29 May 2017

The security challenges facing Industrial IoT

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A lot of the excitement and press surrounding the Internet of Things centres on home automation, wearable electronics, and other consumer applications. But industrial applications of the IoT, such as predictive maintenance and integration of the supply chain are likely to be the more compelling use cases, at least in terms of ROI. 

However, for Industrial IoT to realize its potential, it must overcome some substantial security challenges.

Virtually everyone agrees that security is a critical issue for Internet-connected industrial systems. Dell Inc., a member of the Industrial Internet Consortium, listed security at the top of its list of IIoT challenges.

It doesn't take much to extrapolate an attack to a company with Internet connected devices
The technical challenge is to secure Internet-connected devices from cyber network attacks, as well as local physical attacks.

A similar challenge exists for the cloud-hosted services, such as data analytics. The business challenge is to ensure that security is taken seriously and designed in by the equipment vendors, not looked at as a cost centre and patched on after the fact.

A group called the Industrial Internet Consortium (ICC) is already increasing awareness around the IoT security discussion. The Industrial Internet Consortium, formed in 2014 by AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, IBM, and Intel to accelerate adoption of the Industrial IoT, now has more than 200 members working to address these security challenges. 

They recently released the Industrial Internet Security Framework (IISF) that lays out best practices to assess risks to protect organizations. They are making steps in the right direction by promoting collaboration between companies to improve data security for the Industrial IoT, but the only realistic way to secure the plethora of valuable IoT data is through encryption. If the data being hijacked is protected with the highest level of encryption, it can prevent malicious use by cybercriminals.


The industrial IoT market is currently focused on reducing operational risks and improving business efficiency, but it is important for companies to stay focused on the ever-growing cyberthreats as the IoT expands into new markets. The harm that comes with a lack of data security would easily outweigh the benefits of an industrial internet and even result in physical threat and damage.

Want more on the accelerating Industrial IoT journey? Don't miss Akolade's Industrial IoT Summit coming to Melbourne this 20-22 September 2017!

Bringing together some of the most exciting and innovative case studies from leading Industrial Internet stakeholders, this ground-breaking Summit addresses the most significant challenges the Industrial Internet of Things is facing today and what is needed in terms of knowledge, technology, innovation, investment, collaboration and strategy to fully benefit from its potential.

Written by: Nicolas Verbeeck

Nicolas was born in Belgium and became an expert in consuming excellent beers, chocolate and waffles. During the winter period you can find him on a hockey pitch and in summer he loves to go for a swim or a surf. In 2013 Nicolas was wondering what the beers, chocolate and waffles would taste like in Australia and never came back. One reason… the weather. Nicolas obtained a masters in International Politics and tries to use this background to produce excellent conferences at Akolade.

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