What are the biggest risks with the Internet of Things?

The majority of small businesses in the U.S. (82 percent) believe the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring fresh opportunities for their business, according to a new study released today by AVG.

While more than 2 out of 5 (46 percent) agreed the IoT will mean more time spent dealing with security hacks, this was more than offset by the 83 percent of respondents who said that human error would continue to give them more concern than smart devices.

“The ‘Internet of Things’ is one of those nebulous bits of jargon invented by the IT industry and many people I meet are confused as to what it actually means,” said Mike Foreman, AVG’s general manager, SMB. “With this study we wanted to show how the IoT can bring opportunity to small businesses.”

“Another aim of the report was to highlight key areas of difference between countries,” he continued. “For example, it was significant that U.S. respondents were the only ones to put government monitoring ahead of lack of demand when it came to factors holding back IoT adoption.”

The study, in which more than 2,000 small businesses in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia were interviewed, also showed that there is much more to do to help them understand what IoT actually means (only 58 percent understood IoT to mean a network of connected devices that are able to communicate with one another).

Asked to list their concerns about Internet-connected devices, small businesses named their top three as:

Risk – more than half (54 percent) of respondents think the IoT will result in their organization being more open to security breaches or hacking. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed agreed that security software aimed at IoT would put their mind at ease.

Complexity – data security (48 percent) and backups (34 percent) would become more complex.

Cost – 44 percent said that cost is a reason preventing them from implementing IoT.

Main findings:

  • The vast majority (80 percent) of respondents reported IoT as being relevant to their business to some extent.
  • The main benefits of IoT will come from increased access (65 percent of respondents) and faster access (66 percent) to more data along with productivity gains (69 percent). 56 percent said it will help customer satisfaction and 51 percent expected it to help them be more profitable.
  • Respondents were of the opinion that the top 5 devices that could present a security threat were: IP Phones (66 percent), CCTV (42 percent), Factory Equipment (34 percent), Sensors (31 percent) and Actuators (28 percent).
  • The top reasons respondents associated with the IoT that are preventing small businesses from buying and implementing smart devices were cost (48 percent), security (51 percent) and fears about government monitoring (27 percent).

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