By 2020, 24 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to be connected to the internet, driving an estimated $6 trillion in IoT spending over the next five years. As IoT becomes a widespread reality, it will undoubtedly impact every facet of how organizations operate. After all, IoT promises a new level of digitization that will impact how businesses interact with their partners and suppliers and deliver value to customers. And this includes managing and securing a far more extensive network of interconnected devices.
The biggest disruption may involve how organizations utilize the intelligence gathered by mobile devices. The countless number of mobile devices and sensors that form the heart of this new IoT-enabled reality is just starting to come into focus for IT.
First, considering the sheer volume of connected things, IT needs to devote time and resources needed to fully develop the basic ability to identify and manage all of these endpoint devices. The definition and scope of mobile device management will need to evolve to help IT teams determine appropriate network permissions for each connected device.
Second, IT will need to develop and manage a host of new apps designed to control these newly connected endpoint devices, ranging from shop-floor sensors to smart eyeglasses used by field technicians. Although automated machine-learning based capabilities may take center stage in many IoT discussions, the reality is that human involvement will always play a significant role. For instance, in manufacturing, IoT means having apps capable of providing production managers with different levels of access to sensors’ locations throughout their facility.
Third, since these apps could empower any authorized user to make changes to vital organizational operations, IT will need to focus on enhancing app security. For example, these apps make it possible for manufacturing managers to make on-the-fly changes to production machines to accommodate fluctuations in raw materials.
How organizations address this challenge could prove instrumental in protecting the enterprise’s ability to thrive in this new environment. This may mean embracing multistage authentication including biometrics. Likewise, organizations may want to find ways to segregate these mission-critical apps from personal apps on a user’s mobile device.
Finally, with the influx of system-controlling sensors and apps, the amount of data moving throughout the enterprise will see a tremendous uptick as well. As data volumes increase, it puts a noticeable stress on the network as well as an increased challenge to secure the data both at rest and in transit.
Bottom line, now is the time for IT leaders to fine-tune their organization’s mobile strategy to ensure that IoT devices and related software don’t overwhelm their ability to track endpoint devices, manage rising volumes of data, and accurately analyze and capture value from the data they’re collecting.