How many devices are now being connected to the Internet? According to Gartner, the number this year is approaching 4.9 billion, up 30% from 2014. The Internet of Things (IoT) will include 25 billion devices by 2020; some even say it will surpass 50 billion. Gartner Vice President and Analyst Jim Tulley ominously states, “The digital shift instigated by cloud, mobile, social, and information boosted by IoT threatens many existing businesses.” As with BYOD and the consumerization of IT, organizations now have no choice but to embrace this new IT trend. IoT sits atop what Gartner calls the “peak of inflated expectations” along the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.
Here’s a look into three areas where the Internet of Things will have an impact..
More than ever before, organizations must tightly manage information security, operational security, and physical security. According to Gartner, by the end of 2017, over 20% of organizations will have digital security services devoted to protecting business initiatives using the IoT. Now let’s take a step back and try to fathom the sheer volume of connected devices involved with the IoT. The more devices there are, the tougher securing them will be. These devices need to connect to something – your network. Whether your organization is a hospital, a K-12 school district, a university or college, IoT devices rely on connectivity. Rogue devices and shadow IT introduces a challenge to securing both the network and the people on it. Digital security architecture will forever be changed and will call for new levels of agility.
25-50 billion connected devices can generate some serious data. According to Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden, the volume of data in the enterprise is going to grow 50x year-over-year between now and 2020. The question is, “How do we harness the massive explosion of IoT data?” More data doesn’t always mean better data; it’s all in how it’s analyzed. More data analysis expertise is needed. And if your network can’t handle the influx of massive data loads, the ship has sunk even before leaving port.
At Interop this year, Jason Mendenhall stated that over the next five years, data center traffic will triple, with cloud representing 76% of the total data center traffic. By 2018, half of the world’s population will have residential Internet access and more than half of those users’ content will be stored in the cloud. However, there is a rift between private and public cloud. Pushing large amounts of data out to the cloud may not be the most cost-effective solution if you already have a team handling that infrastructure. Although private cloud may appear to be an expensive option, it may be more secure than handing over your organization’s most valuable data to someone else’s platform.
Taking all this into consideration, the explosion of the Internet of Things is inevitable. Smart technologies are taking the world by storm and businesses will certainly benefit, both operationally and financially, from leveraging these technologies. This staggering amount of data needs somewhere to live, whether it is on your network or in the cloud. With all of the global data security breaches, it is certainly going to start keeping IT professionals up at night.
Where do you see the Internet of Things having the largest impact? How ready do you think your organization is for IoT?