Is IoT Security a Reliable Mechanism for Managing Trust? 

Geoffrey Moore, in his seminal work ‘Crossing The Chasm’, explains how appealing to an early adopter crowd is different from appealing to a mainstream audience. Early adopters,in this case of IoT, tend to be more comfortable with risk while the mainstream audience tends to be more skeptical, sensible and realistic. But for a market to move from early adopters towards mainstream adoption, a platform has to be reliable. As one expert stated,

“It should move beyond being an intriguing innovation to becoming a mechanism for reliably solving a pain point and/or delivering benefit. A marketplace connecting buyers and sellers needs a reliable mechanism for managing trust. This is especially true for marketplaces with high risk.”

From my perspective, IoT security needs to be, in part, a “reliable mechanism for managing trust.” With the increase in media attention around cyberattacks and the concern for data protection and privacy, the mainstream audience is receiving an onslaught of negative signals about connected devices. Even if the events covered by media are edge cases, like pacemakers being hacked, it creates a bad taste for mainstream audiences to adopt connected devices.

As the article linked to below referenced, “These devices offer us a tremendous amount of convenience, but also expose us to risks we may not have spent a lot of time thinking about.”  Therefore, it’s important that technologists who better know the potential security risks, embed within their devices the appropriate security measures to mitigate the risk for the consumer. The designers and engineers need to apply their security needs-awareness to protect the less knowing consumer. After all, the gain, potentially a matter  of delayed gratification, occurs when the mainstream adopts the IoT solution because of the trust earned.

This is especially true when balancing convenience and risk for the consumer. As the article linked to below also stated,

“In the balance between convenience and security, convenience always wins,” Liwer said. “Security has to be convenient.” For example, 63% of Americans conduct banking transactions on open Wi-Fi networks, Liwer said. “They know it’s risky, but still do it, because it’s easy,” he added. “We need to make security easy, as if it is part of the fabric, not something they need to learn or add on top of [a device].

Although IoT connected solutions are not yet approaching mainstream adoption, planning and preparing now will help potentially speed the transition from early adopters to mainstream. It’s important for product managers, design engineers, IT directors and CTOs/CIOs to take IoT security seriously now in order to become a reliable mechanism for managing trust.

Read the entire article at

Also published on Medium.

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