incurring less cost on the company and the consumer.

At the end of the day, fiber optics are amazing!

Lloyd Blankfein explained everything he’s seeing on Wall Street and in the economy with one word

Portia Crowe
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has one word to tie together everything happening on Wall Street and in the global economy right now.

It all comes down to confidence, Blankfein said Friday at the firm’s annual meeting.

He was answering a shareholder question about numerous businesses within the bank and how each is affected by things like Fed policy and market volatility.

Each business’ performance can be explained by confidence, Blankfein said.

When it comes to managing money, for example, people put their money in riskier assets when they are confident and more passive assets when they are less confident.

In investment banking, people do more transactions when they have more confidence in the future.

There are “more financings, more equity raises, because people invest more money in their own businesses when they’re confident,” he said.

Right now, Blankfein said, we’re in a low-confidence environment.

“The period frankly for a long time now has been one where growth has been slow, the sentiment in the environment has been toward the negative side,” he said.

That has led to a drop-off in trading volumes and deal flow.

“Those are not generally good trends for the business that we’re in,” he said.

He pointed, however, to “signs on the horizon” indicating that we’re moving away from that environment. The Federal Reserve has started raising interest rates, employment levels are rising, and energy prices are lower, which, he said, “is generally good for the economy.”

Blankfein acknowledged that “we’ve seen signs of false dawns” before, but he nonetheless seemed optimistic about the future.

And if the environment doesn’t improve, he said, his firm will respond by focusing on the things it can control, like cost structure.

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