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Gartner: New tech demands more physical security for sensitive data

In the current business climate, one of the roles of physical security is to protect digital devices and data.

We don't just want to keep our premises, equipment and inventory under lock and key - we want to take the same precautions to stop criminals entering our workplaces and walking out with confidential information, customer records and intellectual property.

In the past, this would usually involve securing offices, server rooms and data centres, which might not necessarily account for much of a company's physical footprint. However, new developments in the world of technology could change this profoundly, according to one major market research firm.

In a recent press release issued to coincide with a risk management summit in Mumbai between September 1st and 2nd, Gartner claimed the arrival of the so-called 'internet of things' (IoT) will fundamentally alter the way we think about physical security for digital devices.

For the uninitiated, the IoT refers to the use of sensors and wireless machine-to-machine communications to allow everyday objects to communicate with one another, reacting to the world around them without human intervention. One commonly cited example is that of a refrigerator capable of detecting when food supplies are running low and then ordering new items automatically, but the technology has applications in a wide range of industries: traffic management, healthcare monitoring, process control in manufacturing, and so on.

While this has the potential to bring about enormous improvements in efficiency and reliability, it also exponentially increases the number of points at which sensitive data is vulnerable, Gartner said.

"The IoT now penetrates to the edge of the physical world and brings an important new 'physical' element to security concerns," explained research vice president Ganesh Ramamoorthy. "This is especially true as billions of things begin transporting data. The IoT redefines security by expanding the scope of responsibility into new platforms, services and directions."

Gartner added that securing the IoT will be difficult for reasons beyond the sheer number of devices it might entail. "A unique characteristic of the IoT is the sheer number of possible combinations of device technologies and services that can be applied to those use cases. What constitutes an IoT object is still up for interpretation, so securing the IoT is a 'moving target'," it said.

Nonetheless, the challenge is one that most companies can't afford to ignore. Late last month, a study from ReportsnReports predicted the now-nascent IoT market will enjoy a 26.56 per cent compound annual growth rate between now and 2019. Furthermore, a recent survey from Tata Consultancy Services showed that 80 per cent of early IoT adopters have already grown their revenues as a result - a sure sign that more companies will follow suit.

Wondering how your business can bolster its physical security in order to better protect digital devices and data? Read our blog on the subject here.


Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock

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