More investment in IoT and more security: some key points of the new “smart companies”

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According to Zebra Technologies’ annual survey on the use of different technologies in companies around the world, the number of so-called smart companies has doubled between 2017 and 2018 and now reaches ten percent of the total. Among other highlights of the study are that investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) has continued to increase by 4 percent each year and the number of companies that constantly monitor the security of their IoT has grown by 18 percent.

Vision of the “smart companies”

The concept of Intelligent Business that Zebra manages refers to everything that is added to a company’s processes to “make businesses as smart and as connected as the world around us“. The study interviews more than 900 business managers from the technology areas of companies in the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany and other countries; through eleven different metrics it assesses the state of the art. These metrics refer to topics such as their overview of the IOT, technology partners, security and standards, plans throughout the life of the products, architectures and infrastructures and data analysis, among others.

This year’s key results include the following:

  • Investment in the Internet of Things continues to increase. It has done so at a rate of 4% per year over the past few years. The data indicate that the so-called resistance to the new IoT plans – projects that until a few years ago might have seemed extravagant – is also decreasing, while the planned investment in many of the companies consulted is increasing from 11 to 20%.
  • Safety is the top priority. This includes conforming to industry standards and being more proactive and comprehensive in the solutions that are put in place. Continuous monitoring – which is an important piece of the complicated security puzzle – is something that 18% more companies are already doing than last year. With regard to IOT factors such as privacy and data integrity, these are two issues that also stand out as the most important for technology managers.
  • The solution ecosystems and strategic partners. Depending on the size of the company and the complexity of the IOT being managed, some companies rely on strategic partners to manage, audit or advise on its implementation. This is something that 40% of companies already do (compared to 21% last year) and whose growth indicates that many prefer to delegate this task to specialists – for all sorts of reasons – rather than having to develop and implement it themselves.

Security in vogue

If one looks at the technology sector from the outside, it seems clear that the importance of security for companies is growing all the time. It is even noticeable in the public administration, where it has recently become known that the Spanish CNI’s National Cryptology Centre has signed up 10% more hackers than last year to stop attacks on strategic firms (the number of these attacks has also increased, from 25,000 to 38,000). In total, an appeal was made at the beginning of the year to hire 2,000 hackers and civilian experts against the so-called cyberthreats.

The problems of SMEs and larger companies are of the same nature as those of public and military cyber defence: personal data to protect, servers that have to keep communications smooth, and Internet devices of things that may be vulnerable, wherever they are. The Spanish INCIBE (National Institute of Cybersecurity) has even published a catalogue of Masters in cybersecurity and another of institutions that import training to compile all the educational programmes on the subject and thus help to cover the needs of many companies.

We live in an increasingly connected world with more devices that depend on secure communications, where we are learning that the information that travels has more value in itself than we sometimes thought. It is a great economic or even legal danger that such information gets into the wrong hands through carelessness or some kind of security breach, and it is normal that everyone tries to protect themselves against the unexpected. Protecting yourself in time is a great advantage for companies that know how to do it well.