The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing faster than you can imagine. It is projected that there will be 24 billion IoT devices by 2020. IoT devices are also known as “connected devices” and “smart devices”. Some examples of IoT devices that you already use are smart phones, smart watches, printers, portable speakers, thermostats, cars, and vending machines. The Internet of Things refers to the network of physical objects that have an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other internet-enabled devices and systems.
As the IoT evolves, there will be smarter ways to use them for your organization. For nonprofits especially, the need to find new ways to get to know your donors and beneficiaries are important to solve your mission. This can range from obtaining data to see the frequency and amount people donate, to using the IoT to show people how important your cause is. Imagine if you saw that the air quality for the day was poor on your weather app and there was a button that let you donate to a climate change awareness organization.
However, the benefits of increasing productivity and increased data collection come with a cost. Security is the largest concern and it will be important to engage in best practices for data security. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security published best practices to help businesses work through key IoT security issues:
- When choosing hardware or software for your organization, make sure it includes the latest operating system and security features. Be diligent about patching, security updates, and vulnerability management strategies. Cyber crime is becoming more and more common, and it is important to have a plan in place if something was to ever occur.
- Consider conducting a risk assessment that identifies whether vulnerabilities exist in software and hardware components. Performing a strategic network assessment can be crucial to identifying these risks.
- Enforce policies and procedures among all employees for use of personal computers and smartphones that are used for work. Inform employees of key email security tips to keep everyone’s data safe.
There will be no limit to the usefulness of the IoT going forward. It will be especially important to stay informed and practice data security measures. We’d like to know if and how the IoT of things has helped you so far.