81% of businesses in KSA already use IoT platforms

March 04, 2020

RIYADH — A new Kaspersky report — With superpower comes super responsibility: Benefits and challenges of IoT in business — has revealed that the use of Internet of Things (IoT) business platforms is growing year-on-year in almost all industries.

In 2019, nearly two-thirds (81%) of companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia implemented IoT applications. The technology is benefiting KSA businesses with savings, new income streams and increased production efficiency, but the fact that 60% of all organizations experience cybersecurity incidents targeting connected devices also reveals the need to carefully protect IoT.

The internet of things is actively developing technology, with Gartner predicting there will be approximately 25 billion IoT connections by 2025. IoT increases the level of comfort we experience at home and in our cities, helps to solve resourcing issues and allows organizations to measure production performance, introduce automation and increase efficiencies. All this makes IoT systems critical, therefore it is important to not let a failure in such systems ruin the positive impact on businesses and people.

Kaspersky’s report shows that the use of IoT platforms has increased in almost all industries globally, with the most significant growth in hospitality (from 53% in 2018 to 63% in 2019), healthcare (from 56% to 66%), and finance (from 60% to 68%).

As of 2019, the IT and telecom (71%) and finance (68%) industries have embraced IoT more than all other verticals. IoT platforms are used in many different use cases including smart cities, grids, metering, transportation and logistics, as well as automated manufacturing and connected heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC).

The growth of IoT use has not been discouraged despite potential cybersecurity risks and incidents. As Kaspersky’s survey shows, 60% of companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stated that they experienced incidents involving non-computing connected devices last year.

These incidents can be critical as sensors and smart devices collect terabytes of data, including sensitive information such as business data or customers’ personal information. Also, IoT platforms can be connected with critical systems, like traffic, power or transportation processes, so it is vital to ensure their continuity and integrity.

“IIoT has clearly passed the “hype” stage — not to say there still isn't hype, but there are serious technical and business process results to apply today. The IIC has already started publishing results from our testbeds. The biggest challenge the industry faces is resistance to change — or to be radical — more efficient change. Industrial IoT means big changes in every vertical, and they must come to terms with that,” commented Dr. Richard Soley, executive director, Industrial Internet Consortium.

“IoT is a powerful business enabler but to reap its benefits organizations need to put in a considerable amount of effort. It demands dedicated business processes, as well as expertise, to ensure it is effectively implemented. As the survey shows, cybersecurity is also a question that needs resolving in the IoT space — in terms of security of equipment, technical and organizational protection measures and data privacy, as well as other factors. It is important to consider security at an early stage of IoT implementation and we want to help our customers address this task by developing IoT security solutions and expertise within Kaspersky,” said Grigory Sizov, head of KasperskyOS Business Unit, Kaspersky.

To securely take advantage of IoT features and benefits, Kaspersky suggests organizations follow these steps:

• Assess the status of a device’s security before its implementation. Preferences should be given to devices that have cybersecurity certificates and products from those manufacturers that pay more attention to information security.

• Conduct regular security audits and provide the security team responsible for protecting IoT systems with up-to-date threat intelligence.

• Establish procedures for obtaining information on relevant vulnerabilities in software and applications and available updates to ensure proper and timely responses to any incidents.

• Implement cybersecurity solutions designed to analyze network traffic and detect and prevent network attacks in IoT, then integrate the analysis into the enterprise network security system.

• Use IoT devices that are secured by design. The Kaspersky IoT Secure Gateway with secure KasperskyOS at its core ensures the secure behavior of the gateway itself, as well as all connected devices and the entire IoT system. — SG

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