By John Bidgood, CTO Systal
The Internet of Things (IoT) has truly arrived. Organisations in multiple sectors are deploying ecosystems of connected sensors and devices, gathering previously untapped data from across their environments and using it to inform tangible decisions.
From organisations using the IoT to dynamically adjust energy facilities such as heating and lighting, to those in manufacturing and industrial sectors using it to remove process bottlenecks and take a more proactive approach to hardware maintenance, the IoT has many corporate applications.
But how can you make it work for your organisation, no matter what sector you operate in?
In our previous blog, we examined what the IoT actually is and why multiple different organisations are deploying it: to capture previously untapped data, and to automate cumbersome or complex processes. Once you have understood where your own IoT goals fit within those potential benefits, the physical mechanics of getting started with the IoT are relatively simple. You deploy the connected sensors or devices needed to collect that information or implement those automated instructions, and you deploy an analytics engine or platform which can consolidate and analyse the data collected.
However, to do this as effectively as possible – and to do it without introducing additional costs or security risks to your organisation – you need to understand the multiple different levels of ‘conversation’ or data exchange that happen within the IoT. Systal’s approach to IoT transitions and management foregrounds these different layers. Here are the four areas we think you need to consider:
Fundamentally, the IoT increases both the scale and complexity of enterprise networks. Thousands, millions or even billions of new connections are created. This network level of communications needs to be reliable and scalable. When problems occur, the network needs to be deterministic.
By introducing both new endpoint devices and new pathways of data transmission, the IoT massively increases the cybersecurity liability of any organisation. Various elements need to be considered, including verification for each individual connected ‘thing’, encryption of data in transit and at rest, and protection for each endpoint also. When managing the security requirements, events need to be monitored, logged and correlated across multiple platforms, applications and devices. Businesses should optimise the crucial element of connectivity of the sensors, and also optimise the management of data flows balanced with the security constraints of including assets that the IT department will not always have complete control over.
Many organisations imagine that a move to an Internet of Things connected network will require an entirely new network infrastructure, but this is not the case. Rather, the IoT can be seen as an evolution of the existing architecture – but this demands a process of consolidation and rationalisation first, followed by a seamless end to end management approach, which includes integration of services such as device/platform management, cloud and internet services providers.
As with any technology investment, it is important to consider not just how the IoT will work for you tomorrow, but how it will operate in the months and years ahead. This is in part about selecting the right hardware and software partners to supply the various IoT services with an interoperable and robust approach. It is also about centralising your overall organisational goals into your IoT strategy.
With Systal’s strategic approach we can help you outline your organisational goals and transition to a full Internet of Things environment, with the appropriate integration of services, in a cost effective and most importantly secure manner. Contact us today if you have any questions.