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  • Writer's pictureRobert Lutz

The Landscape of IoT Data Protection: Part I

Cyber Security shield
Cyber Security

When the White House released its U.S. Cyber Trust Mark plans in July of this year, it signaled official recognition of the need to protect IoT consumers’ data more securely. While the Cyber Trust Mark primarily addresses security and privacy at the IoT device level, it represents a significant step toward establishing robust data protection standards.

As Forbes explained in a recent article: “IoT devices, if not properly secured, can become entry points for cyberattacks, leading to data breaches, privacy violations, and even compromise of critical infrastructure. The U.S. government's launch of the Cyber Trust Mark recognizes these risks and signifies a pivotal step in addressing IoT security concerns directly.”

And TechCrunch said: “The mark is a quality seal to help Americans more easily and securely select” IoT products. “Consumers are far more likely to seek out and commit to IoT devices that have a seal like the U.S. Cyber Trust Mark.... for the first time, device makers will begin to see cybersecurity as an investment rather than an expense.”

At Ayla Networks, we are actively involved with IoT data privacy and security. This blog post is the first installment of a two-part series exploring the landscape of IoT data protection. In Part II, we’ll delve more specifically into Ayla’s approaches and offerings in this area.

The Geopolitics of IoT Data

Does it matter where consumers’ IoT data is stored and who owns it? The short answer is yes. The IoT’s connectivity involves extensive data communication at the network level, making it vital to know where, and by whom, IoT consumer data is stored.

Smart home devices operating on IoT platforms governed by European or U.S. regulations operate with the legal protections afforded by these jurisdictions. The situation is less clear-cut for the rest of the world, however, presenting a more complex and uncertain landscape.

Take, for example, IoT devices developed and hosted by companies based in the People’s Republic of China or Russia. These devices are subject to the laws and regulations of their respective countries. And those laws might lead to consumers receiving less privacy than expected.

Distinguishing Between Device and IoT Platform Data

The Cyber Trust Mark pertains exclusively to IoT devices, not the platforms on which they operate. Stacey Higginbotham wrote in a recent blog post about the Cyber Trust Mark: “The label aims to help consumers judge whether or not a product meets certain cybersecurity standards when choosing between products at a store or online.”

Regardless of where the devices are manufactured, consumers can feel more comfortable about their chosen products’ data security and privacy if they carry the Cyber Trust Mark.

At the IoT platform level, it’s up to device manufacturers to choose wisely on behalf of their customers. When developing their connected products and selecting their IoT platforms, device manufacturers must make sure their products are not susceptible to unreliable data privacy practices.

In Part II of this blog post, we will further explore why the Ayla IoT platform, based in the United States, stands out as a trustworthy choice for smart home solution providers from around the world.


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