Big Data and the Importance of Data Integrity

The Age of Big Data has arrived. According to estimates, 90% of the data in the entire world has been generated in just the past two years. The growth will continue to accelerate, as the total installed base of internet of things (IoT)-connected devices is projected to reach 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025—a fivefold increase in 10 years.

What’s driving this surge in connectivity and data? IoT comprises much of the big data explosion. Smart devices are becoming more widely accepted, mobility is on the rise and edge computing is increasing. According to IDC, IoT applications will generate 4.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data this year, up from 0.1ZB in 2013.

Consumer and enterprise applications for IoT are blossoming, encompassing everything from connected home technology, healthcare and fitness wearables to supply chain, machine-to-machine and industrial deployments.

IoT is also booming for large-scale applications such as smart vehicles, farming and utilities. A recent survey found that smart city is now the largest IoT segment in terms of number of IoT projects identified emerging currency (23%), pulling ahead of connected industry use cases. As the volume and diversity of big data grows, security and data integrity are more essential than ever.

Why Security Matters for IoT

What makes security so integral to IoT applications? The nature of the data and devices for many IoT uses cases makes them extra-sensitive. IoT devices regularly capture highly personal data from consumers, including mobile e-commerce data from smartphones, health data from wearables and identity information from individuals. In enterprise and industrial environments, they may share highly proprietary manufacturing or supply chain data.

Some recent high-profile hacks underscore the escalating risk. Nearly half of all companies in the United States that use an IoT network have been affected by a security breach that has impacted annual revenue. The Ponemon Institute, in a report sponsored by IBM, says breaches cost companies an average of $3.92 million each—with some costing much more.

Looking beyond risk, maintaining data integrity is also essential to realizing a return on investment. To deliver the business outcomes that organizations expect, they need to be confident in the integrity of their data that supports critical business decisions. If data is compromised, they can no longer count on a consistent source of information to support business analytics and other insights they need to drive outcomes.

Applying Best Practices to IoT Security

To help secure IoT environments, organizations need to apply the right technology and best practices at both the device and platform levels. Public key infrastructure (PKI) offers a robust foundation for comprehensive security.  This well-established technology enjoys widespread adoption. It provides support that addresses the most common vulnerabilities with IoT devices, strong authentication, data encryption and information integrity.

PKI offers distinct advantages for IoT environments. It is highly customizable, enabling organizations to implement digital certificates that accommodate any type of device, from sensors to large commercial airliners. PKI is also highly scalable, enabling organizations to manage security for high volumes of devices and dynamically changing volumes of certificates effectively.

To support PKI in an IoT environment, it’s essential to minimize complexity. An effective management solution will enable you to identify, manage, control and secure every connected device, from a centralized location including the ability to drive operational reporting from the raw IoT data.

Choose a PKI solution with flexible deployment options, allowing the infrastructure to be stood up from the cloud, on-premises and cloud-hosted multi-tenancy. The solution should also enable organizations to meet in-country compliance and regulatory requirements.

There is no question that the tsunami of big data will continue to create new challenges in securing consumer and enterprise environments. Fortunately, with the right approach to maintaining data integrity and security, organizations can position themselves to tap the full potential of big data to drive risks down and business outcomes up.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson is the VP of IoT Security at DigiCert, a global leader in digital security. In this role, Nelson oversees the company’s strategic market development for the various critical infrastructure industries securing highly sensitive networks and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including healthcare, transportation, industrial operations, and smart grid and smart city implementations. Nelson frequently consults with organizations, contributes to media reports, participates in industry standards bodies, and speaks at industry conferences about how technology can be used to improve cyber security for critical systems and the people who rely upon them. Nelson has spent his career in healthcare IT including time at the US Department of Health and Human Services, GE Healthcare, and Leavitt Partners – a boutique healthcare consulting firm. Nelson’s passion for the industry stems from his personal experience as a type 1 diabetic and his use of connected technology in his treatment.

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