What is “The Internet of Things” and Why Should You Care?

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It’s not just your phone and your watch that are smart anymore. These days, many more devices than just your computer are connected to the Internet.

As we know, scads of other devices, software and many other tools are now connected and exchanging data – creating this Internet of Things. This exchange includes important things like downloads and status updates needed to make our devices more effective and useful than ever.

We once may have wondered why small business owners needed to care about all of this. After all, just a few short years ago it seemed a true Internet of  Things was still far off.

It seemed equally unlikely that the issue would impact us or our businesses positively or negatively any time soon.

But now, it seems all that has changed.

Online security company AVG recently commissioned a survey of  more than 2000 IT decision makers in small to medium sized companies from solopreneurs to businesses with 500 employees. Businesses surveyed were in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

What they found was that most (82 percent) now felt the Internet of Things would definitely lead to new opportunities in their companies.

For small businesses of twenty or less, including solopreneurs, such “decision makers” often include the owner or someone else on staff doing double duty but not necessarily a full-time IT professional.

When asked how the Internet of Things might improve their businesses, respondents’ answers varied and included things like:

  • Increased or faster access to data.
  • Better productivity.
  • More customer satisfaction.
  • More profitability.

But 54 percent of those surveyed worried the proliferation of smart devices would expose them and their businesses to greater online security risks too. The fear may be justified.

Now even appliances can be used to hack your business. A recent scare with the much reported Heartbleed bug left devices and software applications of all kinds vulnerable.

So while the Internet of Things provides clear benefits for small businesses, there are also dangers. It’s important for small businesses to remember both when adapting the new technologies for their needs.

Smart Appliances Photo via Shutterstock

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