The Internet of Things

What Is It and Why Should Internal Audit Care?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is evolving rapidly, with a wide array of “smart” systems, mobile apps, personal communication devices and other platforms already networked together. Research firm IDC projects that there will be 30 billion connected things by 2020. And to paraphrase Forbes in defining the IoT, if something can be connected to the internet, it’s only a matter of time before it will be.

In an increasingly digital world, internal auditors need to be keen observers of all technological change that could potentially impact the business and its risk profile — a conclusion drawn from Protiviti’s latest round of interviews for our most recent edition of Internal Auditing Around the World. The IoT is exactly that type of disruptive change. Internal auditors therefore must be prepared to quickly identify the signs of IoT change and any related implications to the business model or strategic objectives of the organization.

As the IoT expands and the world becomes more interconnected — and devices in the IoT collect more and richer data from objects, machines and people — organizations across industries will face new opportunities and risks. Privacy issues, hacking and other cybercrime, and the potential for catastrophic business failure due to heavy reliance on the internet are examples of risks that internal auditors and their organizations will need to monitor closely in the IoT landscape.

This white paper discusses the emerging IoT and provides an overview of IoT opportunities and risks for businesses, including how the IoT potentially could help organizations mitigate risk. More importantly, it presents a number of questions that internal auditors should seek to answer in collaboration with management and boards of directors so that the business is well-positioned to take advantage of IoT technologies and capabilities and operate in a future “Internet of Everything” world.

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