The Internet of Things is a trend that has been a long-time coming. Some of the devices it brings are great for productivity and efficiency, but others are still relatively useless. Regardless, it’s estimated by the IDC that global Internet of Things (IoT) spending will exceed $1.3 trillion by 2020. With such a large amount of capital being invested in IoT devices, your organization will need to know all there is to know about the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things is a collective term for the horde of wireless devices that connect to the Internet. This includes your workstation, laptop, or smartphone, along with more minor devices that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider Internet-connected. These devices are usually consumer-based, but can include any of the following:
- Smart watches
- Digital cameras
- Fitness tracking technology
- Household appliances, like blenders, coffee makers, etc.
- Baby monitors
- Home and building automation, like security cameras, thermostats, door locks, etc.
- Smart cars
This list barely scratches the surface, too. Gartner’s IT glossary is even more liberal with its definition, stating that the Internet of Things is:
[...] the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
Basically, these devices communicate with each other, and they’re designed to make life easier through the use of smart technology. Even though most of these devices are for the average consumer, this hasn’t stopped the Internet of Things from making its way to the business environment. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2016, there will be over 6.4 billion devices that connect to the Internet, with 5.5 million new devices being added every day.
While the IoT is especially helpful for the manufacturing and transportation industries, many of these consumer-targeted devices will likely fall into the hands of your employees, which brings about an entirely new problem in the form of security. The numerous Internet-connected devices attached to the IoT could potentially access sensitive information that they shouldn’t be privy too. There’s also the ever-present threat of these devices being infected by viruses, malware, and other threats. If the infection spreads throughout your infrastructure, dealing with IoT devices can quickly become more trouble than they're worth.
Therefore, the clear resolution to this problem is to integrate a comprehensive plan outlining the role that IoT devices and BYOD play in your organization, as well as the potential threats of allowing them access to your network. Users who plan on bringing in their devices from home should need to register these devices with IT, or at least verify that they’re not a threat to any sensitive information on the network. If you start adding devices to a network haphazardly, it could drastically affect operations. Not only does it present a security risk, but unexpected network traffic from the new devices could present a bandwidth concern, which could lead to downtime and unnecessary expenses.
The Internet of Things and all of the problems it comes with can be a lot to take in, especially if you’re a business owner with a ton on your plate. Network Technologies of Kansas would be happy to assist you with all of your technology concerns. To learn more, give us a call at 785-409-6286.