Is your IT management IoT ready?

2017 was supposed to be the year of the Internet of Things (IoT)—the year that this highly-touted technology matured and started producing tangible results for organizations. However, the last 12 months have left advocates of IoT frustrated. A report from Cisco claims that close to 75 percent of all IoT projects fail, and IoT as a buzzword has been replaced by the likes of artificial intelligence and blockchain. This disheartening news paints a grim picture for IoT.

However, if you dig just a bit deeper, you may be surprised to find that IoT has, in fact, continued its supercharged rise towards mainstream adoption—albeit a bit under the radar. Connected IoT devices including cars, sensors, meters, wearables, and other endpoints now outnumber connected non-IoT devices such as phones, PCs, and tablets. Overall interest in IoT is stabilizing, while global spending in the IoT space continues to accelerate with an estimate from the IDC suggesting more than $800 billion was pumped into the space last year.

Are you ready to firefight a cyberattack?

Ever since the first IoT-centered cyberattack in late 2016, we’ve seen an increase in malware targeting connected devices. Experts acknowledge the fact that securing IoT-enabled devices is a huge cybersecurity challenge and are pushing for guidelines to ensure workplaces are ready to securely deploy IoT devices.

A typical organization only concerned with the security of endpoint devices will now be incorporating hundreds of key pieces of new hardware into their network—IoT gateways. These gateways interact with a multitude of sensors and devices and pass data to the main network. What this means is that when a single connected IoT device in your organization gets infected by malware, this attack could rapidly spread throughout the network using these gateways.

Your security solution should be able to instantly detect, react to, and prevent the spread of a malware attack. While there may be no single magic solution to accomplish this, the best approach includes a combination of analyzing events, detecting anomalies, alerting, locking down infected devices, and executing mitigation activities to contain the threat.

Are you on top of patching? 

IT teams were reminded how important staying up-to-date on patch management is after the number of cyberattacks that rocked the world in 2017. With IoT-enabled devices, that threat is amplified; a single vulnerability or outdated patch is all it takes to open Pandora’s box and take down your entire network.

IoT devices may be secure at the time of installation, but as time goes on, they’ll only be secure if they continue to receive the latest patch releases. Each day comes with the discovery of new vulnerabilities, so once a device misses a security patch, it’s only a matter of time before it’s open to the latest exploits.

Good patch management and endpoint security practices are more critical than ever in this IoT era. Choosing an endpoint management solution that can continually scan for new patches and ensure automated updates—both for IoT and non-IoT devices—will not only fortify your organization’s IT, but lighten the burden on your IT team as well.

Is your network ready to scale?

Let’s focus on the biggest scaling issue you might face: a sheer explosion in the number of devices within your organization. Keeping in line with Gartner’s forecast, the number of connected devices in 2017 comfortably exceeded 8 billion, and predictions estimate there will be 20 billion IoT devices by 2020.

As an organization adopts more IoT technology, the number of sensors, gateways, devices, and sub-networks increases exponentially. This translates into bad news for network admins: increased bandwidth requirements and an outpour of raw data. Given that your network is already dealing with the latest advancements like virtualization, BYOD, and DevOps, this giant leap required for IoT could prove to be too much to take.

With the IT network as the backbone for any business today, it’s wise to reevaluate your network management practices so you can ensure optimal bandwidth utilization. Given the vast gamut of IoT and non-IoT devices, the best solution should include options for keeping an eye on your network 24×7, utilizing an integrated tool to monitor all network parameters, and automating bandwidth optimization.