The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is steadily taking over our lives. For businesses, IoT has become one of the most-hyped technologies. Smart devices and sensors do bring various advantages to companies of all sizes. They are now being utilized for a variety of use cases.
Large enterprises can use smart devices to automate and track their areas like manufacturing and supply chain. Smaller enterprises can also choose to implement office automation and security devices like smart locks and cameras to let business owners know what goes on in their workplaces in real time.
Devices are also getting cheaper. The same sensors and devices being used by big companies can now also be acquired and used by small businesses. Earth-friendly tech and green workplace initiatives have also become all the rage making smart thermostats and light bulbs hot commodities.
It is easy for business owners and leaders to get enamored with the idea of a smart workplace. However, IoT adoption projects can be messy. According to Cisco, only 26 percent of IoT projects are considered by companies as complete successes. Haphazard and rush implementation are often to blame for failure.
Some may find this success rate grim and be convinced that they should forego IoT adoption entirely. But this shouldn’t discourage you from considering IoT for your company.The key is to figure out and anticipate potential stumbling blocks that you may encounter, then take the precautions to ensure that you avoid them.
1. More Devices to Manage
Based on various case studies by endpoint management service Cloud Management Suite (CMS), businesses and organizations can easily add hundreds of devices to their infrastructures when undergoing digital transformation. In the case of IoT projects, even smaller enterprises could be looking to connect scores of devices to their network.
As such, infrastructure readiness is a crucial factor for you to consider. Can your current network devices like routers and hubs handle additional connections? Is your internet speed fast enough to sustain the quality of all connections? Knowing these would allow you to determine what infrastructure investments it would take to implement the effort.
Managing these devices would also add to your IT team’s responsibilities. Consider investing in endpoint management tools which allow them to efficiently manage all of your devices. CMS, for instance, allows IT managers to automatically track, configure, and patch all devices on their networks including IoT devices.
2. Connectivity Brings Security Risks
Unfortunately for all users, any device that’s connected to the internet is exposed to some form of cybersecurity risk. IoT devices have been routinely targeted by cyber criminals as means to breach networks. Malware like Amnesia and Bricker Bot are known to exploit IoT devices and could even hijack infected devices to make them part of their botnets.
You definitely would not want your network to be breached and compromised because of unsecure IoT devices. As a security measure, you should follow recommended practices such as changing default administrator access and using firewalls in your network to filter out malicious traffic.
In addition, always keep desktops, laptops and remote users up-to-date with security patches and software updates.This is why automatic patch management is crucial to ensure that all devices are free from known vulnerabilities.
Be wary of cheap devices as well. Many of the low-cost devices flooding the market may not have the necessary security features such as user access control and data encryption.
Acquire your devices from established providers that provide support for the products’ life span. Small office and home automation device manufacturers like Nest and Ecobee have proven their staying capacity in the space and they do provide updates and support for their products. This way, you can be assured that device vulnerabilities can be addressed if ever they are found.
3. Figuring Out ROI
IoT adoption entails some form of outlay so you have to know how your effort would prove its worth through returns of investment. Avoid succumbing to the fad. It is easy to fall into the temptation of acquiring the fanciest smart devices. However, purchasing scores of devices only for them to end up as novelty would be a waste of money and resources.
Use the technology to truly improve your business. Focus on business areas where IoT devices could provide real value. For instance, retailers experiencing losses from theft could benefit from putting up smart security devices to ensure that their stocks are kept secure. Offices could also use radio frequency (RF) trackers on their assets and equipment to help in inventory.
By focusing on specific business areas, you will also be able to put up metrics to measure. You can compare figures such as losses from theft or misplaced stocks before and after implementing smart security devices. If you are implementing green smart devices, you can easily compute the difference in your electricity bill.
Avoid the Mess
Given that IoT devices are supposed to change ways of working and affect business processes, making the wrong choices can even cause disruptions to your operation. Make sure you carefully and thoughtfully plan your IoT adoption strategy and mind these pitfalls so that you can avoid having to go through a potentially expensive cleanup of bad-fit implementations.