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Talk stresses IoT concerns as today’s problems

As the number of devices connected to the internet skyrockets, the industry will be forced to become more judicious about securing and analyzing the influx of data, experts shared at SC Congress Toronto.

In a Wednesday keynote address to security pros, Jim Nelms, CISO of the Mayo Clinic, said that the mass of Internet of Things (IoT) devices set to come online presented security challenges which must be addressed sooner rather than later.

Nelms, along with co-speaker Jeff Lewis, ICT security lead at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, cited Cisco findings estimating that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.

As of 2008, the number of connected “things” surpassed the number of people on earth, the firm found.

“The traditional security measures will not be efficient for that type of volume,” Nelms said of the coming devices.

During the talk, Lewis proposed that moving to IPv6, the latest Internet Protocol version developed to address IPv4 issues, could help manage to coming traffic. A major IPv4 concern is the expected depletion of address space as more devices connect to the internet.

“We need to start working on IPv6 a little faster,” Lewis told attendees, referring to efforts in Canada to transition to the communications protocol.

In addition, he said that it would help if standards bodies, like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), helped to lead the charge in developing security requirements for IoT devices, which would fall under the domain of a wide range of industries.

“You've got everything from medical devices to toasters coming online,” Lewis added.

According to Nelms, big data analytics should play a significant role in helping businesses understand what data is at risk, or of value, to their operations.

"We need to reduce the amount of data we are trying to protect," Nelms said of risk management. "And everything else, let it go."

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