BT’s Hubertus von Roenne: Security in IoT often comes too late

7 Dec 2016

Hubertus von Roenne, VP of global industry practices, BT Global Services. Image: Luke Maxwell

BT’s VP of global industry practices, Hubertus von Roenne, believes that companies are often reacting to IoT security challenges after the fact, and this is a fundamental problem.

While it might seem like a given that security in IoT is crucial following examples like the Mirai botnet attack, many companies are lagging behind to the point that they are often only reacting when it is too late.

This opinion is shared by Hubertus von Roenne, BT Global Services VP of global industry practices, who was speaking with at the recent IoT World Europe event in Dublin.

BT reports that its cybersecurity platform pools resources from a practice of over 2,500 security experts around the world.

“If you have an IoT project, start with security first from the very beginning. If you do it halfway, then it’s already too late,” said von Roenne.

That isn’t to say that he sees a grim future for IoT, rather he believes a vast connected network will bring as many benefits as some of the greatest inventions and revolutions in history.

“Some people talk about a fourth industrial revolution, I actually think the change is even broader,” he said.

Future chief AI officer

In fact, von Roenne even went so far as to say that IoT’s widespread adoption will be as significant as when humankind discovered how to make fire, invented the alphabet and the printing press at the same time.

This will inevitably leave quite a lot of power with company CIOs, a role that von Roenne believes will undergo significant change in the years to come.

Speaking on the previous two years, he said that he has seen the role of CIO morph into a joint CIO/CDO (chief data officer) role, and is now seeing another acronym added on to become CIO/CDO/CSO (chief security officer).

As if this wasn’t a daunting task for any one person to take on, von Roenne predicted that, in two years’ time, we will be adding yet another acronym in the form of a chief artificial intelligence officer (CAIO).

Concluding his thoughts, he dusted off his crystal ball to predict what the next five years of IoT development will bring, particularly with regard to trying to reverse the effects of climate change.

“I think we will see a shift towards smart mobility, very much driven by IoT, that will ultimately reduce traffic and the cars on the road, hence less manufacturing emissions,” von Roenne said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic