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Make your Internet of Things investments count

4/25/2016 9:19:21 PM

Small and medium-sized businesses are investing left and right in the Internet of Things. The IoT trend is coming into its own as far as usefulness in the business world, and companies in every sector – from oil and gas to health care and even government – are jumping on the bandwagon.

Larger companies are banking on the IoT recently, as well. Near the end of April, according to ZDNet, Intel announced that close to 12,000 employees would be departing the company, through "voluntary and involuntary departures," due to industry focus moving away from PC sales and more toward data center, cloud and IoT growth. The tech giant hopes to save $750 million throughout the course of 2016 through this restructuring.

Beyond huge companies like Intel, there are savings to be had when small companies also deploy the IoT. Here are a few fast tips on how to make sure your investments are working for you:

Take business needs into consideration

What do companies use the IoT for? In specific industries like health care, the IoT is being used to augment telemedicine, and in manufacturing, sensor-enabled devices are making supply chain management easier and more effective.

Whatever strategy a business chooses, it's going to be important to invest wisely and make sure whatever IoT tools purchased are effective for a specific situation. For instance, small businesses can use smart locks to enable access to company networks from home, according to TechRadar, among other interesting uses of remote technology. Deploying remote capabilities can be essential for smaller companies that don't have access to as much office space.

"The strategies and the choices companies are making right now will absolutely decide winners and losers in marketplaces," Nick Kramer, senior director, data and analytics who specializes in IoT at SSA & Company, a consulting firm in New York, told USNews. "It's important to care about the Internet of Things and care about the company's strategy when you are considering an investment."

"It's important to keep sensor-enabled objects secure in all instances."

Create an effective security strategy

One of the biggest considerations when investing in the IoT is making sure all of the additional endpoints are secure. TechCrunch contributor Ben Dickson noted that there could be key vulnerabilities in the IoT, including security flaws in a wide range of baby monitors that would allow hackers to do things like tap into live monitoring feeds and tamper with camera settings. Aside from the obvious fears a situation like this engenders, it brings to the fore the importance of keeping sensor-enabled objects secure in all instances.

Dickson reported that IoT security is becoming a top priority for industry leaders in nearly every sector, including health care and government. Small businesses should not neglect their cybersecurity, either. Investing in the right tools and strengthening security is therefore one of the most important parts of deploying the IoT.

"The opportunity for IoT is staggering," said John Moor, a spokesperson for the Internet of Things Security Foundation, which was created with the purpose of raising awareness of security issues with the manufacturers of these devices. "However, there are ever-real security challenges that accompany those opportunities."

Having an effective IoT cybersecurity strategy is critical.Having an effective IoT cybersecurity strategy is critical.

Partner with a managed services provider

Incorporating a number of endpoints to any IT infrastructure will create additional stress on the technology department of any organization. Especially for small businesses that may have limited resources, managing multiple networks can prove difficult.

A managed service provider can help businesses make sure they're getting the most out of their IoT tools and ensure sufficient return on investment for the long term. An MSP would help any organization develop and execute cybersecurity strategies that prove effective for their specific needs and make sure the IoT is working to the company's greatest advantage.


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