Over the past two decades, devices connected to the internet have multiplied in volume and shrunk in size. Almost everyone now carries a tiny supercomputer in their pocket that is comparatively more powerful than the most advanced enterprise systems of the 1980s.
These smartphones, tablets, and laptops have infiltrated the workplace, which has compelled IT departments to adapt to employee preferences for personal devices. However, the Bring your own Device (BYOD) revolution of the past ten years will be nothing compared to the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution of the next ten years.
According to some estimates, there could be as many as 21 billion devices connected to the internet by 2021. That means there will be three “smart” objects for every human being on the planet within the next three years. That number is expected to grow exponentially over the next ten years.
In a world where every motion sensor is connected to every camera and every smartphone in an office building, IT managers and administrators will have to adapt to keep the company’s data secure and keep the end-user experience seamless.
Fortunately, solutions like SD-WAN and AI-enabled cybersecurity tools are already available. Fog or edge computing systems offered by Cisco, Aeris, Camgian, or Flutera could be used to deploy extensive processing power at the edge of the network in a smart router or other gateway device. Solutions offered by Clearblade, VMware/Airwatch, and HPE could help businesses track the return on their investments in IoT infrastructure.
Businesses of all sizes just need to be proactive in adopting and implementing these tools before their workplace is flooded with internet-connected devices.
Companies will also require a comprehensive data protection strategy to prepare for the IoT revolution. According to Forrester Research senior analyst Paul Miller, companies will need data policies, privacy policies, and security policies to manage the growth of mission-critical IoT systems in the near future. Companies will need to examine every aspect of their IoT requirements before deploying a new system.
For example, a new IoT program to boost efficiency in the workplace by integrating facial recognition into the company’s surveillance system will need air-tight policies on what data is collected, who it can be accessed by, how long the data is stored, where the data is stored, and what aspects of an employee’s personal privacy are off-limits to the company.
Business leaders may also have to consider the privacy implications of third-party software and hardware they adopt. If a technology giants offers a new sensor system for the office, should the tech company have the right to retain, use or even sell the data to others?
The exponential rise in the number of smart devices will eventually have an impact on enterprises. Business leaders and IT professionals need to consider the technical, logistical, and legal implications of this revolution before it’s too late.