The Internet of Things has been the center of numerous discussions involving tech industry experts, analysts, CIOs and more. While there is a substantial amount of excitement surrounding the possibilities associated with the IoT, there has also been a substantial amount of concern from IT techs and CIOs when it comes to security and the protection of sensitive data. While the tech world has been bombarded with all types of reports, white papers and articles suggesting that the IoT will result is a significant change in the corporate IT structure, the IoT will also impact the private consumer as well; however, the greatest concern on deck at the moment is the magnitude of the impact that the IoT will have on IT departments.
Understanding the Internet of Things
Before going into the different ways that the IoT will impact corporate IT departments, it is worth providing a lucid explanation of what the IoT is. While there has been a substantial amount of information circulating about the IoT, there has been very little information that provides a simple explanation of the concept of the IoT. While there are multitudinous complexities surrounding the IoT, there are some basic principles that formulate the basic concept of the IoT.
Simply put, the IoT is a concept that is centered around the expansion of the internet, expanded access to broadband internet service and the rapidly developing capacity to connect almost any device to the internet, including coffee makers, security systems, cell phones, headphones, washing machines, lamps, wearable devices, and anything else imaginable. When considering the possibilities of what this means, it is easy to see why IT professionals are concerned about how this will impact the manner in which data and networks are managed.
The Point of No Return
While the IoT has been the subject of passionate conversations for the last several years, it appears that 2015 will serve as the point of no return. It is already possible for consumers to connect numerous devices to the internet for a number of different reasons. This means that IT professionals will be forced to engage the IT management and security implication that are presented by the IoT.
Some of the issues that IT departments will have to engage immediately include:
-The management of IP addresses, including the necessity to facilitate the need for more IP addresses
-Service and fault management
-Issues associated with big data analytics as they are related to the exponential increase in the number of devices that are connected to the internet
IT departments will be forced to look beyond the traditional IT resources and capabilities, which currently include capacity management and availability. These departments will have to develop processes in which they will work closely with business colleagues to effectively manage the manner in which these additional devices will impact existing business processes and current business models. This monumental task will call for more resources in the way of more personnel to help facilitate the added workload. Additionally, there will also be a demand for new skill sets that are focused on engaging the new challenges that will be presented by the IoT. Another necessity that is almost inevitable is the demand for a higher level of IT automation.
Several years ago, there was a trend that was driven by the fact that consumers were accessing the latest technology before business IT departments, which represented a shift in paradigms. The trend was recognized as BYOD or bring your own device. This meant that employees were accessing company networks on their personal devices. This practice had its advantages in employee morale, productivity and overall performance; however, it did create some challenges as far as security is concerned. The security challenges that are created by the IoT will create even greater security challenges.
The first security issue will be data security. With a rapidly increasing demand to increase data security to protect against the threat of an increasing number of data breaches, IT departments will be forced to develop policies and systems that will guard against the compromise of sensitive data. As personal devices are added to the internet, one problem will be that the devices will lack the security functionality necessary to provide the highest level of security, placing data at risk. While this will improve over time, it will be an issue during the early stages of the IoT.
Secure communication and message integrity will also be a security issue that will need to be addressed.
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Due to the complexities involved in the massive dynamic associated with the IoT, this article only provides a superficial look at the complexity of the IoT and many of the challenges that it will create for IT professionals. The best approach for IT departments is to take a proactive path to engaging these challenges.