M2M Tackles Security


M2M technology is moving into more areas of business and personal life. With this larger presence comes an increased focus on security. As more end users become interested in the security of their systems, M2M providers are devoting more effort to ensuring the safety and resilience of their offerings.

In the business world, M2M security is especially vital when sensitive information may be communicated through M2M channels. A recent report from Frost & Sullivan, www.frost.com, suggests security must be a “core component” when an enterprise is using M2M.

Frost Senior Industry Analyst Yiru Zhong describes traditional M2M deployments as having security solutions embedded within the network. She says players in the M2M value chain, such as chip makers, SIM card vendors, and module makers, have embedded security solutions into their products. But in the future, Zhong says additional security measures may be necessary.

As more devices become connected and business solutions connect to other systems outside the enterprise, a complete risk analysis may be needed to ensure data is secure. Frost says in addition to industry players, standardization groups and international bodies are also working on the development of M2M security solutions.

Overall, network security is important for any system that connects to sensitive information. This is true of critical infrastructures such as energy and transportation, and a recent report says spending for cyber security will increase.

ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, says cyber security spending by nation states, non-governmental organizations, technical bodies, and private sector operators for critical infrastructure totaled $41.76 billion globally in 2012. The research firm also predicts increased spending during the next five years.

Infrastructure such as energy, telecoms, healthcare, and transport systems all use the Internet for connectivity, and ABI says this requires steps to protect these networks from cyber threats. However, the analyst firm also says, “Currently, few nation states are prepared to counter a full-scale cyber-attack on their critical infrastructure.” It’s important to plan for security before infrastructure goes online.

Among M2M solution providers, security is a top concern. A study by Beecham Research, www.beechamresearch.com, found ensuring end-to-end security for current projects was the highest priority for solution providers. It ranked higher than integration with IT, coordinating partners in the value chain, and achieving cost/benefit constraints.

Beecham says there has been some reluctance in the market to discuss security issues. And while hacking threats to M2M-based operations are currently fairly low, Beecham says things are likely to change. Security should be a concern for all players in the M2M value chain.

Perhaps an important takeaway from the conversations around M2M security is that it’s never too early to start thinking about the subject. As M2M implementations grow more advanced, it’s likely the threats they face will do likewise. Planning for the future of M2M includes planning for the security of networks and hardware.

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