Michele Pelino, Principal Analyst and Paddy Harrington, Senior Analyst


Once considered a technology industry buzzword, the internet of things (IoT) has made the transition to being a bona fide business technology. And while the number of use cases continues to grow, so do the risks. In this episode, Principal Analyst Michele Pelino and Senior Analyst Paddy Harrington team up to discuss new business applications for IoT and the associated risks.

The episode starts with Pelino grounding the conversation with Forrester’s definition of the internet of things, since there isn’t a standard definition/understanding of what is included in the term. “At Forrester, we define internet-of-things solutions as those things that are enabling software control of the physical world,” she says. That could be sensors, RFID tags, or GPS elements that are used to capture data and connect into many types of networks. Pelino also stipulates that IoT solutions are an example of edge computing solutions, but the terms are not synonymous by any means.

From there, the discussion turns to the main uses cases for IoT. Pelino lists out three that firms should consider:

Designing IoT products where OEM manufactures have to incorporate IoT connectivity into their products and equipment.

Operational processes where organizations incorporate IoT solutions into day-to-day operations such as facilities or supply chain management uses.

Using insights captured by IoT devices to optimize processes in areas like traffic optimization or personalized shopper recommendations.


Pelino says Forrester data shows that IoT is being deployed in nearly every industry, but manufacturing, energy, logistics, facilities, and other asset-intensive industries are seeing the most benefit from the technology.

The conversation then turns to the risks associated with IoT deployments. Harrington, who specializes in evaluating security risks with IoT, says one of the biggest challenges is IT departments simply identifying and locating the devices on their network to secure. As an example, he says that in a healthcare setting, some devices come on- and offline daily, so keeping track of them can be very complicated.

In addition, many of the devices don’t have security capabilities built in like a laptop does, which makes them even more vulnerable to attack. Harrington explains that Forrester surveys show IoT devices as usually among the top targets for external attacks and reviews some of the recent attacks that have made headlines.

Later in the episode, Harrington discusses some of the tools and actions security leaders can take to build more robust security plans for IoT devices and networks. And be sure to stick around to hear both Pelino and Harrington provide their predictions on what the IoT environment will look like five years in the future.