Internet of Things (IoT) security concerns may hamper growth


Graham Croock | Director | BDO South Africa IT Advisory and Cyber Lab | mail me |

Businesses are, for a large part, uninformed and risk averse towards securing IoT. Enterprise, industrial and commercial IoT is a sticking point for business, particularly in South Africa, where boards of directors and senior executives are not yet knowledgeable about the benefits. This causes them to be exceptionally averse to risk, but this is changing as younger and more informed ‘tech-savvy’ executives are being appointed to boards.

Smart devices, connected using the internet to massive cloud data centres, have stimulated digital businesses in many industries. The IoT is just a component of the connected architecture but one, which is absolutely necessary for collection of data.

Consider the impact Apple watches made on Discovery’s Vitality Active Rewards Programme, which set the scene for significant development in hyper-personalisation. Business technology architecture will in the near future be dependent on the deployment and implementation of products, services and platforms, which are capable of adapting to changing client needs. The use of integrated sensors, real-time data analytics and artificial intelligence with embedded learning is about to become the mechanism for service industries to predict and react to fast moving client requirements.


Interview with Graham Croock, Director, BDO South Africa IT Advisory and Cyber Lab, and Dr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO, ArkKonsult, on how cyber security threats around IoT hamper growth. As our connected world grows there is a need to approach the challenges in a structured and organised way. 

Risk landscape

As this connected scenario matures, IoT devices will naturally contribute significantly to the increased potential for a cyber-attack. This increased complexity of integration enhances the requirements for additional risk control procedures, tools and processes and emphasises the need for board members to enhance their understanding of the connected digital architecture used by their businesses.

Cyber security threats have increased exponentially over the last 12 months due to:

  • Scale of data
  • Dependence on data
  • Complexity of systems
  • Budget constraints affecting implementation of appropriate controls.
  • Hyper-personalisation

The biggest issues in securing IoT for a business are budget constraints and the lack of knowledge about the systems and controls that are required for industrial systems which get affected by IoT devices. These include PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers) and API’s (Automated Programmable Interfaces), which have interfaces with Linux, Unix and other operating and application systems.

The association of big data with data created and or collected using IoT devices highlights the need by business for sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) which will allow businesses and executives to understand data patterns in a meaningful way.

Lack of strategy


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Read this article by Graham Croock, Director, BDO South Africa IT Advisory and Cyber Lab, as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the October/November 2018 edition of BusinessBrief.

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