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MEF Mobile IoT Advisor, Andrew Parkin-White shares his takeaways from the round-table discussion on the growing IoT ecosystem and the IoT Programme at MEF held in Barcelona, in this the first of 3 episodes, examining the role of IoT security.

Mobile IoT is no longer a matter of hype. We are seeing a vast range of devices being connected in applications ranging from connected cars, homes, electrical grids to smart cities and industrial infrastructure. In fact, the GSMA estimates 25bn connected devices by 2025 carried on a range of networks and technologies. The IoT market is fast evolving with a broad complex ecosystem spanning devices, sensors, platforms, connectivity, security and identity. MEF focuses on the three important areas of security, identity and global connectivity.

Watch the MEF IoT Roundtable part 1

Security is a critical yet underestimated area of IoT solutions and education is paramount

IoT Security is not always at the forefront of solutions development yet is fundamental and critical to deliver the business benefits that enterprises are seeking. Microsoft research reveals 97% of enterprises cite security as one of their key concerns and a recent survey by the GSMA reveals that security is one of the top three enterprise issues. Expenditure on solutions needs to rise and the ecosystem needs educating on security.

We are seeing a pronounced shift in IoT security needed where disconnected environments are connecting driven by digital transformation and operational changes. At a basic level, Inadequate security could impede growth and the true scale of security breaches is not evident as enterprises are reluctant to report them. Enterprises do not necessarily appreciate they lack expertise and are wary of the risks if adopting an IoT solution, often not knowing the level of security required for a given scenario.

New cyberthreats are continuing to emerge and we see major safety concerns if a vehicle or medical device is hacked. Devices remain the weakest link with the inability to perform over-the-air updates and have a larger physical attack surface and access to the device. With a long field life of 10 to 15 years, devices that are secure now will become redundant with new developments, such as quantum computing. Security should be by design, but this is at odds with the IoT development cycle, where enterprises want to deploy IoT solutions rapidly and at volume.

MEF has evaluated the issues and risks associated with IoT security and has analysed several frameworks, working closely with the GSMA on its security framework and has subsequently endorsed its approach.

Andrew Parkin-White

MEF Advisor  


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MWC 2020 may have been rightfully cancelled, but with many MEF Members were still in Barcelona to hold meetings, catch up with colleagues and discuss the issues facing the Global telco ecosystem, MEF created a line-up of sessions across our programmes. MEF Members – log in now to watch the presentations and download the slides.

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