The Internet of Things: 'No' Is Not the Answer
An additional 26 to 50 billion devices are expected to connect to the Internet in the next decade. New forms of online connections will touch all areas of B2C interactions, influencing the entire length of supply chains from production to consumption. As David Roe writes on CMSWire, businesses have recognized that the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to benefit networks in particular, but they are not keeping up with the current pressures on their networks.
Waiting on Security
This can be partially attributed to an inverted process in which business leaders are the early adopters of connected solutions and expect their firm's IT support to catch up. Additionally, infrastructure budgets are not readily prepared to invest in spare capacity, especially under the restraints of normal business operations.
However, security concerns alone will not stop the IoT from spreading within the business world. Some early devices may lack the minimum security measures necessary to allow them to connect to sensitive or commercial networks, but shutting out the IoT will not work. Just as businesses view limited network capacity as something for IT to solve, security can always progress to accommodate more devices.
Ignoring security or rejecting new technology are not appropriate responses from IT. Midsize firms must engage in technical problem solving instead of standard operations. Data management — starting with an understanding of which problems need solving — brings IT into the IoT conversation earlier, rather than after purchases have been made. The company may have multiple avenues for collecting its desired data, and a closer focus on source processing to give the same business results. IT should review products for security issues in the purchasing process to ensure they meet business standards and avoid the need for drastic enterprise-wide architectural changes to isolate newly connected weak points.
Managing the relationships between IT infrastructure and security with business adoption and data acquisition can be easier for midsize businesses. IT and business leaders can ensure that these concerns are shared across the entire business when the physical distances are smaller. Solutions that focus on solving the business problem without creating a new problem in a different part of the business are more successful when the entire business is visible. Moving the problem to another area does not solve the problem.
The Internet of Things will solve problems for businesses, but they must develop solutions that work across the full network.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.