‘Internet of Things’ increases security concerns among Indians

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 08, 2013

connected device

With the proliferation of inter-connected devices or “Internet of Things,” Indian consumers seem conflicted about the trade-offs among privacy, security and convenience factors. ISACA’s 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer survey shows that 88% of Indians are concerned that their information will be stolen online.

However, despite the concerns, 50% reuse the same two to three passwords across multiple online accounts. More than one-third (35%) of Indians have used a family member’s name as a password and 31% have used a significant date such as a wedding, anniversary or birthday—all of which can be guessed easily and may create security issues as consumers begin using an increasing number of Internet-connected devices.

The findings from the Indian consumer survey reveal some gaps between fears and actions as Indians try to manage privacy and security in an increasingly connected and sensored world. For example, while nearly 9 in 10 (88%) say they are concerned about their information being stolen and only 8% say app makers are the source they trust most with their data, 61% continue to share important personal information online.

However, Indians do take more precautions with their data than consumers in the other countries surveyed. Most (65%) Indians always or sometimes read privacy policies when downloading apps, and 72% read policies when registering on websites. In comparison, 50% of US consumers read privacy policies when downloading apps. Additionally, 85% of Indian consumers have checked the privacy settings on their social media profiles in the past six months, compared to 75% of US respondents.

In India, 75% of consumers believe they have control over who has access to their information, compared to 62% in the US, and 72% believe they have control over how websites use their information, compared to 50% in the US.

While Indian consumers note that the biggest benefits of the Internet of Things include time savings (32%) and constant connectivity (27%), they also have some significant concerns. Their biggest concern regarding Internet-connected devices is that someone will hack into their connected device (27%), followed by not knowing how their information will be used (19%).

IT professionals in Indian enterprises appear to be positive about the Internet of Things trend. Fewer than one-quarter of respondents (24%) say that the risk outweighs the benefit for enterprises and nearly the same percentage says the same for consumers (25%). Seventy percent of enterprises in India have plans to capitalize on the Internet of Things. In fact, 43% say they have already benefited from it through greater accessibility to information. However, there are some governance issues to consider. Nearly a third of the IT professionals surveyed in India (31%) say that increased security threats and data privacy (32%) are the biggest governance issue raised by the Internet of Things.

Additionally, 43% of IT professionals based in India say that individuals’ top concern regarding the Internet of Things should be that they don’t know who has access to their information collected by these devices. However, according to the consumer study, only 19% of consumers reported that as their biggest concern.

Commenting on the survey findings, Sunder Krishnan, EVP and Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Reliance Life Insurance Company Ltd (RLICL) and Chairman of the ISACA India Task Force, said, “The IT Risk/Reward survey reveals that with the rise of emerging technologies, enterprises today are embracing Internet-connected devices to deliver business benefits, but they need to have strong governance structures and processes in place, and keep consumers’ concerns at the forefront of their decisions.”

The IT Risk/Reward Barometer examines the risks and rewards of key trends, including the Internet of Things, Big Data and BYOD (bring your own device). The findings are based on a survey of 2,013 ISACA members from around the world, including 131 in India; and a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in four countries, including 1,001 in India, which shows their attitudes and behaviors related to current technology trends.