Businesses need more focus on smart device security, says Samsung
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Businesses need more focus on smart device security, says Samsung

A report released this week by tech giant Samsung has identified that businesses are struggling with security and offered some guidance on how they can make smart offices safer in the so-called ‘Open Economy’.

This term, according to Samsung, refers to a new type of working environment that incorporates freelancers, office-based innovation and closer relationships between competing businesses.

The company estimates that there will be 7.3 billion connected IoT products in use by 2020, meaning the need to secure devices is becoming increasingly critical.

At the same time, it claims that businesses have only three years to adopt secure IoT systems, or they risk being outflanked by competitors.

New challenges

Although businesses are looking into ways that technology can help them boost productivity, the report claims that the majority are still behind in terms of uptake.

Security is the biggest worry for companies when it comes to adopting new connected technologies, the report highlights. Often, they’re overwhelmed by threats from outside attackers.

Graham Long, vice president of enterprise business at Samsung, said companies will need to think carefully about cyber safety as they adopt new technologies and more open ways of working.

“Samsung’s ‘Open Economy’ report highlights just how far technology and the way we work has evolved in recent years, identifying a huge shortfall in how prepared businesses are to meet the challenges of this new landscape,” he said.

“Having the right security processes in place will be critical as organisations build the foundations needed to become more open, inclusive and productive in this new way of doing business.

“One of the reasons for this is as our reliance on using and holding confidential information on smartphones increases, so will the number and complexity of threats by hackers targeting these devices.”

Related: AT&T, IBM, Nokia form IoT Cybersecurity Alliance to tackle device threats

Tech to the rescue

While security concerns around the Internet of Things are becoming more complex, there are new platforms and solutions for addressing them. Samsung said these will have a fundamental role in the economy of the future.

Over the next three years, technology such as machine learning will also have a positive impact on IoT security, claims Samsung. Companies are already planning to spend $9.2 billion on such technology by 2019.

The way employees work will change dramatically as well. Samsung expects to see more companies adopting Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) strategies, so device security will need to come first.

Related: Consumers unaware of the security risks posed by IoT devices, says report

Don’t fall behind

Mark Weir, regional director of UK & Ireland at cybersecurity specialist Fortinet, says that the rise of IoT is introducing new security challenges and that companies need to stay on top of them.

“The Internet of Things represents a new era of the Internet, and enterprises and government agencies are searching for ways to better serve customers and enable growth,” he told Internet of Business.

The security challenges of IoT are extensive. Many IoT devices were not designed with security in mind. No one thinks their DVR or webcam would render them vulnerable, but both proved to play a significant role in the biggest IoT attack we’ve seen today.

“These devices and apps often have weak authentication and authorization protocols, insecure software and firmware, poorly designed connectivity and communications, and little to no security configurability,” said Weir.

“And because IoT devices are being deployed everywhere, securing them requires visibility and control across distributed ecosystems. Security solutions require complete network visibility to authenticate and classify IoT devices and apps.”

Related: Security researcher claims to unearth hacker behind IoT Mirai botnet