It is in the end more than a question of security…

Oh what data we produce when first we implement IoT. I’ve written a lot of articles in the past year about the concepts, frameworks and components of IoT. Recently on Safegov I published an article talking about the information generated as part of an IoT implementation. That reality, IoT producing a lot of information results in a number of questions that come to mind.

How do we secure the data? IoT exists on devices and sensors that traditionally haven’t always been completely secure. Who is going to go the edge of a volcano and steal and lava sensor? There are clip_image002sensors and devices that imposing physical security (the lava sensor) but many do not. The first thing criminals do is shoot out the cameras. Or shut down the video surveillance system. It reduces the change of them being identified.

The next question that comes to mind about the devices is reliability. How do we implement IoT solutions with greater overall solution reliability? This includes reliability of two distinct components of the overall solution. The first is the actual device/sensor. The clip_image004second is the transmission of data and findings. The reality of mesh networks, a number of sensors and devices connected together in a mesh becomes more and more critical. No one failed sensor or device will hurt the mesh. No 100 failed sensors will in the end impact the mesh. They devices and sensors can communicate with each other. One or more would then be designated to send the bundle of collected data to the receiver. In this way you don’t overwhelm with data but at the same time you have a reliability and fault tolerance that allows you to know the data you need will get where it is needed.

The last question that comes to mind in this data of IoT post is the concept of Off-line. For many years we have built systems that operated off-line. There was a time when we switched, from off-line to on-line. The great Internet question became is the network up or the network down. The old answer was clip_image006the network is down. The new answer becoming the network is up, your device is down. The concept of off-line fading a little. But off-line is still needed. As much to control bandwidth as anything. It offers greater security risk but in the end, greater functionality. A cellular device is limited by the total bandwidth available for that device. That includes both the available network as well as the number of users connected to the actual cellular tower. Data in the end when it moves is bound by not only the total capacity of the network, but also of all the devices on the network and the total processing capability of the device. Devices that cannot process data locally have a lot more back and forth with remote servers. The same by the way is true for remote sensors and devices that cannot process anything. Local storage becomes critical in the long run.

All of these questions in the end the side story of IoT. What data is produced, how we secure it, and how to we provide fidelity for the transmission and sharing of the data. In the end these questions will reveal the end game of IoT. It may in the end be a very large fad. Or it may be the linkage between the functionality offered by cloud computing solutions, and the business/organization utility of data analytics. Both in the end a story of what you need, when you need it, no matter where you are. By the way secure when you use it, when you want it, and where you are using it. Finally that data available for you at the moment you need it in a consumable form. That means some data will need to be on your local device in order to effectively support the required time element of when I need it, not when it is available.

The internet of information available on my device shared from things all around me, when I need it, where I need it, securely at all times.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.