Importance of IoT Data Protection

Abhinav S |

6th September 2019

The Internet of Things (IoT) denotes the collection of devices that can have autonomous data communication with each other. Through IoT devices, organizations can collect critical user data and analyze it to develop new solutions and enhance user experience. According to Statistica, with the proliferation of chip technology, the world will have almost 31 billion IoT devices by 2020. As the number of devices increases, the average data volume of users also grows. It is, therefore, essential to avail data protection and security solutions to protect critical business data.  

In this blog post, we have discussed common data protection challenges and how we can address them using IoT.

IoT Data Should Be Private and Controlled

IoT devices can generate a large amount of critical data, both personal and financial to perform tasks. The collected data is prone to cyberattacks since it can be used by criminal entities for an unfair advantage. IoT security has become a serious concern these days as consumers and companies do not have any idea if data gets misused. Many companies indulge in monetizing the collected data. When consumers do not have any control over their data, it exposes businesses to regulatory risks. It is, therefore, essential to maintain data privacy. 

Below are three examples that show the magnitude of data protection issues with the advent of IoT technologies:

Telematics insurance systems

The automotive industry is witnessing disruption with the implementation of usage-based insurance or UBI. Through this system, insurance companies are able to calculate fair and accurate premiums based on users’ driving patterns and behavior. For best results, various driving information about the policyholder is collected through a black-box that the company installs in the car. The data collected is about the type of car, speed and distance traveled, timings when drivers are on the road and the way they approach corners and braking. 

Since a lot of critical data about a policyholder’s driving pattern and behavior is collected, data privacy becomes a major concern. Some interesting questions that arise are: 

  • Do the insurers have the right to use the data obtained for calculating car insurance premiums to promote other forms of insurance? 
  • On the request of changing providers, what is the extent to which the insurers can reveal policyholder’s data?

Smart Wearables

Smart wearables can open doors to new solutions in healthcare, aging issues, health monitoring, safety management, and work emergencies. According to tech research company Juniper Research, the smart wearables industry can see an expenditure of over $20 billion a year for the next five years. It shows how influential real-time collection and monitoring of movement, location, biometric data is to create effective solutions.

The data privacy loopholes in the wearable gadget industry overpower its limited advantages. For instance, a healthcare wearable accesses users’ health-related data such as pulse rate, step count, sleeping hours, etc. It is, therefore, essential for device manufacturers to address the following privacy concerns- 

  • What are the set standards for such healthcare wearables regarding the usage of user data?
  • Are there any laws that legally prevent healthcare gadgets to use consumer information for secondary purposes?
  • Will the device algorithm reveal certain negative health conditions to users in case of emergencies?

Smart Homes and Security

IoT devices are transforming the way humans live in their homes with a wide range of applications. Smart security solutions are now available with the development of smart security cameras, alarms, and doors. These ‘smart home’ devices are a boon for consumers and companies. According to a report by Strategy Analytics, the market is really profitable as the year 2017 saw a 16% growth from $72 billion in 2016 to $84 billion.

Even with a stronghold in the market these devices face some serious data protection issues listed below: 

  • If the smart device responsible for home security is hacked and used for any untoward incident like theft 
  • If multiple smart devices are used by hackers to steal items e.g. hacking of smart fridge to bypass and unlock a smart lock and steal items from the house. How will the liability of stolen items be distributed among the manufacturers of each product? 

How data protection and security solutions can address the issues?

Since IoT devices are finding applications in multiple business verticals like healthcare, security, retail, logistics, the data privacy concern is rising. Consumer data obtained through smart devices can have serious implications if they fall in the wrong hands. It is, therefore, necessary for manufacturers to evaluate privacy regulations before distributing the products to retailers for sale. 

Below are the few essential steps to restore trust in IoT:

  • IoT Security Compliance for Data Protection: Online data collectors should comply with basic rules and regulations. Under GDPR’s Article 23, manufacturers, retailers, distributors of IoT devices should be aware of users’ privacy. 
  • IoT Developers should develop built-in device security: As hackers are looking to exploit the collected users’ data by companies for their gain, a twofold security measure becomes important. 

Concluding Thoughts

Data protection and privacy are essential for the ethical implementation of new-age technologies like IoT as they collect and analyze user’s data. The data collected by IoT devices play a critical role in developing new solutions, however, data privacy must be intact. To avoid any loopholes, companies should avail data privacy services to comply with regulations. 

Data Protection and Security Solutions By Oodles

We, at Oodles, develop data protection solutions in compliance with privacy regulations such as GDPR. Our team follows a methodological approach to not leave any loopholes for effective data protection and privacy. 

Drop us a line to get started.

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