The industrial internet of things will dramatically change business and security as we know it. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the application of IoT, but in the manufacturing industry. Such like its IoT counterpart, the IIoT is the network connection of multiple devices by communication technologies. This results in technology monitoring, collecting, exchanging, analyzing and delivering new valuable insights into the industry. IIoT will dramatically alter how we do business.

IIoT will drive businesses to new levels of efficiency. It’ll drive industrial companies in the power, energy, oil, gas, manufacturing, healthcare, aviation and many other industries leading to a transformational process. This new heightened communication between technology will revolutionize, because it’ll be able to utilize data faster and more efficiently.

It’s said, that by 2022, 64% of manufacturers believe their factories will be connected with the latest technologies and harness the power of IIoT. The benefit doesn’t stop there. 46% of the global economy is predicted to benefit from IIoT. Further, it’ll have high percentage impacts on our global energy assumption. In a way, it’ll redefine our everyday lives.

GE’s Big Bet on IIoT and Data

Companies are currently researching and looking to harness IIoT. It can be seen in Tesla’s emerging car models, and General Electric’s (GE) company initiative to seek new opportunities in IIoT through industry analysis. They’re developing a new phase of operational technology (OT) that consists with current industry machinery. GE is customizing the general structure of IoT to fit into the industrial industry. OT connect machines to the cloud and uses data to help predict the breaking of machinery. This use of data and analytics could lead to major dollar signs for GE and the industry. In industries like gas and electric, general maintenance can lead to huge financial losses. Anticipating this through IIoT will lead companies to become more efficient, and essentially eliminate the unproductive day.

Impact on Business

We can see the potential of IIoT. It could be huge, but how does the advance of this technology improve business? It’s simple, and it can be explained in several simple points. First, like mentioned in the mini GE case study, operational efficiency will be increased. Machines will be able to be operated more remotely, and maintenance will be able to be predicted well. Industries will become more connected, meaning information will process faster and move quicker. Industries will share data that gives inside looks into improved process and everyday data of people, places and things. Further, the worker and consumer will be impacted. Connection between people and machines will become an everyday phenomenon. Human efficiency will increase, and workers will experience more engaging work experiences. It will also change the consumer’s expectations of businesses. With data driving the industry, customers will be able to see measurable results and use this information to increase their buying power.

Impact on Cyber Security

This technological advancement sounds superb, but we have to ask the question: where does cyber security come to play? Like said many times before, IIoT brings new vulnerabilities to data and technology through its connection to the cloud and it’s simple transferring of information. Doing this transfer securely still needs to be addressed. The transmission to the cloud is where the majority of data breaches occur and information is stolen. These are the current problems.

Many firms overlook the need for good security when designing industrial internet of things products. Often, these devices are sold with old software and large holes in the operating system. This is kind of like an ‘all you can eat buffet’ for hackers, because it gives easy entrance into the system to control devices on the new framework.

Further, without security, IIoT can be dangerous. The connection of devices often includes heavy machinery and dangerous systems. Just imagine a hacker gaining access to the drilling system on an oil rig, or a hacker finding access to a power grid.

The fact is IIoT devices still come to the market with minimal security controls. Industry endpoints are still unmanaged, and new systems are handled through the cloud. These invent security holes. Humans will still need to be at the forefront of the revolution monitoring the potential security holes, and patching were needed. Industry standards are currently behind the ‘eight ball’, and they will need to be updated for authentication and authorization to secure access to company data and its protection.