A new, long-term collaboration between KC-based Pepper IoT and an international leader in digital security has an opportunity to aggressively boost consumer confidence in the rapidly expanding — and potentially hostile — Internet of Things, said Scott Ford.
“It is terrifying to see millions of vulnerable connected devices being distributed to U.S. consumers who have no idea how their personal data is being used — and how easy it is for hackers to access their home Wi-Fi networks through these devices,” said Ford, CEO at Pepper, explaining the need for his company’s first-of-its-kind partnership with Kudelski Group. “For many reasons, IoT data and communications must be managed in the country of device purchase – and devices must be designed to protect against cyber security breach.”
Pepper’s robust IoT platform provides turnkey capabilities that enable large enterprises to design, launch, manage and monetize large-scale IoT services. Adding the capabilities of Switzerland-based Kudelski’s comprehensive set of services and solutions will help make IoT security simple, scalable and sustainable, the companies said in a press release.
“In 2020, the total number of IoT devices installed across the world will rise to 20.4 billion, according to analyst firm Gartner,” the release read. “This explosive growth in connected devices creates an exponentially larger attack surface every year. Hackers and nation-states are increasingly leveraging IoT vulnerabilities to carry out DDoS attacks, steal consumer data and invade the privacy of our homes and offices.”
Many vulnerabilities result from widespread and blatant disregard for reasonable protections that should be in place to protect millions of U.S. consumers, Ford added.
“There is no U.S. regulation governing either data privacy or security with respect to consumer connected devices and services,” he added, noting, “China-based and owned platforms control IoT communications in millions of U.S. households today.”
Much of U.S. policy and oversight has been directed toward the industrial and enterprise portion of the IoT market — even as the demand, production, and mass market sales of IoT devices have increased at a breakneck pace, Ford said.
“Consumer IoT is newer but represents massive growth in the number of connected devices,” he said. “If not addressed immediately, many of these devices can be easily breached and accessed by hostile foreign governments and/or other nefarious organizations.”
Consumers have a right to, and an expectation of, privacy regarding the devices in their homes that they interact with on a daily basis, said Jean-Michel Puiatti, senior vice president of IoT security at Kudelski. And retailers and service providers have a duty to ensure the devices they are selling have proper privacy and security safeguards, he added.
“By combining Pepper IoT’s powerful IoT operating system and service delivery platform with Kudelski’s expertise in device and data protection, we are working to secure IoT devices from the moment they’re manufactured through their long-term use in consumers’ homes,” Puiatti said.
Pepper topped $15 million in investments in August — adding to its ownership structure through a sizeable deal led by GXPI, the investment arm of Evergy. The move added to the swelling list of Pepper’s investors since its founding in 2014 that already included OpenAir Equity Partners, Leawood Ventures, the KCRise Fund, Royal Street Ventures, and Comporium Communications.
Kudelski, which also maintains U.S. headquarters in Phoenix, has more than 30 years of experience designing software and hardware-based security solutions with deep cybersecurity advisory and testing expertise and managed security services.