It may be known as the “Internet of Things,” but the trend of interconnectivity among devices and the increasing capacity to make decisions without human intervention certainly has significant human ramifications. This is one of the critical things I took away from ISACA’s new 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer, which polled 2,013 ISACA members from 110 countries (perhaps including you) on the Internet of Things, along with Big Data, BYOD, and employees’ online activities on work devices.
I found it encouraging that a little more than half of survey respondents (51 %) replied that their enterprises have plans to capitalize on the Internet of Things. As IT professionals, we should be advocates for this movement as we improve our machines, devices, sensors, cars and cameras by enabling them to share data with one another and with us. The most appealing results of this interconnectivity, say survey respondents, include greater efficiency, increased customer satisfaction, improved services and boosted employee production.
Governing this trend to ensure that the increased effectiveness and efficiencies are balanced with the risk profile of the organization is a key responsibility of the IT professional. In that vein, 38% of survey respondents view increased security threats as the biggest governance issue related to the Internet of Things, while 28% say it is data privacy. These threats are on our minds and in the public discussion, which is a positive.
For all the promise of this trend, there is healthy wariness, particularly for businesses. In its current state, say 59% of survey respondents, the Internet of Things still poses more risk than benefit for enterprises. The benefit/risk ratio is 50/50 for the average consumer/individual, per this survey. Among the concerns that the average person has about the Internet of Things, the most legitimate fear is not knowing who has access to all the data being collected, say 44% of respondents.
I found many such interesting results in the 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer, and I invite you to take a look yourself. This is a timely study that has ramifications for all of us. Whether we fully embrace this trend or are wary of it (or both), we live and work in an increasingly interconnected world, one in which computers communicate with cars and telecommunications systems “talk” to televisions.
So when does the Internet of Things start affecting our enterprises? Forty-five percent of respondents believe it already has. Whether you realize it or not, it is probably impacting you today.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Rob Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC
Vice President, CA Technologies
Chair of ISACA’s COBIT Growth Task Force