The Internet of Things business basics

November 27, 2017

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of 'smart' devices that connect and communicate via the Internet. The key to the IoT is the interconnectivity of devices, which collect and exchange information through embedded software, cameras and sensors which sense things like light, sound, distance and movement. Smart devices operate automatically, or are controlled and monitored remotely.

Which sectors use the IoT?

The Internet of Things is used in a variety of business sectors, from agriculture to healthcare to manufacturing. Developments like automated checkout, connected, self-driving vehicles, and asset management are helping to increase efficiency and productivity, and lower costs across several industries. The consumer is seeing the benefits too, with advancements in healthcare products and monitoring, and personal health and fitness products.

What are the risks?

Information Security

Due to the interconnectivity of the IoT, a cyber incident could result in an information breach which affects multiple levels of your business, from the head office, to your customers, and to the supply chain in between. Whether targeted or indirect, cyber incidents could weaken your entire IT security infrastructure. An information breach could cause a loss of revenue and time, could damage your business's reputation and credibility, and could lead to legal challenges. To protect the information on your network, you should control who and what connects to it.


With every connected device comes some vulnerability. IoT-related cyber incidents can put business, employee, and client information at risk of being destroyed, altered, stolen and exposed, or even held for ransom. Another concern with IoT data collection is over the confidentiality, privacy and integrity of business data. It is important to understand the data collection and privacy policies of IoT devices, before you buy or download them. You should find information on the device's website about what data is gathered by, how long it is kept, and what your data is used for, such as marketing research. Educate and train your employees on the potential risks of connecting their personal IoT devices to the business network. Make sure staff are adhering to your Bring Your Own Device policy, and consider updating it with the introduction of IoT into the workplace.


For many devices, their operational roles can be far more important than the data they store. Consider the legal and financial impact of a device like a smart vehicle or insulin pump failing or being manipulated. The malfunction or unauthorized control of an IoT device could cause damage to data and equipment, or physical harm to staff, customers or the public. Cyber attacks can be costly, as you seek to recover your systems, information, and your company's reputation.

To help create a more #CyberSafeBusiness, learn about our #IoTatWork cyber security strategy to help you securely implement the IoT into your business.

To ensure you're secure, check out our list of #IoTatWork security tips.

Download the Get Cyber Safe Guide for Small and Medium Businesses and the #IoTatWork Toolkitfor more information and resources at

Follow Get Cyber Safe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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