IoT Managed Security Services to Top $11 Billion in 2021

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By Jeff Bertolucci, on

Industrial applications will be a primary focus for managed security services providers (MSSPs) focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT), according to market forecaster ABI Research, which predicts that market revenues for MSSPs will surge fivefold and exceed $11 billion in 2021.

The new ABI Research study shows that innovation in industrial applications — including connected (and autonomous) automobiles, sensor-laden cities and smart utilities — will be the main targets of IoT MSSPs in the coming years. This is a significant change from today’s industrial IoT market, where OEM and aftermarket telematics, fleet management and video surveillance are the main drivers of IoT MSSP service revenues.

Security’s Vital Role

The critical need for industrial IoT security, a growing concern among global enterprises, provides an excellent business opportunity for MSSPs, according to multiple analysts. By 2021, the installed base of IoT products will soar to 46 billion units, predicts Juniper Research.

Rapid IoT expansion is bringing a sharper industry-wide focus on the threat of cyberattacks. Surprisingly, IoT security is often an afterthought, because it’s considered very difficult to do effectively at the massive scale required for IoT devices, according to the Online Trust Alliance.

“Security adoption will thrive across the industrial segment as manufacturers seek to enable new levels of efficiencies, while ensuring that they are not only providing continuous operation but also supporting applications critical to health, safety and life,” said Phil Sealy, senior analyst at ABI Research, in a statement.

The ability to provide upgrade opportunities for secure over-the-air applications will also provide a “new and significant” revenue opportunity for IoT MSSPs, added Sealy.

A Group Effort Needed

Given the vast complexity of IoT, one single technology will not resolve every security challenge, ABI Research notes. Rather, the harsh reality is that true end-to-end IoT security is practically impossible for one vendor to accomplish. As a result, there’s a notable rise in the number of vendors offering managed security services to find and fix IoT security gaps.

And that’s good news for “as-a-service” security providers. These vendors, building upon their expertise gained in non-IoT markets, are well-positioned to deliver security services for new IoT use cases.

“Security will, in the future, form part of the purchase choice, directly driven by improved security education and a broader demand to protect digital assets in the same sense as users protect their physical assets today,” noted Sealy. “For this reason, security service providers, although largely invisible today, may become the household names of tomorrow as IoT security moves from a requirement to a product differentiator.”

The need for better IoT security, both in the consumer and industrial space, was driven home in October 2016 when Internet users in the eastern states in the U.S. had difficulty connecting to many popular services, including Amazon, Netflix, Twitter and GitHub. The problem was traced to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack carried out in part by a botnet army of hijacked IoT devices, including smart refrigerators, thermostats and toasters infected with malicious code.

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

Freelance Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.