For IT Teams, the Time to Prepare for the IoT is Now

If your organization still looks at the Internet of Things (IoT) as a technology with several years to widespread adoption, it might be time to take another look. According to a report from The Economist entitled “The Internet of Things Business Index: A Quiet Revolution Gathers Pace,” 75 percent of companies are either actively exploring IoT now or are already using it. The same report reveals that among senior executives surveyed, 61 percent believe that companies which are slow to integrate IoT into their business will fall behind the competition.

IoT holds the possibility of numerous benefits for businesses in areas like security, inventory tracking and energy conservation. Additionally, when physical devices are able to communicate with each other regarding their condition and location, employees on tasks—like interacting with customers directly—that can only be handled by a human being. So as costs and inefficiency decrease, worker productivity increases.

Despite these benefits, the IoT also figures to bring a unique set of challenges. For example, according to Andrew Rose, senior analyst with Forrester Group, IoT adoption will result in “a radical transformation” of the computer and digital system and may “pose unprecedented data privacy and security challenges for security and risk professionals.” Because connected devices create an ever-growing quantity of data, network security and IT personnel will be tasked with protecting more information than ever before.

In advising IT teams and risk managers, Rose notes that concerned parties should create a catalog of potential IoT issues and plan for each one carefully. Rose has also said that companies need to know the source of data and ensure that it is being adequately encrypted. In some cases, this may require close collaboration with cloud-based storage partners, which will become increasingly necessary when you consider the amount of data being produced.

Other common expert suggestions for companies adopting IoT include changing internal passwords frequently; discouraging customers from leaving static passwords in place; and focusing on how best to integrate company devices with IoT.

Businesses across many sectors can benefit from IoT and most, at a minimum, are researching the technology already. But like most other innovations, this does pose a certain degree of risk. So being among the first to adopt may not be the determining factor in how much companies can derive from the IoT. Rather, the difference may be about which organizations are best prepared.