Archive by Author | lisbethhm

Data, Risks and How to Avoid Them

Reading through all the blog posts about new technology such as big data, sky technology, smartphones and so on, and the advantages these brings, it made me think. What will be potential risks of these technologies?

In recent time, businesses are increasingly taking advantage of the power of the data they possess. By using analytics and software organizational they are able to utilize their big data in a more efficient way. However, numerous organizations are afraid to engage in such data schemes out of fear of increasing the chances of a data leak. They may set their reputation on stake, and there are also great fines at risk, in addition to a risk of lost revenue and lost production.

So why are not businesses protecting themselves? One can think of three reasons for why businesses are not reacting appropriately. Firstly, business managers may have lack of knowledge about the risks. If they don’t know about the coming disaster, it is difficult to prepare for it. Some managers may be aware of the risk, they do however not know how to respond, and hence end up doing nothing. Secondly, many businesses have no plan or strategy to protect data. They don’t know how they would respond if their data was stolen or other breaches occurred. Lastly, there is often lack of resources to handle this challenge. Especially for small companies, the resource constraint can be significant, both in terms of finances and managerial time.

So what can an organization do to avoid this risk? For a business that wishes to prepare, there are some means that can be used. You don’t necessarily need a full team of security experts in order to succeed, but it takes both time and effort to secure the business.

Firstly, managers should spend time on getting educated on the subject. By seeking out information about the latest data security incidents and how to protect against them, it is possible to try to learn how to avoid such attacks. Furthermore, managers should be clear on what data the company has, and where it is stored. This is not only sensitive customer information, but also unstructured data, such as emails and documents. Not knowing about such information may pose a threat to the company. However, especially sensitive information should be safeguarded. Software can block sensitive information being sent through emails, and encrypting it should safeguard confidential business information.

This is why companies should put in place systems to minimize risk and to protect ideas. Policies for data protection and clear communication of these to employees, strategic partners and customers may help. Furthermore, companies should use layered security, meaning different tools and techniques. The first layer is typically anti-virus, before following up with firewall. Software and patches should always be kept up-to-date. Extra protection may include physical securing the data and keeping a regular back up of all files.

Lastly, the company should have an incident response plan in place in case they are breached. This will allow them to respond faster and more effectively, and they may be able to keep the cost down. Summing up the ideas mentioned above, the company should in general try to be prepared. Don’t wait until disaster is a fact and the breach has happened. This way, they would be able to keep data, utilize it without being afraid of the consequences, and storing it more safely.


The magnitude of the Internet of Things

In recent years, there has been rapid development in IoT solutions being deployed to advance business intelligence. Through this technology, devices such as smartphones, tablets, refrigerators, TVs and thermostats can share data freely among themselves via the Internet and offer customers greater control over their surroundings.

The IoT can help to create opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and the technical systems, resulting in better productivity and precision leading to economic benefit. For 2015, Cisco (worldwide leader in IT) predicted that there would be 25 billion connected devices, and that this number will double going towards 2020. So far, investments in IoT have mainly been done in the IT and telecoms industry, which can be seen as a natural consequence of the amount of generated data and application capabilities for mobile devices. However, the application is increasingly spreading to several other industries as well.

This trend may revolutionize industries by allowing companies to engage with customers in a new way, improve their value propositions and build new revenue streams. Take for example the medical healthcare systems. IoT devices can be used to enable remote health monitoring and emergency notifications systems. Patients with heart problems or blood pressure that need to be monitored can monitor this with specialized implants such as a peacemaker. These devices are becoming increasingly popular for chronic patients, helping one to manage vitals and medication routines. By using this kind of technology, the doctor can monitor their patients via their smartphones, and the patient can be discharged faster with fewer check-ups.

Another example is energy management. In todays society there is an increasing focus on the need to be sustainable in how we threat the environment. One way of behaving this way is to manage our energy consumption. Through IoT one can utilize the sensing and activation systems connected to the Internet to optimize the usage. Over time, it is likely that IoT will be integrated into all consuming devices, such as switches, light-bulbs, television and so on. By integrating such devices into the IoT, consumers can control all devices from distance, and it would enable scheduling (for example turning off heat/light is given times of the day), changing lighting conditions and so on.

A third example of how IoT may revolutionize an industry is in manufacturing. IoT systems may enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks, by network machinery, sensors and control systems together. Through IoT it is possible to automate process controls, and to optimize plant safety and security through operator tools and service information systems. However, IoT is also becoming an increasingly important managerial tool for assets management, by giving information about predictive maintenance and measurements to maximize reliability.

The above-mentioned examples were just some of the industries that now are starting to see the benefits of IoT. Based on the technology of IoT, Cisco gives predictions that industries will look completely different than from today. Like in the early days of the Internet, IoT is a undeveloped market. New companies with new business models, approaches and solutions will appear. Furthermore, Cisco predicts that IoT will force businesses to transformation. Like with the wave of the Internet, companies need to adapt and develop strategies and plans for how they can leverage IoT to transform all aspects of their business. This will enable them to capture the value of the technology. Lastly, Cisco predict that IoT will cease to exist. The Internet has grown from being new and mysterious, to be as normal part of consumers life as electricity. The same will be for IoT. In not distant future, it will be difficult to imagine that all things were not connected and that the benefits brought by IoT were not always present.