When Everything's Networked

When Everything's Networked

Perhaps the most important piece of good news about device networking is that its security risks are so egregious, so scary, that they will force companies to implement the security principles they should have been following all along.

SIDEBAR: Silver Lining

Device networking will be a headache, but it may also bring the security group to new prominence

Device networking will leave no job unaffected, but not many jobs will be remade as drastically as security. Networked cameras and intercoms will allow CSOs to monitor and command security situations hundreds of miles away, directly and in real time. Today, most corporate vehicles and their cargoes are unprotected once they leave the company lot: Network the vehicles' GPS navigators, match movements against a route and schedule table, and accidents and hijackings will all but announce themselves.

Every device on the premises will be available to advance the mission. Patterns of elevator use, lighting, heating and cooling will be a click away. Commandeering electronic floor displays or billboards, shutting down the escalators, or relaying an image of a shoplifter to every point-of-sale monitor in a store will be the work of a few seconds. A physical asset that finds itself being wheeled out the back door will be able to place a call to security, perhaps attaching a candid shot of the thieves. Combining output from distributed devices will make possible whole new categories of intelligence - for example, comparing licence plate numbers observed in different parking lots at various times. The development of wireless technology expands the possibilities even further.

But device networking may have a more profound benefit for the security group, putting it in the novel position of being fought over by other departments. Sales will be eager to use security cameras to observe patterns of shopper behaviour on the display floor. Human resources can monitor vehicles of delivery truck drivers who keep getting lost (or stopping off at home for a quick nap). Facilities management can visually check offices or conference rooms. All these departments might be happy to trade contributions toward procurement and maintenance in return for influence over feature and location decisions.

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