The Internet of Things is coming, and it’s certain to have a major impact in nearly all industries.
However, businesses have to ensure they’re ready for demands this new wave of connected devices brings, and some of its uses will require hardware, software, and networking upgrades. Here are a few tips for ensuring your business is ready for IoT.
The sheer volume of all these devices will have heavy networking demands, and many devices will require both excellent reliability and ample throughput. Many networks that are appropriate for typical office and enterprise use simply lack the bandwidth the IoT will require. Before purchasing new hardware, determine how much networking connectivity is required. Consider testing individual devices and measure their bandwidth use before scaling up.
Historically, IT decisions were made much like other investments: Equipment should handle specific and unchanging tasks for a certain amount of time. With the IoT and other technologies, companies need to place a greater emphasis on flexibility. Much of the appeal of IoT and Big Data is finding small signals within the noise and reacting accordingly. With flexible installations, it’s easier to switch operations to what the analysis recommends. Ensure your hardware can handle changing demands, especially those you don’t anticipate.
A key step for flexible operations is ensuring you can test new ideas rapidly and effectively. Through virtual networks and other interfaces, businesses are better able to try out new concepts in a safe environment, ensuring other operations are unaffected. Virtual infrastructure also lets you bring IoT devices and other infrastructure online rapidly, letting you scale up your devices at a faster pace. Furthermore, sequestering IoT devices to their own part of the network can simplify operations in the long run by making problems easier to identify.
The Right Security Practices
The importance of security has become more apparent in recent years as major hacks have caused perhaps irreparable harm to several companies. It’s wise to reexamine a company’s security practices at any time, but the adoption of IoT practices makes ironclad security even more important. Every network-connected device presents a possible attack vector, and network-level security, along with proper permission management, helps mitigate the harm done by small attacks. Consider undergoing a security audit specifically to manage IoT devices you plan on adding to your network.
Storage is relatively cheap, and the low cost of storage is helping spur the adoption of the IoT. However, it’s also important to consider how much additional space your hardware is going to use and preparing for the influx of data you’ll need to collect and analyze. In most cases, you’ll only want to collect IoT-derived data for a relatively short period of time, but some data will need to be stored permanently. Take an inventory of your storage capabilities, and find out how much space you’ll likely need in the long term.
Some IoT devices are cheap, and IoT is generally easier to scale than previous technologies. Because of this, it’s easy for networks to spiral out of control with basic monitoring tools. Spend time researching programs that make your network easier to manage, and consider where these programs will run. If possible, considering edge computing products as well, as most experts believe they’ll be critical when it comes to making sense of growing networks.
Businesses of all sizes should be excited about the Internet of Things. Along with the opportunities it provides, however, will come a host of additional requirements. Before investing in IoT technology, give your current infrastructure a complete overview. A bit of prep work can go a long way toward ensuring your new equipment operations optimally from day one.