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Why the Rise of Enterprise IoT Puts Machine Identities to the Test

Why the Rise of Enterprise IoT Puts Machine Identities to the Test

machine identities and IoT
May 1, 2018 | David Bisson

Let’s talk about how IoT's expanding data exchange will challenge traditional enterprise security’s approach to securing M2M communications.

Corporate IT environments are seeing connections from a greater variety and number of machines. For instance, it's estimated that the total number of mobile machines will increase from 11.062 million in 2016 to over 16 million in 2020. Newer devices such as phablets and updated laptop versions will help drive this progress.

While bolstering organizations' business agility and flexibility, such a proliferation in number and type of mobile machines presents a challenge to organizations. Each device and application requires its own machine identity to operate securely within the enterprise. IT teams, in turn, use this identity to track a device for vulnerabilities and monitor it for suspicious behavior. With the growth of mobile devices, IT teams must inventory and monitor a larger array of machines in order to defend the corporate environment against digital security threats.

Mobile isn't the only type of machine that's expanding in number and type, however. So too are all those physical devices belonging to the Internet of Things (IoT). Indeed, Gartner predicts the number of IoT devices will surge from just 8.4 billion in 2016 to 25 billion by 2020. Fueled by industrial businesses and governments, which are the largest adopters of IoT, such growth will ultimately help the Internet of Things account for 70 percent of all devices connected to the web.

Embedded electronics, sensors, actuators, and other IoT devices may seem similar to mobile in that they are both physical machines. Even so, they face different security challenges from mobile products in that they do not store data. Instead IoT devices capture data and transmit it to a central location where that information can be sorted and analyzed. Organizations can then leverage that analysis to improve business flow, chase new customers, and adjust their priorities, among other possibilities.

Of course, the challenge is for organizations to secure IoT devices' communication with other machines, especially those used by government entities for critical purposes such as car navigation, health monitoring, and emergency notification systems. Organizations need to identify every IoT device connected to corporate IT environments, assign it a machine identity, and monitor that identity to help protect and authenticate its communication.

That's easier said than done. Given the number and variety of IoT devices now connecting to corporate IT environments, organizations can't manage this machine identity process manually. The only way to secure machine-to-machine communication at machine speed is to automate the process of identifying, automating, and remediating the identities of machines.

The Venafi Platform can help in this regard.

For more information concerning the rise of IoT and the challenges it poses to machine identity management, click here.

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About the author

David Bisson
David Bisson

David is a Contributing Editor at IBM Security Intelligence.David Bisson is a security journalist who works as Contributing Editor for IBM's Security Intelligence, Associate Editor for Tripwire and Contributing Writer for Gemalto, Venafi, Zix, Bora Design and others.

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