The Internet of Things industry needs to work harder to get the right balance between open device connectivity and security, according to a leading executive at Essence Group, an Israel-based provider of IoT solutions for the security, communications and healthcare sectors.

“The issue is not that companies don’t understand the risks associated with IoT, but that companies aware of the risks are not taking the necessary steps to mitigate them,” said Rafi Zauer, Essence Group’s head of marketing.

“There may be a certain level of apathy towards the issues, with companies cutting corners in an effort to get a product to market quickly.

“What many do not grasp is that a network is only as strong as its weakest point.”

Zauer does not prescribe to the idea of a completely open IoT ecosystem.

“Users must have the confidence that their provider has taken all necessary steps to ensure their privacy,” he told IoT Hub.

“It is indeed a difficult tightrope to walk in order to maintain plug and play connectivity while ensuring security.

“The most effective way to ensure a seamless and safe consumer experience is to maintain a combination of a holistic solution – including devices, apps, servers, and RF usage – with connectivity to well-governed open alliances such as Z-Wave and Zigbee that ensure that all device interoperability is plug and play.”

Zauer said that although the onus is on equipment manufacturers and service providers to ensure the provision of secure devices and connection, consumers have to accept a certain level of risk by opening up their home networks to new devices.

“Customers deserve the best efforts of their service providers and equipment vendors to provide the most up-to-date privacy and security protection for known threats,” he said.

“Having said that, there is an industry-wide problem in identifying the ‘unknown threat’, that is, the attack methodologies that have not yet been developed.

“So there is always a certain level of risk when more devices are connected, and consumers should be aware of this risk.”

Zauer believes that these security and privacy issues are preventing widespread adoption of smart device technologies, particularly in Australia.

However, there are a number of things that vendors and service providers can do to kickstart the industry.

“In many cases, the main issue is the perception of the threat and not the threat itself,” he said.

“Vendors and service providers need to do what they can to educate the market and earn their trust.

“They must convey that they are being responsible with users’ personal data and putting the correct measures in place to protect it.”