The adoption of the Internet of Things has seen increasingly rapid growth in recent years, with the number of connected devices expected to exceed 20.8 billion by 2020, a rise from the expected 6.4 billion in 2016. As a result of this, the army of devices that make up the Internet of Things will generate an exponential increase in data volumes. The IDC Digital Universe Study anticipates that the accumulated digital universe of data will increase from an estimated 4.4 trillion gigabytes today to 44 trillion gigabytes by the year 2020.
In Asia Pacific, government initiatives are driving IoT technology adoption, with the number of connected devices expected to increase from 3.1 billion to 8.6 billion by 2020 in APAC alone (excluding Japan). For instance, Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) along with the National R&D centre in ICT (MIMOS) launched the National IoT Strategic Roadmap to transform the country’s digital economy. Singapore has a Smart Nation initiative while Jakarta has Smart City programs in place. Smarter Philippines was also launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2013 to enhance economic growth through technology. Additionally, India has declared its 100 Smart Cities vision while the Thai government is working with Japanese companies and researchers to implement smart city technology to the country’s cities, primarily to combat traffic congestion.
With this massive influx of data, comes the need to store, process and analyse it. Proper utilization of big data can give rise to data-driven business models, which bring increased revenues, better efficiency, lower costs and customer satisfaction. This is where cloud-based services have and will continue to be increasingly prevalent with the increase in amounts of connected devices. The cloud makes it possible for companies to collate data resources in its entirety and provides ease of access, in real-time.
However, while the cloud has its positive attributes that go hand-in-hand with the adoption of the IoT, business leaders express concerns with regards to the threat of data breaches. Given the vast amounts of available data in the case of a security breach, the cloud may also be the most vulnerable link. Security risks continue to be the biggest hindrance to IoT adoption, which is why enterprises are hesitant to exploit the full benefits of IoT. These concerns hold true in the Asia Pacific region. According to FireEye’s report, Asia Pacific is 35% more likely to be targeted by advanced cyber-attacks as compared to the rest of the world.
Nonetheless, with IoT growth, comes greater security risks, and therein lies greater opportunities for security providers. The IoT security market will thus see rapid developments, with worldwide spending anticipated to reach $348 million in 2016, a 23.7 percent increase from 2015 (according to Gartner, Inc.).
Greater emphasis needs to be placed on dealing with issues in cyber-security in relation to IoT. More has to be done to educate enterprises on IoT in order to exploit the vast APAC market potential.
The underlying question that therefore remains is “how do we ensure security in the age of the cloud?” The onus is on the solution providers to provide security solutions for the respective technology, and also on the enterprises to ensure movement of data is controlled and accounted for across the entire data movement chain.
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