It's no secret that security technology has been continually evolving since the dawn of the digital age. However, what many IT administrators fail to realize is that some of the best security solutions come from some unlikely sources, thanks to the age old axiom of "necessity is the mother of invention."
The security demands of the burgeoning market of internet-connected devices, often referred to as the the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices, which can include everything from refrigerators to thermostats to fire alarm systems, which all have one thing in common: They can be accessed, controlled and managed via the internet.
Naturally, the ability to access an office (or household) full of devices from anywhere and at any time brings security concerns to mind, and the industry behind IoT devices has responded to those concerns less enthusiastically than the market demands. A situation that has to led to some entrepreneurs to tackle the potential security threats that IoT can bring to businesses, families and others.
Kickstarter campaign to help with IoT security
The recently founded start-up ITUS Networks has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring an automated security appliance called iGuardian to internet-connected homes and businesses. The company founders are taking a unique approach to the security market by using the Kickstarter ideology and are actively seeking contributions to launch the device. As of August 25, the company had collected $92,171 of a $125,000 goal with 18 days left before the campaign ends on September 12.
Company co-founder Jock Breitwieser elaborated on why there is is an immediate need for such a device. Brietwieser said, "Consumer electronics are designed to be mass produced as cheaply as possible and security is not this industry's core competency. As the number of devices in businesses and homes continues to grow, so does attack surface."
Brierwieser added, "Most cyberattacks could be prevented by using automated technologies, which are sorely lacking in the home and small office environments. Those technologies must also be easy to use, affordable, and comprehensive."
Truth be told, starting up an IT security vendor can be an expensive and risky proposition, especially when the security technology must be low cost, easy to use and be mass marketed to be successful and there-in lies the real challenge - bootstrapping an idea into a reality.
ITUS Networks other co-founder, Daniel Ayoub, saw those challenges as not insurmountable and, with Breitwieser, decided to challenge the status quo and show that home network security doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Ayoub said, "In order to produce a product that is affordable to the widest possible audience, we need to produce specific volumes in order to drive down the per-unit cost. Kickstarter provided us a way to 'pre-sell' the product in order to obtain the volume needed to drive down our per-unit cost."
Ayoub said, "We view Kickstarter as a unique go-to-market vehicle which enables us to work with the hobbyist and hacker community while simultaneously improving product quality and gauging market interest."
Target is home networking market
With the initial focus on the hobbyist and hacker communities, the company aims to engage with the vast home networking market, which is adopting IoT and other IT devices at an accelerated pace. However, that does not make the technology any less appealing to businesses supporting branch offices or SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) environments.
Ayoub said, "There's nothing available today to protect families from cyber threats online. The bad guys keep getting better at what they do every day but the security built into consumer grade products has by-and-large remained the same for years. The more devices we connect to our homes, the more opportunities we provide the bad guys to get in. That does not appear to be changing and there is nothing available today to mitigate this growing risk."
Breitwieser said "The iGuardian is the only network security device on the market today that has been designed with home users in mind. We're taking the same type of technology typically found in enterprise grade security equipment and making it easy and affordable enough for everyone."
However, success is not guaranteed and using Kickstarter to fund a new security product remains a challenge. Only time will tell if the company is on to something and will make an impact on the security market. Nevertheless, ITUS Networks is demonstrating that the next big thing in security may come from an unlikely source and IT managers should investigate alternatives when seeking out new security solutions.
Frank J. Ohlhorst is an award-winning technology journalist, author, professional speaker and IT business consultant. He has worked in editorial at CRN, eWeek and Channel Insider, and is the author of Big Data Analytics. His certifications include MCNE, MCSE, A+, N+, L+, and Security+.