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Posted by Eno Qiu on October 19, 2017

From miniature chips, remotes, mobiles, computers, and cars, to home appliances like refrigerators, the Internet of Things (IoT) network is made up of smart devices and has quickly become the latest trend in consumer technology. The vast and aggressive expansion into cyberspace presents many opportunities for engagement and rewards among consumers, marketers, and manufacturers - but are there risks as well?

New studies reveal that 68% of consumers in the US and UK are concerned about security and privacy with the Internet of Things devices; 78% of consumers indicated they are aware that any smart device connected to Wi-Fi in their home has the potential to be targeted by a hacker.

Both businesses and consumers alike are facing the same questions: Are we at risk? And, how can we protect ourselves and our clients from a privacy data leak? Explore these key questions to find out:

What Is Worth Protecting?

study in 2016 showed a worldwide $81.6 billion investment in information security, however, the average cost of compromised sensitive information is almost $4 billion. Fending off a cyber-attack does not necessarily mean squandering funds on infrastructures like technology, IT policy and software, but rather begins with knowing what it is that you need to protect.

In most cases, customer data and intellectual property provide competitive value and are critical to business success: from the hackable Samsung refrigerator to the latest breaking news of the Equifax data breach, brands have been suffering profoundly from the loss of customers and trust due to a breach. In Canada, "1 in 5 Canadian small to medium sized businesses who have been a victim of a cyber-attack have suffered a significant loss to their business because of their loss of ability to service customers."

Therefore, the right question to ask a customer data-driven business should be: what is your most valuable asset?

Personalization, Data, and Trust

In a Consumer Privacy and Trust survey by Gigya, findings show that 68% of consumers don’t trust brands to handle their personal information appropriately.

The concept of personalization (strategy by which companies leverage data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers) is always evolving for the purpose of improving consumer retention. Despite a lack of consumer trust in regards to private data handling, companies are still able to acquire information by positioning data-gathering policies in exchange for consumer benefits, such as membership rewards, discounts, and other special perks. 

Understanding why people share data with you is very helpful for you to predict their reactions to a potential system breach. After all, they are looking to you for a value that only you can provide them, but it’s still up to you to earn their trust.

The potential threat of a trust crisis from cyber-attacks could be devastating to businesses, and so, a commitment to defending the security of customer data is paramount.

What is a Hacker’s Goal?

It seems like every week we hear about a new victim (Target, J.P.Morgan, iCloud, etc.) of hacks related to a data breach, cyber theft, and/or an information leak. Although the types of hacks are varied based on intentions, the goal is usually to:

  • Steal intellectual property

  • Obtain commercially sensitive data (consumers information, transaction history, accounting documents, confidential emails, etc,. )

  • Access government information

  • Disrupt industry service 

With the rise of threats such as ransomware, phishing scams and malware, hackers are always looking for vulnerable systems. Since our culture and our way of life is impacted by the IoT, cybersecurity is going to be paramount for consumers and businesses alike. As we adapt to these new technologies, following suit with security is a logical next step.

What security measures do you take to protect your personal information online? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

Contact us to today to learn more about how the Internet of Things is changing the way we do business!