IoT Enterprise- If you thought the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) experience was a challenge for companies, brace yourself.
The mid-2000s brought waves of heterogeneous, non-sanctioned devices into the network. By 2009, workers had made it clear that they preferred BYOD, as CIOs began feeling the pressure of personal devices flooding the workplace. The result has been the creation of so-called “shadow IT” — projects (applications and systems) managed outside of, and without the knowledge of, the IT department. The BYOD phenomenon went hand in hand with the adoption of non-sanctioned, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) applications to address a line of business needs.
While the new tools were helping employees get work done, managing the performance and security of these devices on networks became a daunting task, straining the IT infrastructure and security teams. Moreover, IT couldn’t adequately support the resources because they were out of scope.
In come new internet of things (IoT) devices with line-of-business groups acting on their own. As if the whipsaw effect of combining these challenges isn’t bad enough, IoT efforts are typically driven by strategic business imperatives. Meanwhile, IoT security looms large as a big inhibitor to adoption.
According to a report by Bain & Company, enterprises are open to the idea of buying more IoT devices if their fears over cybersecurity risks are alleviated (on average, at least 70% more than what they might buy if their concerns remain unresolved).
BYOD On Steroids
The emergence of new IoT devices within organizations is effectively BYOD on steroids. Electronic robots on the manufacturing floor, patient telemetry systems in hospitals, electronic scanning systems in retail environments, 3D printers for prototyping and Smart TVs in conference rooms are only a few of the new headless devices that are flooding corporate networks everywhere.
Unlike traditional laptop computers and smartphones, these new enterprise IoT devices are often characterized as operational technology (OT) because they are typically directly tied to the goals of a specific line of business.
These OT systems are increasingly relying on IT infrastructure and services, thus increasing the overlap of skills for managing the two and justifying the need for greater IT involvement. Enabling IT and OT to work together to maximize business efficiency is one of the big new chores for IT professionals. Organizational and cultural barriers and conflicting objectives between IT and OT groups add to the challenges.