With the continuous and rapid development of smart devices, it’s easy to imagine a comfortable and convenient future. And it isn’t just consumers who will benefit, either — smart devices can help business owners, expanding their visibility and control over their operations, among other advantages. This is just one-half of the picture, however. In this blog, we look at the benefits and risks of smart devices, especially in the context of cybersecurity.
What are smart devices?
Simply put, a smart device is an electronic gadget or machine that has the ability to interact, connect, and share information with other smart devices. Although smart devices may use technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, the term has become closely associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular.
IoT refers to the network of physical devices that use sensors to gather data about their environment and share information with each other through the internet. There are billions of devices and machines making up the IoT. These include smartphones, fitness trackers, driverless cars, and even sensor-equipped jet engines, among others.
What are the applications and benefits of smart devices?
Smart devices are still a developing technology, so we have yet to capture the full extent of their benefits. Some of the most readily apparent, however, are:
Greater control and convenience
Imagine arriving at work and finding the office to always be at the perfect temperature. That’s possible with smart thermostats that automatically adjust indoor temperatures. Smart devices can have a more expansive usage as well. For instance, they can be used to ensure that traffic lights match changes in traffic and road conditions throughout the day, minimizing the occurrence of congestion.
Increased productivity and efficiency
Specialized sensors that let you monitor valuable resources, such as inventory, fuel, and available spare parts are among the best examples of efficiency-enhancing smart devices. These can help reduce the occurrence of delays and downtime in your business. They also take the burden of doing mundane tasks off your staff, allowing them to focus on their job.
Wearable smart devices, such as fitness trackers and heart and blood pressure monitors, provide accurate and real-time information about a person’s health. These allow physicians to administer appropriate treatments and develop effective strategies to improve patients’ well-being.
What are the disadvantages of smart devices?
Like any technology, smart devices have crucial drawbacks that need to be addressed. These are:
Dependence on power and the internet
Smart devices are electronic, so they obviously need a power supply to function. What’s more, you can only reap a smart device’s full benefits when it’s connected to the internet. As 40% of the world does not have internet coverage, a large chunk of the human population still won’t be able to benefit from it.
High cost and skill requirements
The utility of smart devices comes at a steep price — just compare a conventional and a smart fridge. A regular fridge costs between $1,000 and $2,000, while a smart model can have a price tag between $2,000 and $4,000.
Additionally, smart devices usually require some level of tech knowledge to operate properly. This can be problematic for older people and those who are not so tech-savvy.
Perhaps the biggest pitfall of smart devices has to do with cybersecurity. Keep in mind that these electronics collect large volumes of information, some of which are personal and sensitive in nature. For example, your phone contains passwords, your car’s global positioning system monitors your location, and your office security cameras track comings and goings in your company’s premises. These data are essential for smart devices to function properly, but cybercriminals can intercept data transmissions. They can also hack these devices to steal stored data or disrupt their functionality, similar to what happens during distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
To prevent malicious actors from hacking into your smart devices, make sure these are equipped with anti-tampering and endpoint protection solutions. You must also implement encryption protocols to ensure that, should hackers be able to infiltrate a smart device or intercept its data, that data will be unreadable.
Smart devices can be a powerful addition to your company’s tech, but make sure to account for their risks prior to adoption. Our specialists at Complete Technology can help you identify and address possible blind spots in your cybersecurity to augment your defenses against multiple cyberthreats. Consult with us today.