With internet-enabled devices and cloud-based computing becoming a more integral part of the business and consumer landscape, the daily collection and transmission of large amounts of personal data has become increasingly commonplace. Online storage of personal data has raised concerns over the ability of these systems to safeguard user privacy, leading some consumers to seek extra protection from the misuse or unintended disclosure of sensitive information.
According to the Pew Research Center, 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints and 55% have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government. To the more tech-savvy, this takes the form of ad blocking plugins, private search engines, and virtual private networks (VPN). According to research by Global Web Index, 27% of adult online users have used a VPN to access the internet, with 60% of those users citing concern about the internet eroding their personal privacy.
In response to these concerns, companies are investigating ways to develop and implement data anonymization processes to protect users and sanitize transmitted data.
Adding Another Layer to Data Encryption: Data Anonymity
Many online services, such as IoT solutions that are managed and optimized using cloud-based computing networks, rely on the transmission and storage of data in order to function. As a result, cloud companies are careful to make sure data is safe from unintended disclosure. Security measures currently take the form of data encryption techniques to disguise personal information, as well as third-party security tools to add an extra layer that will not be compromised if the company is hacked. To enhance these security measures, cloud companies now are exploring data anonymization as an additional avenue to better privacy protection.
In an earlier report, the United States Department of Justice defined data anonymization as “technology that converts clear text data into a nonhuman readable and irreversible form, including but not limited to pre-image resistant hashes (e.g., one-way hashes) and encryption techniques in which the decryption key has been discarded.” Using data anonymization techniques, companies can change a data set to remove or obscure information that associates it with the user that generated it, while still allowing the data to be analyzed and used by the appropriate users and devices. Whereas data encryption is an important tool in the fight to create secure cloud ecosystems, it still can be linked back to the individual identities of people, objects, or organizations if someone obtains the decryption key. With anonymization, the data is transformed from its original state so that it can no longer be linked back, yet still maintain its usefulness in managing an IoT platform and collecting analytics.
According to Forrester, the cloud security market is estimated to grow from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $3.5 billion by 2021. A 2012 white paper published by Intel states that data anonymization will allow for simpler demilitarized zone and security provisioning. For IoT applications, data anonymity will enhance a company’s ability to manage assets, measure analytics, facilitate machine learning, and respond to challenges in real time while protecting both company and employee privacy. When combined with current generation data encryption, anonymization will create a safer and more secure cloud ecosystem, enabling more widespread and secure cloud computing.
How Aeris Keeps You Connected
Aeris believes that IoT needs security at the design stage, not as an afterthought, which is why we have developed the tools and expertise to mitigate risks with the responsible development of IoT applications. With our cloud-based AerPort portal, part of the Aeris Connectivity Platform (ACP), we make it easier than ever for companies to securely manage and optimize their IoT/M2M deployments. ACP analytics provide visibility, insight, alerts, and actionable information about device usage, performance, and costs. ACP’s insights enable the proactive identification of usage and billing issues, differential access to connectivity data, remote diagnosis and support, and a single dashboard for in-depth visibility, as well as a significant reduction in operational complexities.
To learn more about how our cloud-based platform helps you safely and securely manage your IoT deployment, contact Aeris today.