IT Security, Groupware technology

In the Age of IoT, Security is Critical

We Are All Connected

We are living in a remarkable digital age and era of connectivity, where almost everyone and everything can be connected via smartphones and other mobile devices, appliances talk to us and to each other, and brands and businesses are consistently increasing their investment in IoT. According to a recent study by analyst firm IDC, global spending on IoT across all industries was expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 15.6% in the period from 2015-2020 and reach $1.29 trillion in 2020.

Networking provider Aruba, in its 2017 global study “The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow” of 3,100 IT and business decision makers in 20 countries, found that 85% of companies, motivated by the lure of innovation and business efficiency, plan to implement IoT in their business by 2019. Of the organizations in the study who have already implemented IoT, the returns have already started rolling in: 88 percent of them already report ROI on their IoT spend. Among the top industries that are leading the way in IoT implementation are manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, utilities, and consumer electronics.


But as more industries make the investment in IoT, it’s critical that they also invest in security to protect those connected networks. Digital technology such IoT, as well as cloud and mobility, have left it wide open for new entry points which enable hackers and such with bad intentions to penetrate and breach networks.

The healthcare industry for example, is one of the most advanced industries for IoT adoption. According to Aruba, 60 percent of healthcare companies have implemented IoT, with that figure estimated to increase to 87% by 2019. Patient monitors, energy meters, and X-ray/imaging devices are among the most common devices in healthcare organizations using IoT. Yet despite the wide adoption of IoT in this industry, it faces an uphill battle with security issues: an alarmingly high 89 percent of healthcare companies that had IoT connectivity fell victim to a loT-related security breach. A ZK Research Network Survey found that security was the #1 answer when it asked respondents what they felt was the biggest deterrent to broader IOT adoption by their organization.

Aruba ClearPass: All Over the World

The security concerns and aspect of IoT is where a company like Aruba becomes pivotal in securing trust and managing IoT security issues. The explosion of IoT devices connecting to enterprise networks is making it critical to identify, connect and protect these devices with enhanced security. With so many IoT devices in use today that are not properly secured, products like Aruba’s ClearPass, which is used by over 7,000 enterprise customers around the world, is a godsend for IoT and network security.

ClearPass covers all of an organization’s network security and access control requirements from a single platform. It works with any multi-vendor infrastructure can be easily extended to network security, business and IT systems that an organization already has in place.

ClearPass pulls data out of a number of systems, including control, authentication, communication, security and management systems. Data is compiled and analyzed for unusual behavior, and the device is either removed from the network or quarantined. In the healthcare industry for example, if a medical device were to attempt to communicate with an accounting server, that would constitute an “unusual” behavior and indicate a breach. When that kind of traffic is discovered, ClearPass can disconnect the device from the network and minimize the damage.

The widely-adopted ClearPass reaches across the globe and as far away as numerous leading healthcare facilities in Australia, who have adopted the security solution to support patients, doctors and monitoring devices. In one of Australia’s most populous states, Victoria, the largest nonprofit healthcare group and one that is known for cutting edge procedures, uses ClearPass Access Management to ensure a secure, higher performing wireless network with the bandwidth to support a large number of connected users.

IoT Will Continue to Explode

Industry analysts have estimated that IoT will continue to take over the world, with projections of as many as 50 billion to 200 billion new devices connecting and being added to the network by 2025. With near-infinite numbers like these just over the next decade or so, organizations need to be up to speed with implementing IoT technology that yields returns for their businesses, but the critical security measures to protect those investments.


Doug Ramos is Groupware Technology’s Security Practice Manager.