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IoT security testing should comprise activities like checking for endpoints, authentication, encryption, firewalls, and compliance requirements. The testing helps the IoT ecosystem to function safely and prevent incidences of a data breach.

The Internet of Things or IoT has swept the realm of technology and become mainstream as far as automation is concerned. Its popularity is attributable to features such as communication between machines, easy usage, and the integration of various devices, enabling technologies, and protocols.

When one talks about smart cities, smart transport, smart healthcare, or smart homes, the role of IoT is paramount.  According to Gartner, the number of connected things courtesy IoT is projected to reach 20.8 billion by 2020. Since IoT is about connected products that communicate with each other and share a huge volume of data, it is vulnerable to security breaches. With greater digitization and a rush towards delivering smart devices to add more comfort to people’s lives, businesses may end up keeping their flanks uncovered. The threats related to cybersecurity, besides threatening the smooth functioning of the digital ecosystem, are putting a question mark on the implementation of the IoT ecosystem.

The future is likely to be driven by smart systems with IoT at their core. Since such systems will witness a huge exchange of data, their security needs to be ensured. Also, as the smooth functioning of such smart systems will hinge on the accuracy and integrity of data, enabling IoT security at every step of the way should be the norm. If statistics are to be believed then around 84% of companies adopting IoT have reported security breaches of some kind (Source: Stoodnt.com.) The resident vulnerabilities in such systems are exploited by cybercriminals to exhibit malicious behavior such as committing credit card theft, phishing and spamming, distributed denial of service attacks, and malware distribution, among others.

How to conduct IoT security testing effectively

The security implications of a vulnerable or broken IoT system can be catastrophic for individuals, businesses, and entities. The devices and the transfer of data within them should be monitored by the implementing agency to check for a data breach. The best ways to conduct IoT security is as follow:

  • Checking of endpoints: As more devices or endpoints are added to expand the network, more vulnerabilities are created. Since IoT systems are built using devices of different configurations, computing and storage power, and running on different versions and types of operating systems, every such device should be evaluated for safety. An inventory of such devices should be made and tracked.
  • Authentication: Care should be taken that the vendor-supplied default passwords for specific systems should be dealt with at the beginning. If not, these can be exploited by hackers to take control of the IoT ecosystem and wreak havoc. Moreover, every device in the IoT system should be authenticated before being plugged into the network. This should be made an integral part of the internet of things testing.
  • Firewalls: The firewall present in the network should be tested for its capability of filtering specific data range and controlling traffic. Also, data aimed at terminating the device to ensure its optimal performance should be tested.
  • Encryption: Since IoT systems transmit data among themselves they should be encrypted for safety. During testing IoT applications the encryption approach and nitty-gritty should be thoroughly checked and validated. If not, then while relaying the location of assets in the IoT system, the information can be easily read by a hacker.
  • Compliance: Mere testing of IoT devices is not complete unless compliance with standards like FCC and ETSI/CE is carried out. These regulations and standards have been instituted to validate the performance of the IoT devices based on certain parameters. So, any IoT testing approach should take into account compliance with such regulations.

Why IoT systems should undergo security testing?

The smart devices forming part of the IoT system need to undergo IoT testing (security) to:

  • Prevent data theft: The unsecured endpoints within the system can leave a trail for hackers to strike but for the IoT device testing solutions. The vulnerabilities can be used to break into the controlling mechanism of the system in order to launch more malicious forms of attacks.
  • Protect brand equity: When scores of companies are competing with each other to get a pie of the IoT market, a security breach or malware attack can put a brand in jeopardy. With IoT penetration testing, such attacks can be pre-empted with the elimination of vulnerabilities and glitches.

Conclusion

The IoT ecosystem is projected to grow at a humongous pace and scale. Technology companies having an integrated IoT security testing approach are likely to earn a huge chunk of the pie. The approach when executed at regular intervals should be able to help enterprises achieve growth across domains.

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The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the retail industry, coming in it with the improved shopping experience, automated business processes, enhanced digital marketing, and optimized inventory and supply chain management.

Providing retailers with various advantages, IoT technology also enables them to boost sales and increase customer loyalty. Oracle discovered that when applying RFID tags, retail companies can achieve 99% inventory accuracy, a 50% reduction in out-of-stocks, and a 70% reduction in shrinkage.

 

The global IoT retail market is predicted to grow from $14 billion in 2015 to $36 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 20%. In its report about the Internet of Things, Verizon found that retailers believe in the IoT potential and have a positive attitude towards adopting IoT in their work:

 

  • 77% of retailers said that IoT solutions help improve the customer experience;
  • 89% of companies said they got the understanding of customer shopping habits, needs, and preferences thanks to using IoT solutions.

 

Promising to innovate and transform the retail industry, IoT solutions are becoming widely introduced for solving a wide range of issues. Here I’ve listed the main use cases describing how IoT is applied by retailers and what benefits they do receive.

 

IoT applications in Retail

 

Beacon alerts & in-store navigation

 

Customer interactions are a key success factor in all business. Through beacons, retailers can easily reach the user audience, increase customer loyalty, and raise profit. Beacons are IoT Bluetooth-enabled devices that use low-energy Bluetooth connections to automatically send push notifications directly to user smartphones once they appear in the operating area.

As beacons are small, they can be attached to almost any place, for instance, walls and counters. In the retail industry, beacons are mainly used for customer in-store navigation, sending push notifications, and collecting customer data.

In connection with mobile applications, retailers can motivate customers to make more purchases by notifying them about discounts and special offerings when they enter the coverage zone, generally near a certain shop. Also, in large shopping centers, beacons are irreplaceable for navigating customer and showing them the best routes to the place they need.

 

Customer data

 

Customer data plays a key role in any business dealing with customers. Retail companies do need to know their audience in order to make them make purchases and increase profit while delivering an amazing personalized experience. Satisfied customers are returning clients.)

IoT solutions suit great for collecting customer data, including the determination of customer buying habits, needs, preferences, favorite routes in the shopping center, and the most popular goods as well.  

By sending all these data to the analytical system, where it’s processed and analyzed, retailers can find out what they should improve. In some cases, for example, it will be better to change the placement of shelves or clothes. Also, with the audience understanding retailers can launch successful marketing campaigns and provide personalization.

 

Personalized shopping experience

 

Traditionally, customer relationships were built on the basis of face-to-face communications. For now, personalized experience takes the center stage and significantly impacts consumer purchasing decisions.

To boost sales and retain customers, retail companies are adopting IoT solutions to deliver the best shopping experience possible. By using beacons, mobile apps, push notifications, and customer analytics, retailers get the ability to understand the needs and preferences of their customers and ensure successful targeting when creating advertising campaigns.

 

Supply chain management

 

Like in many other sectors, supply chain management takes an important part in the retail too. Retailers integrate IoT solutions for load tracking, driver activity monitoring, tracing the delivery process, transportation management, as well as viewing load/driver location in real time. This way, the Internet of Things can enable a transparent supply chain management and help achieve “just-in-time” delivery much easier.

 

Optimized asset management

 

IoT applications are widely used for asset tracking and management. Using RFID tags, mobile apps, and other technologies for inventory tracking, retail companies can accomplish up to 100% inventory accuracy, minimize unexpected out-of-stocks, enable end-to-end store inventory management, and increase sales margins by up to 10% as a result.

What’s more, IoT solutions provide retailers with the ability to track the assortment of goods, analyze product popularity, and check out the information about goods any time they need, including their availability in the store, brand name, price, and description.

 

As you see, there are many useful IoT applications in the retail industry. With the use of additional devices and technologies, improvements in sensors, enhanced connectivity and machine learning tools, retailers automate operations, optimize various processes, reduce costs, and deliver the personalized experience.

 

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Believe it or not, but the possibilities that the Internet of Things, IoT brings to the table are countless. The internet of things, IoT continues to be the next big thing in technology, and now the new phase of the internet of things is pushing everyone hard to ask questions about the data collected by sensors and devices of IoT.  

Undoubtedly, the internet of things, IoT will generate a tsunami of data, with the swift expansion of sensors and devices connected to the IoT. The sheer volume of data being produced by the internet of things will rise exponentially in the upcoming years. This generated data can provide extremely valuable insight to figure out what’s working well and what’s not. Moreover, the internet of things, IoT, will point out the issues that often arise and provide meaningful and actionable insight into new business opportunities and potential risks as correlations and associations are made. 

Examples of IoT Data:  

  • Data that improves productivity of industries through predictive maintenance of equipment and machinery 
  • Data that assists smart cities in predicting crime rates and accidents   
  • Data that creates truly smart living homes with connected devices    
  • Data that provides doctors real-time insight into information from biochips to pacemakers 
  • Data that gives critical communication between self-driven automobiles          

That’s great news, but it’s not possible for humans to monitor, analyze and understand all of this data using traditional methods. Even if they reduce the sample size, it will simply consume too much of their time.  Undoubtedly, finding actionable insights in terabytes of machine data is not a cakewalk, just ask a data scientist. The biggest challenge is to find ways to analyze the deluge of performance data and information that the internet of things, IoT devices creates. The only possible way to keep up with the terabytes of data generated by IoT devices and sensors and gain the hidden insights that it holds is using Artificial Intelligence, commonly known as AI.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT    

Artificial intelligence, also known as machine intelligence (MI) is the intelligence that is exhibited by machines or software. John McCarthy, the person who coined this terminology back in 1955, describes it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines". In a nutshell, AI is a branch of computer science that emphasizes the creation of an intelligent machine that thinks intelligently, the way intelligent humans think and works and reacts like humans.   

In an IoT environment, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can aid business enterprises take the billions of data points they have and prune them down to what’s really helpful and actionable. The general principle is akin to that in retail applications i.e. review and analyze the data you have collected from different sources to find out similarities or patterns, so that better business decisions can be made.  

To be able to figure out the potential risks or problems, the collected data has to be analyzed in terms of what’s normal and what’s not. Abnormalities, correlations, and similarities need to be identified based on the real-time streams of data generated. The collected data combined with Artificial Intelligence makes life easier with predictive analytics, intelligent automation, and proactive intervention. 

Artificial Intelligence in IoT Applications  

  • New sensors will enable computers and smart devices to “hear,” gather sonic information about the user’s ambience   
  • Visual big data will allow computers and smart devices to gain a deeper insight of images on the screen, with the new AI app that understands the context of images

These are some of the promising applications of Artificial Intelligence in the internet of things, IoT ecosystem. The potential for highly personalized services are countless and will dramatically change the way people live. For example, Amazon.com can suggest what other books and movies you may like, helping Saavn and Gaana to determine what other songs you may love listening, and your family doctor would receive notification if you’re not feeling comfortable.  

Here Are Some Challenges Facing AI in IoT

  • Artificial Stupidity
  • Complexity
  • Safety
  • Ethical and legal Issues
  • Compatibility
  • Privacy/Security 

What’s Next? 

Gartner has predicted that by the end of next year, 6 billion connected devices will be requesting support, which means that processes, technologies, and strategies will have to be in place to respond to them. It is important to think of connected devices less as ‘things’, but more as customers or consumers of services in themselves. The need for Artificial intelligence, AI will become more prominent at the stage when the number of connected devices and sensors increase manifold.

Hope you find this post helpful. If you did, share it with your friends and colleagues. For AI and IoT Courses Online, you can do some research on Google to find the best institute that suits your needs and budget.

For any query related to this post, you can comment down below. Thanks for your time. 

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