Each new connected “thing” is a potential leak, and a new way in to the enterprise
Everything that can be connected will be connected. That’s the somewhat dog-eared maxim for the future of tech. Currently, more than 20 billion ‘things’ are connected to the world’s various communication networks and more are joining at breakneck speed. While consumer applications for IoT attract the most attention and can create significant value, the biggest impact will be in the enterprise.
Alongside the machine-type communications set to usher in the fourth industrial revolution, at least 65% of enterprises are expected to adopt a mass of connected devices by 2020 – more than twice the current rate. Manufacturers, logistics firms and retailers will be the first movers in this ‘internet of things’ (IoT) revolution, seeking to connect and automate process-driven functions.
The rate of global connectivity is multiplying, with three quarters of businesses now investing in mobile devices to better serve their staff and customers, and two thirds believing it will bring them greater understanding of consumers. Enterprises need to get ready to manage the growth of a mobile, increasingly connected workforce.
With the sheer amount of mobile devices being used to carry out vital business activity, and the opportunity that IoT presents to add even more value by enhancing and enabling business critical tasks and processes, it’s never been more important for businesses to effectively, efficiently and remotely stay on top of their devices and manage the related data.
Adele Beachley, Managing Director, APAC for mobility and IOT management solution provider, SOTI
However great the perceived benefits are, connected devices bring new business challenges around scale, interoperability, security and the management of devices and endpoints. When people and organisations rely heavily on technology, the emotional fallout of issues, service failures and information breaches can be serious. Our latest research tells us that 60% of mobile device users worry they could lose important data and 29% expressed fear of losing their jobs. The stress of technical failures concerns 72% of business owners due to the potential cost of data loss.
To ride the technology wave, enterprises must have a definitive strategy for mobility management, covering traditional devices and non-traditional ‘things’ such as connected cars, taking in technical issues like interoperability and more apparently prosaic ones like filtering vast new oceans of data. Without overstating it, security is paramount. In this strategic overview however, it’s not step one.
Step 1: Integration
Organisations are already having issues with device management, with 45% of businesses failing to enforce restrictions such as blocking apps. Yet, getting strategic with IoT means properly coordinating connected devices at root level, so the business can easily retrieve and manipulate the data available to them, regardless of its provenance. Using an integrated suite of mobility solutions offers a smart, quick, and reliable way for businesses to build apps faster and manage mobile devices and IoT endpoints.
Businesses must understand what can be achieved through IoT beyond creating “smart” devices. An effective, integrated IoT strategy will yield business intelligence and improve productivity, cutting costs and enhancing the customer experience.
Sophisticated mobility management solutions afford real-time insights into remote device performance, which can be tapped into by help-desk teams to run device diagnostics, solve technical issues and maintain staff productivity.
The most advanced device and IoT management solutions cover rapid cross-platform app development, so enterprises can deploy enterprise applications for their own specific devices in a fraction of the time.
Ultimately, if network inter-play must be solved by the technology industry at large, the working integration of connected devices is the responsibility of leadership teams and IT departments within enterprises themselves.
Step 2: Security
Devices must be secured and regulated properly. Enterprises mustn’t wait for governments and industry bodies to agree on minimum security-levels, but consider their own network, device and data security. The dynamism of IoT creates vulnerabilities and requires a dynamic and integrated security strategy. Each new device is a potential leak, and provides criminals with a new way into the system.
New devices should have the correct security certifications but much more can be done to shore up devices and data. Enterprises should demand the following of their device management solutions:
- Enforced authentication, including biometric and two-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorised access to valuable corporate data and documents.
- Full device storage encryption to ensure sensitive company information residing on mobile devices in the field is as secure as data on an office-based workstation.
- Physical device management, with the ability to track and wipe IoT devices when lost or stolen.
- Consistently private and secure wireless access and network connectivity.
Step 3: Simplicity
The process to differentiation though data insights gleaned from a strategic IoT program designed to manage the flood of new data from new ‘things’ is iterative and requires trial and error … a process of testing, redesigning and re-testing. Trying to achieve too much is counterproductive; it’s been said before that the real value from IoT lies in doing the smaller things well and building on that.
Yet, achieving simplicity is not easy for enterprises entering uncharted waters. They must ‘think big’ while ensuring close attention to detail, with an approach relevant to business strategy, objectives and market. They must take stock of the data they have and derive valuable insights. Enterprises must efficiently filter and interpret the data they capture, advised by specialist data analysts and mobility management providers, and develop a strategy accordingly.
Companies that procrastinate on their strategic development will find themselves drowning in data. By focusing on integration, device management and interpreting data, businesses can avoid falling adrift and ride the wave of success.