Businesses can’t escape the internet of things, NJBIA says

Your car, your watch, and even your refrigerator are, or will be, talking with one another in the world of the internet of things where devices are all connected.

“The key point here is how interconnected everything is getting now,” said Rashaad Bajwa of Domain Computer Services. “Whether it be your home, your office, your car, it’s all connected. But the one piece that a lot of people forget about is it all now has to be secured.”

At a symposium in Newark, small businesses were told that cybersecurity is everyone’s job as information has moved from local desktops to the cloud. And while we hear about breaches from the big guys — Yahoo, credit agencies, and retailers — criminals are casing all businesses looking for a way in.

“What these businesses have to understand is the internet of things, this is real. If you’re a small business and you’re not embracing change and looking at things like block chain and cybersecurity and think that you’re immune to all of this, you’re not,” said Michael Luzio from The LVE Group.

“We know that this is going to change things like the invention of the car, like the invention of the airplane. Everything in society and in business is going to be different,” said Felician University Assistant Professor of computer science, Carol Manigault.

And the threat isn’t only from the outside. Like bank robberies of the old, sometimes the hacking is an inside job. Michael Penders is a former prosecutor who now helps companies set up defenses.

“That’s really where the most risk is now, with the insiders, people who have access, if they can compromise someone who does have authorized access and gain access that way,” Penders said.

Often when small businesses look for cybersecurity and IT help they turn to companies located overseas. Part of the goal of the conference is to say that’s not needed. There are many firms in New Jersey that can do the work for them. This conference was organized by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

“One of the things we work hard at is to connect our members. Most often they don’t have the money to market themselves and we work to connect them through the platforms that we have to make that connection,” said Betty Boros from the NJBIA.

Of course, no cybersecurity discussion takes place without a mention of block chain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

“It effects every industry and every business, and sometimes it’s a facilitator to make things better and sometimes it’s a disrupter to change the ways things are done,” said George Nikolaou from the New Jersey Innovation Institute.

So next time you visit the fridge for a late night snack, remember it may know what you’re eating and then rat you out to your Fitbit.