Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Peter Silva, Christopher Harrold, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Harry Trott

Related Topics: IoT Expo, Java IoT, Log Management, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

IoT Expo: Article

The Nature of the Internet of Things

In the Boardroom with... George Romas, Technical Dir., Cybersecurity Solutions Group, HP Enterprise Services, US Public Sector

Mr. George Romas is the Technical Director of the Cybersecurity Solutions Group at HP Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us again today, George. It's been roughly one year since our first meeting when we spoke about building security in, continuous monitoring, and the process that HP undertakes to develop and deliver the right cybersecurity solutions to HP customers. But, one year feels like a decade in the IT space - so much has happened. Today we'd like to discuss with you the topic of IoT (the Internet of Things). We read with great interest your recent blog on this subject. If you don't mind, can you please share with us your primer on IoT?

George Romas: IoT is something that we discuss on a regular basis at HP and I am appreciative of the opportunity to share my ideas on the topic with you. As you know, today we live in a world where just about everything is connected. While the Internet connects computers, in concept, the IoT connects everything else. Solutions in this space are appearing rapidly within the consumer space, while interesting industrial applications are also being deployed (please see my above blog link for examples.) You can think of IoT as a network of connected processors and sensors, and the type of sensors are only limited by your imagination. Today, the consumer space is seeing an expansion in the sensor environment (weather, home, traffic, safety), fitness (health, exercise), and multimedia (streaming to multiple devices, remote control). Yet as embedded processors and sensors become smaller (think "nano-sized"), we will be able to monitor and manage nearly anything. This will impact a wide range of industries and markets, from more efficient utilization of IT infrastructure to transportation systems, to automation of daily personal tasks.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: The upside and benefits of IoT are clear... things get done "for us" not necessarily "by us." Today's smart home is perhaps a good example here - as homeowners can control their HVAC and security systems from anywhere, at any time. Forgot to lower the heat when you left for vacation? Did you set the alarm... lock the door? No problem - just do it when you land in Hong Kong - or on the way there - or even your house can be programmed to do it automatically upon detecting your absence. And the convenience of being able to pay a bill, send a gift, check a stock price, find out who won the game, make a dinner reservation, respond to that customer - all in a matter of seconds with our mobile devices - makes us more efficient. But, we all know there are bad guys out there. Are we now also more vulnerable? Does IoT also mean an Internet of greater risk (IoGR)? Should I worry that my iPhone is a target? What are your thoughts?

George Romas: I'd like to start the conversation by talking about extremes. Let's take security out of the equation and assume that everything is connected and life is easy. Just as you outline, we can automate many of our daily tasks, both personal and business. In this scenario, we have processors and sensors everywhere that know your location, behavior, preferences, schedule, tasks, goals, hobbies, etc. This aligns with the typical science fiction depiction of the future: your house wakes you up, adjusts lighting and temperature, breakfast is ready, and clothes are picked out according to your activities that day. Your self-driving car has reviewed current traffic patterns and whisks you off to work while you answer emails and catch up on the news. Your day is already scheduled for you and meetings, phone calls and tasks occur without you having to think about or plan them. The rest of the day proceeds similarly, with everything planned and scheduled by the algorithms and machines around us.

Now, to answer your question - yes, you should worry! All the components of this scenario and the interactions between them are vulnerable to manipulation and disruption. Without security in the equation, that utopian day can quickly devolve into chaos and danger. Each benefit I described also introduces vulnerabilities because by connecting open networks to physical objects and personal information, you're opening yourself to a variety of threats and attacks.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Your colleague at HP, Sridhar Solur, Director, Next-Gen Computing and Cloud Services, presented some eye-opening statistics in his recent IoT presentation - one example being that by 2025 more than one trillion devices will be connected to the Internet. With all these mobile devices coming into the workplace with access to the network, what is your perspective on "best practices" that should be followed by a government agency, a bank, a hospital, an oil and gas company, the transportation entity, or other enterprises that employ owners of those devices?

George Romas: As I previously mentioned, security is of the utmost importance when it comes to more and more devices being connected to the Internet, especially as employees bring them to the workplace. One trillion devices globally translate into trillions of attack surfaces. Conversely, having "too much" security doesn't work either, as the nature of IoT requires real-time response. If devices and communications are locked down, and each transaction has to be authenticated, the system would become unusable due to performance and timing issues. Instead, I recommend leveraging the security frameworks that are well known - for example, privacy, data or HIPAA protections - and building the capabilities needed to implement those frameworks into IoT protocols; combining it with approaches to design security in. While some of these capabilities don't exist yet, as I outlined in my blog, there are initiatives to provide both better interoperability and better security for the IoT. More information about these initiatives can be found on my HP blog post, "The Internet of (Secure) Things - Embedding Security in the IoT." We have to walk the fine line between the benefits that come with IoT and the complexity of securing the IoT ecosystem - from human identities to critical infrastructure.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Can we discuss data analytics for a moment? With sensors everywhere that monitor our behavior, our health, as well as the performance of the machines we depend on in our personal and business lives, IoT delivers powerful information that can be monetized. Do you envision certain industries being transformed and other new industries being created as a result of IoT?

George Romas: In transforming industries and our lives, the benefits of IoT are as obvious as its potential abuses. For instance, think of the possible health and medical advances that could be realized by tracking the details of individual diet, exercise and behaviors across an entire population. We don't think twice about allowing our shopping preferences to be tracked so that we can enjoy discounts and targeted coupons. Why wouldn't we do the same if it meant better health and longer life? Instead of just tracking you, IoT devices could modify your life, for a fee, to continuously monitor and optimize the changes in your health; for instance, your refrigerator could substitute items on your shopping list or in your recipes (e.g., substituting Truvia for sugar, or egg whites for whole eggs). Your daily schedule could be modified to include more exercise. Devices could continuously monitor and optimize the changes in your health. Yet, however, if the appropriate security controls are not implemented, the possibility of abuse can be equally envisioned. This same private data could instead be used to target ads and promotions to every individual, monetizing every behavior and preference, or in an extreme case, substituting a deadly allergen or poison as a new form of attack. Instead of optimization, the goal could become consumption, or even a bizarre deadly health hazard.

Thinking about the availability of massive amounts of data that will be collected, I can imagine many novel uses for that information. Integrate streaming video from drones with transportation schedules, weather data, traffic cams/statistics (air, rail and road), and more, to automatically find the optimal route and mode of transportation to-and-from anywhere to anywhere. Provide dates, destination and "family vacation" details to a travel system and your experience can be enhanced as the system could make all of your reservations (at the cheapest rates) for you.

In addition, IoT will create completely new industries that form around smart devices. We already see the beginnings of that today, where smoke detectors, thermostats, audio/video equipment, watches, smart phones, vehicles and more are becoming sensor-rich and network-enabled. Everyday devices in your home or office will collaborate to form new capabilities.

An example of this scenario can be demonstrated through home security. Using IoT, your home would know that your house is vacant by polling the motion detectors embedded in its Nest Protect smoke detectors and thermostat, and correlating that information with the family schedule (work and school). When the back door opens without the proper key code or ping from an authenticated smartphone and motion is detected, your home sounds a piercing alarm over the whole-house audio speaker system. In turn, it also sends an alert with streaming video to the police, sends warning texts to all family members, and disrupts other communications from within the house.

In the workplace, the information gathered from IoT can be leveraged in a number of ways. It identifies and authenticates you to physical and cyber systems, alerting on anomalous behaviors and providing single sign-on access to the resources required for your job/role. Your workplace can utilize this information to better plan and operate IT resources. In addition, a virtual CIO/CISO can continually and minutely monitor performance and security of corporate systems. This information also feeds into business processes, optimizing all the components needed to reach corporate goals.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: While we're on the subject of front-page news, more security inevitably means more cost and less convenience to users. Are we going to have to bite the bullet and make these adjustments?

George Romas: Yes, but we have the opportunity to do this the correct way. As Sridhar noted, IoT devices will be ubiquitous. Investing more today in developing the proper protections and protocols must be done. These protections will speed adoption, and economies of scale will more than pay for today's investment. Just do a Web search for "IoT" and you'll see a large number of companies and open source initiatives working in this market. We have to work towards a common, secure framework to provide these solutions with a resilient, assured environment to operate in.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you again for joining us today. Are there any other subjects you'd like to talk about?

George Romas: In some ways, I consider myself a futurist, in the same way that science fiction authors can sometimes accurately predict future technologies and solutions. When I think of what IoT may look like in 2025, with possibly one trillion devices (a global network of sensors), I can't help but think of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of science fiction novels. He created the science of psychohistory - by combining the studies of history, sociology and statistics against large populations, you could accurately predict the flow of future events. Imagine that unprecedented collection of current and past human behavior on a global scale.

HP is prepared for this explosion of data with scalable big data management and analytics platforms like HAVEn and Autonomy - designed to help enterprises leverage all your relevant Big Data, to make more informed decisions. However, for the time being, my parting thought is to ask, is it too far of a leap to believe that we could create algorithms that could predict future human behavior and consequent events? Just something to ponder....

This interview originally appeared in SecuritySolutionsWatch.com. Republished with permission.

More Stories By Elizabeth White

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.