IoT (or IoEE): Product Security Is Becoming a Strategic Risk

For a long time, IT risks have been widely ignored by business people, including Corporate Risk Officers (CROs) and C-level management. This has changed recently with the increasing perception of cyber-security risks. With the move to the IoT (Internet of Things) or, better, the IoEE (Internet of Everything and Everyone), we are beginning upon a new level.

When a company starts selling and deploying connected things, this also raises product liability questions. Obviously, goods that are connected are more in danger than goods that aren’t. Connecting things creates a new type of product liability risk, by creating a specific attack surface over the Internet. Thus, when enthusiastically looking at the new business potential of connecting things, organizations must also analyze the impact on product liability. If things go really wrong, this might put the entire organization at risk.

Product security inevitably becomes a #1 topic for any organization that starts selling connected things. These things contain some software – let’s call this a “thinglet”. It’s not an app with a user interface. It is a rather autonomous piece of code that connects to apps and to backend services – and vice versa. Such thinglets must be designed following the principles of Security by Design and Privacy by Design. They also must be operated securely, including a well thought-out approach to patch management.

It’s past time for vendors to analyze the relationship of the IoEE, product security, and product liability risks.

Sounds like “security as the notorious naysayer”? Sounds like “security kills agility”? Yes, but only at first glance. If you use the security argument for blocking innovation, then security stays in its well-known, negative role. However, as I have written in a recent post (and, in more details, in some other posts linked to that post), security and privacy, if done right, are an opportunity not a threat. Security by Design and Privacy by Design drive Agility by Design. A shorter time-to-market results from consequently following these principles. If you don’t do so, you will have to decide between the security risk and the risk of being too late – but only then. Security done right is a key success factor nowadays.


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