IoT devices pose a particular threat to industries like health care, finance and hospitality.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

August 21, 2019

2 Min Read
Smart City, IoT Network
The fifth generation of wireless communications technology – 5G – will be the backbone of IoT. 5G is all about faster speeds and low-latency networks. What does this mean for businesses? According to AT&T, it’s about speed, low latency and more — it’s the ability to support the connection of many more devices, and an increase in energy efficiency of the network elements. When talking about IoT, talking about 5G alone doesn’t go far enough — you also have to talk about low-power, narrow-band networks, also referred to as (LPWAN). This year a number of carriers announced they’ll be launching their own LPWANs. In June, AT&T, for example, said that next year it will launch NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) to meet the growing needs of business customers for a wide range of IoT solutions. NB-IoT technology complements the carrier’s existing LTE-M network in the U.S. and Mexico. AT&T’s investment in NB-IoT and LTE-M will be future-ready and is expected to become part of the industry’s massive IoT standards. Verizon also announced plans for a NB-IoT network while T-Mobile this year launched its US NB-IoT network. There are at least one-dozen carriers worldwide that also have NB-IoT on their agenda. “There’s a part of this transformation [from currently LTE to future 5G] that’s not just about speed, but having these low power wide-area networks that are slower in speed,” said Mobeen Khan, AVP, IoT products, marketing and management, AT&T. “It’s because of the way they’re built, which allows devices that connect to the network to be able to last a long time on the battery charge, be able to communicate in harsher settings, be able to have a smaller device footprint, and be able to be lower cost than LTE devices.” This opens the potential for a slew of use cases.Shutterstock

The market for information technology/operational technology (IT/OT) security services in smart buildings is set to explode in the coming years, reaching nearly $900 million by 2022.

That’s according to a new analysis by Frost and Sullivan. Widespread digitization of building operations and increasing cyberattacks on operational environments are driving adoption of these security services.

The market for these services is increasing at a record compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37%, with major growth opportunities arising from EMEA and APAC.

Tony Massimini, senior industry analyst, information and network security at Frost and Sullivan, tells Channel Partners this is all about convergence of IT and OT, “two silos that have been separated for a long time.”


Frost & Sullivan’s Tony Massimini

“Companies are trying to bridge these silos for better operational efficiencies, but that opens vulnerabilities,” he said. “Devices may have old vulnerabilities that have not been found. It’s important to have the technology to get visibility into these devices so they can do asset monitoring and auditing to determine what security is needed.”

In 2018, the Americas accounted for 43.6% of total revenue share, followed closely by EMEA at 40.7%, while APAC was a distant third at 15.7%. However, with a majority of opportunities for IT/OT security solution vendors expected from EMEA and APAC, this is set to turn around.

The technology is available, through channel providers like Fortinet and Forescout, to provide threat hunting, automation, machine learning and AI to make it easier for customers to deal with the cybersecurity skills shortage while protecting these environments, Massimini said.

“It’s still in the early stages, so marketing and education are important to continue to drive security into this convergence,” he said.

The proliferation of IoT devices poses a particular threat to industries like health care, finance and hospitality, Massimini said.

Vendors in IT/OT security can capitalize on this development by:

  • Incorporating automation capabilities in existing solutions by leveraging machine learning and deep learning algorithms to customize threat prevention and handling.

  • Employing a partnership-based, go-to-market strategy to access a wider customer base.

  • Offering vertical-specific solutions and targeted go-to-market strategies for faster customer acquisitions.

  • Focusing on threat-handling in addition to endpoint visibility and threat monitoring to ensure a complete solution for the enterprise.

“Today, smart devices control building management activities, including temperature control, access and lighting control, communication and safety systems in many enterprises,” said Swetha Krishnamoorthi, industry analyst at Frost and Sullivan. “Such converged IT/OT environment has made enterprises more vulnerable to cyberattacks. With diverse protocols, hardware and software systems, the OT devices controlling building operations provide a heterogeneous environment. Coupled with IT devices and a common network connection, the attack surface expands, providing a thriving ground for cyber adversaries to play on.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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