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The Internet of Things: What's the Impact on IT Admins?

The vast Internet of Things (IoT) is growing by the day, bringing with it serious ramifications for companies—and their already overloaded IT teams. In fact, Statista has said IoT will span 23 billion ‘things’ in 2018, rising to 77 billion in 2025. That’s a lot of endpoints, all of which cost money to develop and manage. In December 2017, International Data Corporation (IDC) research predicted that global spending on IoT would reach $772.5 billion this year, representing an increase of 14.6 percent over the $674 spent in 2017.

The Challenges Related to IoT for IT Teams

So, what does the rapid growth of IoT mean? As with any technology or trend, there are positives and negatives to assess from both a consumer and business standpoint, as well as the intersection of the two. IoT has opened new possibilities for efficiency and the exchange of valuable information across every industry. For example, it enables businesses to access meaningful analytics about what their customers are buying so they can quickly offer related products and services, often based on location or time of day. However, it has also given rise to new challenges from a security and manageability perspective. Knowing that a multitude of unknown devices can connect to and exchange data with devices on your company’s network is worrisome news for IT teams everywhere.

Because of this, network administrators must be hypervigilant in protecting their company’s digital information and assets to avoid disruption, breaches, and loss of customer trust. It’s not an easy task, as we all read about new hacking events seemingly every day. Even back in 2014, Network Computing said IoT had given rise to the new role of ‘administrator of things.’ Given that, let’s look at the challenges IT professionals are facing.

Key challenges:

  • Data security: With so many components connecting to the internet, data seems like it’s practically part of the public domain, opening a vast Pandora’s Box of concerns. Effectively securing both the networks and the devices that connect to them is critical.
  • Infrastructure: Having the right infrastructure in place is the only way to achieve the right level of performance to support your business and customers. The expansion of IoT means there’s a growing list of connections and endpoints that have to be managed via the right hardware, software, and related network monitoring tools.
  • IT staff: There’s a growing need for knowledgeable security resources within IT teams despite tools that can automate many tasks across broad infrastructures. Having the right team in place not only enables you to build the appropriate infrastructure and secure your data properly, but their ability to understand changing industry requirements and the associated risk factors for your unique organization can also help you mitigate risk.

Top Tips for Network Monitoring in the IoT

All of this points to a pressing need to know what’s trying to connect with your network—and whether it’s friend or foe. Network monitoring software such as Intermapper enables you to map anything with an IP address, whether it exists on premises or in the cloud. Not only does this help you detect issues that could affect uptime, but it also alerts you when something out of the ordinary connects with your infrastructure. This enables you to troubleshoot potential issues before they impact your business or your customers.

  • Establish full network mapping and visibility: Now that devices are attaching to your network, it’s important to be proactive in dealing with any issues that arise. Intermapper gives you visibility into what’s happening at all times, so you’re able to fix problems. Likewise, it provides a live map of your network to give you a real-time understanding of in-progress events.
  • Develop the right performance monitoring metrics: Although there are various ways to monitor devices, you need to capture what you consider standard performance for specific times during the day. For example, you can use Intermapper for SNMP monitoring or flows protocol to keep an eye on bandwidth usage. This helps you understand if your infrastructure can support an increase in the number of devices or volume of traffic it’s handling. It also gives you tangible information to highlight areas of improvement. So, if you see you have 14 internal devices taking up 95 percent of your bandwidth, you can determine whether you need to boost your bandwidth or have a talk with employees streaming content during the workday.
  • Capture real-time performance: Each device has different performance metrics, and you need to monitor them to mitigate any issues. Intermapper helps you optimize devices on the network and take proactive measures to contain issues before they become business critical.

As IoT continues to expand, we’ll all see many shifts in how humans and technology interact. Stay ahead of the changes by achieving the right level of visibility into what’s happening with your network and devices.