internet of things

Boosting IoT focus on campus

An Internet of Things lab at Case Western Reserve will focus on analytics and cybersecurity

CWRU alumnus and former Microsoft COO Bob Herbold made a $1.5 million pledge for graduate student scholarships as a key element within the new institute.

“Data is essential, but it’s part of a much larger equation,” said Herbold, who earned his master’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in computer science at CWRU.” Just as important is knowing what information to collect, how best to collect it, and how to keep it safe. This new institute draws on Case Western Reserve’s unique strengths to provide leadership in the rapidly evolving realm of the Internet of Things.”

With ISSACS, the Case School of Engineering will be able to blend its broad engineering strengths in with specific disciplinary expertise. Consider, for example, a device that measures heart function and transmits the information back to a hospital for review.

Faculty from electrical and computer engineering, computer science and biomedical engineering all could play integral roles in its development; so too could professors involved in cardiology, internal medicine and nutrition—as well as scholars in health policy, economics and bioethics.

CWRU is one of four founding members of the Northeast Ohio CyberConsortium, an organization launched last fall to increase collaboration among private, public and nonprofit organizations in identifying and neutralizing online threats. Supported by a National Science Foundation grant, faculty at the engineering school and Cleveland State University have collaborated on the development of a curriculum that teaches undergraduates the fundamentals of hardware and software security. Students participate in several experiments to gain firsthand knowledge about security threats and solutions. In the final project, student teams try to infiltrate the hardware and software of other team projects to learn how to protect systems more effectively.

ISSACS will build on this work to identify additional ways that higher education can work with regional partners to strengthen the security of the devices and networks that compromise the Internet of Things.

Security experts agree that establishing confidence in the safety of information is critical to realizing the positive predictions about the benefits of the IoT. But establishing that confidence is going to be expensive. Leading technology research and advisory firm Gartner forecasts that, by 2020, more than half of all business processes and systems will involve the Internet of Things. At the same time, Gartner reports, security for IoT will be about 20 percent of organizations’ total security costs—as compared to 1 percent in 2015.

Laura Ascione

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