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Report finds most businesses need stronger cyber-security defences for their iot solutions

09 Dec 2021 

Research by Inmarsat reveals that most businesses face security challenges when deploying Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Those surveyed said the fear of external cyber-attacks and poor network security are their two biggest concerns, underlining the need for stronger cyber-security defences for their IoT solutions. The research also shows businesses are increasingly taking proactive measures to combat IoT security threats, such as introducing internal IoT security policies and investing in new security technologies.

According to the research, ‘Industrial IoT in the Time of Covid-19’, based on the interviews of 450 global respondents across the agriculture, electrical utilities, mining, oil and gas, and transport and logistics sectors, more than three quarters (77 per cent) say their organisation’s IoT projects could be more secure. Half (50 per cent) of all businesses consider the risk of an external cyber-attack the biggest security challenge associated with the use of IoT projects within their organisations. Businesses are also acutely aware that stolen, misused or misplaced data from IoT projects could give competitors access to confidential business information. For this reason, the other top IoT security threats identified by those surveyed include poor network security (49 per cent), insecure or unencrypted edge networks and employees mishandling data (both 44 per cent).

Since Inmarsat’s last IoT survey in 2018, IoT adoption has dramatically accelerated, with the resulting proliferation of networks intrinsically creating more vulnerable endpoints across IoT networks and the number of perceived security threats associated with industrial IoT networks increasing accordingly. However, considerable progress has been made over the last few years to combat these threats, with an increasing number of companies responding by creating an internal IoT security policy. Nearly half (48 per cent) of all organisations now have one in place, compared with only 32 per cent in 2018. Many more businesses are now investing in new security technologies (46 per cent, compared to 33 per cent in 2018) or creating an external IoT security policy for suppliers and partners (41 per cent, compared to 29 per cent in 2018).

Those organisations which have a formal IoT strategy in place, are more likely to take measures to ensure their cyber-security, with over half (53 per cent) having created an internal IoT security policy (compared with only 43 per cent of those without a formal IoT strategy in place). IoT security is also a higher priority in those organisations where IoT purchasing decisions are made at board level by the C-suite, or by the senior leadership team. Here, a higher-than-average proportion of respondents are focusing on upgrading their existing security technologies (46 per cent, compared with the sample average of 39 per cent).

Commenting on the findings, Mike Carter, President of Inmarsat Enterprise said: “With nearly four in five of our research respondents reporting their organisation’s IoT security could be more robust, many businesses clearly continue to face serious security challenges in their IoT deployments. The accelerating speed of IoT adoption over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a proliferation of security concerns, given the increasing number of potentially vulnerable endpoints associated with IoT projects. Comparing our latest results with our 2018 IoT survey, security risks are growing, but in response, businesses are becoming more aware of cyber-security threats and doing more to respond.”

“Overall, our results reveal that those organisations with a formal IoT strategy in place, or who enjoy full support for their IoT projects at the boardroom level, lead the way in terms of having the most informed, security-conscious mindsets and are taking positive, proactive steps to shore up their cyber-security defences. These organisations tend to understand best the gravity of IoT cyber-security issues, taking essential measures such as introducing internal and external IoT security policies and investing in, or upgrading security technologies.

“Cyber-security risk management is vital at the network level. Inmarsat’s global ELERA network, the latest evolution of our industry-leading L-band network, is designed specifically to deliver the most secure and highly reliable IoT connectivity to business-critical applications, even in remote places. By enabling organisations from all sectors to access IoT securely anywhere, we enable new possibilities.”


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