Securing the Internet of Things

Securing the Internet of Things


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I had the chance to participate in another exciting Mobile World Congress last month in Barcelona. We had several announcements including news that AT&T and Vodafone will support connected car service for GM’s Opel and Vauxhall brands in select European countries. With OnStar’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi, the car becomes a powerful, mobile hotspot giving easier access to apps and services.

The connected car is a key example of the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT). By 2020, some 50 billion devices will connect to the Internet according to analyst projections. And, the economic value could be worth as much as $11.1 trillion— roughly 11% of the global economy by 2025. With the growth of IoT, security is also an essential piece of the puzzle.

During Mobile World Congress, AT&T released the second installment of ourCybersecurity Insights focused on IoT to help stakeholders understand the opportunity, as well as the inherent risks. Our report found:

  • 85% of businesses are considering, exploring, or implementing IoT, but just 14% have a formal audit process to understand how many devices they have and whether these devices are secure.
  • Only 17% of businesses involve their boards when considering IoT security. Board involvement is crucial.
  • 90% of companies lacked full confidence in their IoT security.

For our customers, we’re committed to help provide security and reliability in all aspects of our products and services through network management, device certification and supplier security and certification.

We have a legacy of strong security, with our:

  • Network visibility and control with threat intelligence and response expertise
  • Expertise with a team examining and analysing for threats 24/7/365
  • Experience with virtualized, cloud architecture so we have more flexibility, scale and control over how data is protected – and we’re teaching our business customers how to do the same.
  • We offer a number of managed security services that help protect our customers across mobile, network and cloud assets – for example: AT&T NetBond and VPN services.
  • And our privacy policy is focused on protecting our customers. We don’t sell our customers personal information to anyone, for any purpose.
    • Customers have choices about how their information is collected and used, by both AT&T and other companies. That includes having the option to participate in certain programs, setting privacy preferences and unsubscribing from certain kinds of emails or letters.

Industry stakeholders have a record of committing to meaningful and voluntary efforts to improve security and privacy. A number of industry-led, collaborative efforts are underway to address these issues for IoT.

For example, GSMA – a group that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide – recently announced new guidelines designed to promote security in the IoT market. AT&T was a key participant in developing the GSMA IoT Security Guidelines, alongside other organizations in the mobile industry, to help give providers and the wider IoT ecosystem practical advice on tackling common cybersecurity threats, as well as data privacy issues associated with IoT services. The primary audience for the IoT Security Guidelines are:

  • IoT Service Providers – enterprises or organisations who are looking to develop new and innovative connected products and services.
  • IoT Device Manufacturers – who provide IoT devices to IoT service providers, in order to enable IoT services.
  • IoT Developers – who build IoT services on behalf of IoT service providers.
  • Network Operators – who provide services to IoT service providers.

Industry-led efforts like this are important to the success of IoT security. It allows for the flexibility needed to promote secure innovation. It includes the full IoT ecosystem instead of focusing on one sector. It also avoids overly prescriptive regulations that are not able to keep up with pace of technology.

It’s an exciting time for our industry and all that it enables. We look forward to keeping IoT working for you.

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