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20 March 2020

Trio of IoT reports paint unsurprisingly different views

Status updates on IoT adoption have never provided a united front, but three recent ones caught our eye due to their disparity. First, Kaspersky says that 61% of organizations are using IoT platforms in their businesses, while CompTIA says that in managed services, vendors offering Managed IoT services are seeing significant revenue opportunities. Meanwhile, the Eclipse Foundation says that IoT adoption is notably slower than expected.

For Eclipse, the open source software initiative, research suggests that only 40% of organizations are deploying ‘IoT solutions’ today, with 22% planning to deploy in the next two years. On the negative side of things, 10% say they have no IoT plans at all, and 29% answered that they did not know – meaning that this combined 39% that are not deploying is the same size as those that are.

In terms of demographics, the 366 respondents are mostly software developers in small enterprises, across a broad range of industries. As for budgets, 30% of the IoT adopters will be spending less than $100k, while only 12% will be spending $1mn, and 5% north of $10mn. Some 43% say that they don’t know if they have an IoT budget.

There is some good news, based on the Foundation’s findings, in that IoT investments do seem to be rising. Some 40% say they plan to increase IoT spending in the next year, and perhaps as an indication of the Eclipse ecosystem, some 60% of those surveyed said that they are considering open source, with 23% saying pure open source, and 37% saying it would be a blend of open source and closed source. Only 14% think they would use a completely closed source stack.

As for deployment environments, hybrid clouds account for 26%, with private cloud on 22%, and public cloud on 20%. Some 10% report deploying in multi-cloud environments, which is notable, as we believe this segment will account for the data-driven fifth industrial revolution, outlined in our three-part series on the subject.

For market share, the report found that AWS holds 37% of the IoT deployments, with Azure on 31%, and Google’s GCP on 27%. In terms of concerns for the future, data security is most prominent, on 26%, followed by performance on 19%, and data collection and analytics on 17%.

“IoT is clearly one of the major technology trends today and a ubiquitous buzzword. This survey, which we hope will be the first of an annual tradition, seeks to provide real insights into what organizations are doing with the IoT right now and their plans for production deployments,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director at the Eclipse Foundation.

Meanwhile, the CompTIA report, which is focused on Managed Service Providers (MSPs), took a quick look at their IoT offerings, and found that of those providing Managed IoT services, this accounted for $3.5bn in 2017, and is expected to reach $10.1bn by 2022. Some 55% of MSPs say that they see significant revenue opportunities now, with 37% saying they are probably one to two years out. Only 8% are still uncertain, or think the IoT won’t deliver for them.

When asked about returns on investment in new business lines, with the IoT cited as an example, it looks like MSPs have their heads screwed on properly. Some 30% answered that these were somewhat mature, while 39% said they were mostly mature, and 31% said they were very mature.

As for challenges to running these services, 54% of MSPs said that keeping IoT hardware up to date was a challenge, with 51% saying hiring properly skilled staff was the main hurdle. Staying on top of security was cited by 46%, which was the same result for the learning curve of new technologies. Some 45% pointed to managing the rapid growth of data, with 40% pointing to costs, and lastly 39% citing connectivity problems.

So, finally, we turn to the Kaspersky report, which is the most optimistic, finding that 61% of organizations are using IoT platforms in their business – a result that is around 50% higher than what the Eclipse Foundation is finding. Kaspersky notes that the IT and Telecoms industry is the strongest performer, on 71% adoption, with Finance in second place on 68%.

Kaspersky, a security software and services provider, saw 105mn attacks on IoT devices, through honeypot servers that it ran, in the first half of 2019 alone. Of the companies polled using IoT platforms, 28% said they experienced incidents involving ‘non-computing connected devices,’ in the past year, which is especially troubling, as over 36% of all companies interviewed say they provide third-party access to their IoT platforms – fertile grounds for security attacks and viral infections.

This figure is much higher than for other business tools, such as office productivity software (23% have third-party access), email (27%), and ERP (30%), and Kaspersky points to a study where it found 38% of computers in smart building automation systems had malicious code on them.

Kaspersky points to forecasts from the GSMA and IDC, which say that total IoT spending is set to reach $1.1tn by 2025, up from $166bn in 2016, but warns that there are unprecedented risks involved with the trend, in terms of interconnected systems and devices.

It offers a series of rules, for those that want to adopt IoT systems, which are quite sensible. Security assessments for devices should take place before they are deployed, obviously, and Kaspersky recommends a framework provided by the Industrial Internet Consortium for this. Regular risk assessments and audits are recommended, as are reviews of third-party access, keeping software up to date, and establishing protocols for discovering vulnerabilities. Last but not least, there’s a sales pitch for Kaspersky’s IoT Secure Gateway, and its KasperskyOS software, to keep your networks secure.