Understanding The Internet of Things (IoT)


Nowadays, it seems like everyone is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact on everything we do. From hybrid workplaces to smart appliances, IoT may keep us all more connected than we ever thought possible, but it also raises many security concerns. In this post, you’ll understand what the Internet of Things is and how it works, as well as how you can keep your assets protected as IoT continues to grow.

What is IoT?

IBM defines the Internet of Things as “the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/off switch) to the Internet and to other connected devices. The IoT is a giant network of connected things and people — all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.”

The IoT has expanded beyond laptops and mobile devices. It now includes technology such as self-driving cars that take you anywhere you want to go, wearable fitness devices to track your heart rate and steps, and “smart” microwaves to heat your food for the perfect length of time. Everything is easily doable and trackable with a few simple screen taps.

In the non-profit world, IoT can have many benefits. Nonprofits can use IoT to help their organizations run more efficiently, automate administrative tasks, gather important data from donors, and more. When it comes to fundraising, IoT can also allow for unique philanthropic options, such as using fitness devices to track virtual runs/walks or enabling cashless donations. The opportunities are endless with IoT!

How Does IoT Work?

The IoT works via processors, sensors, and communication hardware within a particular web-enabled smart device that collects, sends, and acts on data that’s acquired from their environment. The more a device is exposed to their environment, the “smarter” they become. The data these devices collect is either analyzed locally or in the cloud. Similar devices can even work together to act on any information they may receive. As device users, we can also change device settings and access data as needed.

Why Is IoT Important?

Simply put, IoT allows people to live and work smarter, saving them time and money in the long run. TechTarget notes that IoT is particularly essential to business by providing “a real-time look into how their systems really work, delivering insights into everything from the performance of machines to supply chain and logistics operations.” IoT can also help automate processes and reduce labor costs.

Security Concerns

While IoT may seem like the perfect business solution, it comes with major security concerns. In fact, according to Palo Alto Networks Threat Report, 98% of IoT traffic isn’t encrypted. This means that important data is left exposed and more vulnerable to hackers. In addition to the lack of encryption, IoT’s challenges include weak password protection, lack of system updates, insufficient data protection, poor device management, and more, as detailed in this article by Thales.

Varsity Can Keep You Secure

Without a doubt, having the right security in place is the best strategy for mitigating any potential security challenges IoT may bring. Varsity’s managed security services can help support your cybersecurity efforts. We offer three levels of security that build on each other so you can scale up as your needs change. Whether your organization needs a suite of services to protect your team’s identities and company data, or your organization is looking to meet specific compliance requirements, Varsity can support it all. Reach out to us today to see how we can customize a security solution to support your IoT needs.