Malta: Will Iot Become Too Much For IT?

Last Updated: 27 September 2016

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 IoT.

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 the technology.

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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