Smart devices are transforming the world that we live in, but is change always positive? When it comes to the internet of things (IoT), there are two strongly opposing viewpoints. Some see connected devices as a natural evolution of technology and the internet, with far reaching benefits for consumers, industry, and general business. There is also another viewpoint that sees IoT as too risky, too pervasive, and frighteningly unregulated.
The truth may be somewhere in the middle, although both viewpoints raise valid concerns and benefits. If designed and implemented correctly, IoT can increase efficiency, reduce cost, improve safety, and deliver convenience. However, without necessary attention to security and good judgement, IoT technologies can compromise privacy and sensitive data. When considering both viewpoints, it can help to look at a single technology group, such as CCTV cameras with internet connectivity.
The Benefits of Wireless CCTV Cameras
CCTV cameras and IoT can provide clear benefits over older systems. They can backup footage to local or cloud connected storage, which can then be made available for any user with internet access to the system. An embedded chip could also allow for live streaming so that monitoring can be performed off-site, without the need for wired infrastructure. This can reduce costs and improve convenience, while also shattering the old notion that monitoring requires a dedicated video room, staffed by full time employees. Smart cameras can even be configured to record and notify an elected group or individual when movement is detected. This essentially combines the functions of a video monitoring system and an intruder alarm, in a single technology.
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why businesses and home users would be interested in a networked CCTV system, but when the risks are considered, connected cameras may become less appealing.
What are the Dangers of Current and Future Devices?
A CCTV system that is connected to the internet can theoretically be breached by any party, from anywhere in the world where there is internet access. Unauthorized access can mean that cameras could be disabled or hijacked to steal footage, potentially leaking sensitive trade or manufacturing information. In the case of domestic cameras, unauthorized access can open up the home to prying eyes. Not only can privacy be invaded, but criminals could potentially use cameras to track people’s movements and schedules to plan burglaries, home invasions, or other crimes.
What looks on paper to be a robust and futuristic security system, could just as easily be made to serve malicious parties, so what is the solution?
Security is Key
Like with most IoT devices, security will be the all-important layer that determines whether the benefits can be enjoyed without compromising privacy or increasing the risk of data theft. In commercial business and industry, there are typically more resources available to ensure that networks and devices are secured. Data transfer can be encrypted, and wireless and wired networks can be made safe through enterprise level firewalls and other safeguards. In the home, security is less likely to be effectively managed. Many home CCTV users may be ignorant to the needs of security, and may even be unaware of whether their home network and devices are secured.
This presents a significant challenge which should be addressed in two ways. Manufacturers and innovators have a responsibility to develop IoT systems that are secure by design, with safeguards in place to ensure that even user error cannot compromise the security of a system. At the same time, there needs to be a push to educate consumers (private and business) on the importance of security and the risks of poorly protected IoT devices like CCTV cameras. Government bodies can potentially strengthen security implementations and awareness through regulation and legislation.
With analysts expecting up to 50 billion embedded chip devices to be in use by 2020, it is essential that security and education challenges are met, so that IoT can reach its full potential without compromising the safety and security of organizations and users around the world.
For more information check out our new website. www.internetofthingsrecruiting.com