Internet of Things brought a lot of new and very useful stuff in
our daily lives, but with the ever-growing number of devices, will
our IT infrastructure at one point become unmanageable?
Temperature sensors, pressure sensors, light sensors, motion
sensors, pressure sensors, air flow sensors, fluid flow sensors,
contact sensors, light switches, electrical outlets, telemetry,
Raspberry Pi devices, etc. etc. etc. If there is one thing we can
be sure of, it's that the Internet of Things is going to bring
a lot of, well, things. And, based on latest information, one of
the largest DDoS attacks so far, performed on a blog of a security researcher Brian Krebs, was
executed by using many unprotected IoT devices.
The question for many is whether or not all of these devices
coming with the Internet of Things will grow beyond the capability
of IT departments to manage them all. The answer, which is so often
the answer for all questions surrounding technology, is "it
depends." Just what exactly it will depend upon is up for
debate, but there are a few things IT teams should start thinking
about today if they want to stay ahead of the curve on all things
Who will lead?
IoT will become pervasive technology. It's in your
users' homes already, with home automation, Amazon's Echo,
Nest thermostats, security systems, appliances, and more. As users
become accustomed to the sort of information and automation they
can set up for themselves at home, they will start to look for
similar technologies to solve challenges at work. Whether or not
your IT missed the boat on BYOD, there's one thing you should
learn from it – you need to get ahead of IoT now, and I
don't mean by banning it. You need to embrace it, and take a
leading role in how it can help to enable your business, solve
problems, and empower your users. Take the lead now, before you
lose it by holding back.
Who will follow?
Everyone. By taking a lead role and ensuring all lines of
business understand that the IoT belongs within IT, you can help to
prevent stealth IT projects, and ensure that competing or
incompatible devices don't enter your environment. Don't
just decide that IT will lead IoT, make sure that you communicate
that to the entire organization. Let them know that they must
submit requests or pitch ideas to IT rather than taking on
something themselves. You need to be approachable, and they need to
respect corporate standards, including security standards, and
abide by the rules.
Who will get the heck out of the way?
Anyone who is not on board, obviously. In all seriousness, IoT
is the next game changer in information technology, and will be
ubiquitous soon. Retail will use it to track shoppers and
inventory. Manufacturing will use it to automate assembly lines.
Every facility manager everywhere will use it for environmental
controls and physical security. If you think of something you could
use to improve your job while you're reading this post, you are
already in a position to use IoT now, or in the very future.
What standards and policies will you need?
This is more of an open ended question for you to consider,
rather than any advice. You need to ensure that security is front
of mind in any purchase, deployment, or implementation. Work within
management tool standards to ensure you can administer all the
things in your IoT from one console rather than many. And you need
to carefully pick manufacturer and version standards to ensure that
devices are plug and play and easily replaced when failures occur.
Don't overlook the need for administrative and other policies
to ensure a secure deployment, as these will need to evolve with
What about the fog rolling in?
Fog computing is the IoT's answer to cloud computing, with
the fog providing an interface for data and management. If
you'd like to read more about "the fog" and what it
means to IoT, take a look at http://techgenix.com/fog-computing/
If you ignore IoT, pretend it doesn't exist, and think it
won't come into your environment, or just want to stall because
you're not ready, then yes, IoT will quickly become something
unmanageable. If you get in front of it now, embrace it, and really
dive in to see how the technologies can help your business, then
you will find it to be easy to manage, and could win a small, but
important bonus in your manager's eyes and the view management
has on the IT department.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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