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IoT Security: $1-per-Thing To Protect Connected Devices

Locking down the Internet of Things won’t be cheap. Here's the math.

Exactly how much will it cost to secure “Things” connected to the Internet over the next five years? Two recent Internet of Things (IoT) forecasts from industry analysts can help answer the question.

Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected Things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. Research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts that the global IoT security market is expected to grow from $6.89 Billion in 2015 to $28.90 Billion (USD) by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.2 percent from 2015 to 2020.

To forecast how much money is being spent to secure Things, we can round off the numbers to $1-per-thing.

The Gartner forecast says that in 2016, 5.5 million new Things will get connected every day. Connected Things include cars, kitchen appliances, smart TVs, wristwatches, factory equipment, digital cameras, pet collars, electronic toys, medical devices, wearable devices, and the list goes on ad infinitum.

When a Thing gets connected, it needs to be protected -- no different than PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

A recent FBI Public Service Announcement says deficient security capabilities and difficulties for patching vulnerabilities in these devices, as well as a lack of consumer security awareness, provide cyber actors with opportunities to exploit these devices. Criminals can use these opportunities to remotely facilitate attacks on other systems, send malicious and spam e-mails, steal personal information, or interfere with physical safety.

The worldwide cybersecurity market is defined by market sizing estimates that range from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020.  IoT security already makes up more than 9 percent of the total market, and by 2020 it should jump to 16 percent or more.

Who needs a metric for security spending per-Thing?

Chief Information Security Officers need to get a better handle on what types of Things will be connecting to their corporate networks, and what it will cost to secure those Things.

IoT security startups who are seeking venture capital (VC) firms and corporate investors to finance their ventures. These startups need to demonstrate the number of Things now and in the future - and what it will cost to secure them.

Investors who are funding the IoT security startups. The VCs need to understand the basic market fundamentals -- and security spending per-Thing is an important one.

$1-per-Thing is a starting point, and most importantly it puts a per-Thing metric in place. If you are a CISO, an IoT security startup, or a VC, you can move the numbers (how many Things, and how much $-per-Thing to secure them) up or down to come up with your own forecasts.

IoT security is creating major market opportunities in numerous industries. The automotive security market is a prime example.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers states that as cars increasingly incorporate in-vehicle computer systems to help with everything from safety to navigation, cybersecurity is among the industry’s top priorities and the auto industry is working continuously to enhance vehicle security features. Focus is now starting to shift from the physical protection of vehicles, drivers and passengers to the security protection against cyberattacks and intrusions, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research. In a report last year, ABI forecasted that more than 20 million connected cars will ship with built-in software-based security technology by 2020.

Is it more expensive to secure a car than another Thing?  That is a question for the automakers and the Things manufactures to answer.  More on that soon.

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