BlogPreparing the Enterprise for the Internet of Things

Preparing the Enterprise for the Internet of Things

March 19, 2015, Uncategorized

The Internet of Things (IoT): The IP enabling of currently passive objects. The consumer market is currently driving the space, with wearables, the connected home, and connected appliances. However, IoT will soon impact the enterprise, as employee IoT devices enter the work environment.

With estimates suggesting that as many as 50 billion devices will connect to the Internet by 2020, the majority of corporate IT is bracing for the Internet of Things (IoT).

As an increasing number of connected devices attempt to access the corporate network, the possibilities for loss and unauthorized access of sensitive data multiply significantly.

To mitigate the risk, enterprise mobility departments must prepare in advance for the coming impact of IoT. By keeping pace with innovation and thinking ahead, the enterprise can ensure that it’s well prepared for the inevitable challenges that will arise.

To that end, here are the four questions enterprises need to ask today, in order to prepare for the Internet of Things:

–       How will IoT devices connect to the corporate network? The safest option currently available is to segment IoT devices from the corporate network. Assign a separate network for these devices; implement a VLAN to isolate network traffic; and have IT determine which ports and services to allow in and out. A management suite can then enforce usage policies and protocol, and prevent unsecured devices from accessing the network.

If the enterprise decides to allow IoT devices to access the corporate network without segmentation, security needs to be a top priority, just as it is with BYOD. Because many IoT devices will be consumer-driven, they’ll start out with weak security. A strong mobility management solution will allow IT to secure these devices and their applications.

We don’t recommend banning IoT devices from the work environment entirely. As we saw with unmanaged BYOD and Shadow IT, employees and executives alike will look for ways to circumvent these policies, putting corporate information assets at an even greater risk.

–       How will enterprise mobility departments secure increased bandwidth? Increased usage requires more bandwidth. We advise the enterprises we work with to develop a plan to secure additional network bandwidth now, so they’re prepared in 2020.

–       How will enterprise mobility departments handle new storage demands? An influx of data means higher storage demands. As more devices connect to the corporate network, enterprises need a means to store, access, and archive additional data. As big data is already a top concern in the enterprise, this is a conversation that needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

–       How will enterprise mobility departments manage IoT devices? An influx of new devices in the work environment – such as smart watches, smart glasses, fitness trackers, and smart jewelry – means increased device management concerns. Enterprises of all sizes and in all verticals require a strong enterprise mobility management solution, to properly manage and secure IoT devices; enforce usage policies; address and secure third-party applications; track usage; and manage and secure content.

Managing the impact of IoT on the enterprise will require time and resources. We advise the organizations we work with to consider restructuring their workloads so they can effectively prioritize IoT. For example, outsourcing time-intensive tasks, such as Telecom Expense Management, allows your enterprise to focus on forming a viable IoT security and management strategy.