Thursday, 07 November 2013 18:48

Aussies, Kiwis say benefits of being connected outweigh risks

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Fifty billion devices, including computers, smartphones, sensors, cars, cameras and many others, are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020, and more than half of Australian and New Zealand organisations say they have plans to capitalise on the increase of connected devices known as the ‘Internet of Things’.

According to a global survey of 2,013 IT professionals by ISACA, while respondents from Australia and New Zealand identified significant benefits from the Internet of Things, the risks involved with greater connectivity were also recognised, “with increased security threats being the biggest governance concern to 28% of IT professionals.”

Data privacy was highlighted by 27% of Australian and New Zealand IT professionals, followed by concerns around identity and access, which were most troubling to 17% of respondents.

ISACA - a global association of 110,000 IT security, assurance, governance and risk professionals - says that 52% of Australian and New Zealand organisations have plans to capitalise on the increase of connected devices, while 47% say they have already been impacted by such technology.

Furthermore, just over one-third (36%) of the IT professionals surveyed indicated their enterprises have already achieved greater accessibility to information due to the Internet of Things, 31% have experienced improved services and 20% have achieved greater efficiency, lower costs and increased customer satisfaction.

“There are numerous benefits to greater connectivity, but organisations need to be aware of the increased risks that come with the Internet of Things.  We’re already seeing a distinct rise in cyber-attacks and threats across the board – from accounts being hacked and credit card details stolen to remote entry being manipulated,” said Jo Stewart-Rattray, Director of Information Security and IT Assurance at BRM Holdich and International Director of ISACA.

“Both public and private organisations need to ensure their systems are adequately protected and that they are prepared to deal with the inevitable increase in malicious attacks,” Stewart-Rattray said.

According to ISACA, when asked about the risk and rewards of the Internet of Things for enterprises, the majority of respondents (45%) believe the benefits outweigh the risks, while a further 31% believe the risks and benefits are equally balanced and one-quarter think the risks outweigh the benefits.

The survey also found that more than half (53%) believe greater internet connectivity is of more benefit than risk to consumers, though respondents do recognise some risk to consumers—particularly not knowing who has access to all the information being collected (38%) and not knowing how it is being used (38%).

“The Internet of Things is only set to grow over the coming years, and organisations need to develop proactive strategies to ensure they benefit from the increase in connected devices,” cautioned Tony Hayes, International President of ISACA.

“However, increased connectivity also opens up a number of security risks, both externally and internally. Organisations need to determine how they will protect the data shared by their devices, while also measuring and communicating the benefits of increased connectivity.”  

The full ISACA survey results, including related infographics, can be found at

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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