How to Fit IoT into Your IT Strategy
Do you have an Alexa or Google Assistant at home? How about a fitness tracker? Does your doorbell have a security camera that lets you know when someone's on your front porch? Will you get an alert if there’s a water leak in your basement? Will your window shades automatically close when the sun reaches a certain intensity? Does your car parallel park by itself?
All of these technologies are a part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and, as consumers, we’re jumping on the IoT bandwagon because of the conveniences and new capabilities this emerging technology provides. It’s only natural that we want to utilize IoT technology in our businesses, too.
Before you start plugging a myriad of devices into your network, make sure that IoT fits into your IT strategy to ensure it's a good investment.
Why should you care about IT strategy?
You need IT strategy if you want to operate your business on a predictable IT foundation. If you’re not already following a documented roadmap for IT improvement, then you’re probably a captive to IT issues and unpredictability. Your situation is bound to get worse when you start adding connections to your network, only to find out that they’re not manageable, not secure, and maybe even not needed.
IT strategy goes hand in hand with a proactive approach to IT management.
Start thinking strategically about leveraging IoT technologies with these four questions:
1. Does the technology support business objectives?
IT planning must be tied to business needs in order for you to realize ROI on your investments.
Some IoT situations are easier than others to evaluate. For example, installing equipment to control the environment in your building can save on costs. On the other hand, if you have a sensor gathering data that doesn’t help you make decisions, then it’s not a good investment.
Don’t get distracted by what the device can do. Make sure you’re focusing on what how the device can help you improve the way you operate or bring more value to your clients.
2. How will the device integrate with your current technology?
Everything that you plug into your network can have a ripple effect throughout your systems. Your planning process should examine how the device will respond within your infrastructure and how your infrastructure will respond to the device.
Do you have enough internal and external bandwidth to support the transfer of data? Do you need to integrate with other software, such as your line-of-business application? How will you use cloud storage and computing in conjunction with the device?
This is a very technical conversation that cannot be skipped.
3. Is the IoT technology supportable?
It’s tempting to buy consumer grade devices to use in your commercial setting, but the reality is that you’re not going to save any money.
In order to be managed, devices need to be manageable. They also need to be visible. Sophisticated tools are required to detect every connection to your network. If IT can’t see them, then you’re operating in the realm of “Shadow IT” where the devices and what they’re doing is basically invisible, which can be very scary indeed, bringing us to our last question.
4. Can you secure the device?
The most basic security layer that you can have on a device connected to the internet is a password, but the dumb thing about smart devices is that even if they do have a password, people may not know that it’s there; they may not know how to change it; and worse yet, they may not fully understand how important a password is for security.
Proper network management is an extremely important component of cyber security, as is network visibility as previously mentioned.
Embrace Emerging IoT Technology with IT Strategy
This is an exciting era that we’re living in. Technology is on a fast track to change our world and our behavior. When you want to leverage IoT to gain new capabilities and conveniences, it has to make sense for your business. Having the right conversations to include IoT in your IT strategy is the best way to get the results that you expect.
How Strategic is Your IT?
If IT isn’t helping your business move forward, then you probably need to change the way you’re managing it. We work with businesses in Southern California to dramatically improve the way they leverage IT while giving them a fast, friendly, frustration-free experience. Start a conversation by scheduling a free IT assessment.
Learn more about IoT with our webinar -- The Internet of Things: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Scary Stuff You Should Know
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.