Preparing your business for the Enterprise of Things (EoT) era

What is Enterprise of Things (EoT)?

Some common IoT devices

Consumer IoT vs. Enterprise IoT

Enterprise of Things: Harnessing the power of IoT in the enterprise

  • EoT connects people at work and on the move to ensure higher service quality and safety.
  • Enterprises will get a greater ability to change work processes as they have more insights into the business operations, product, and internal systems.
  • Optimized asset utilization, reduced human intervention, and reduced overhead costs.
  • An improved decision making capability.
  • Enables new business models and collaboration methods.
  • EoT is at the core of forces enhancing customer experience. EoT adoption is one of the promising factors that differentiate a data-driven business from its competitors by making it more profitable and smarter.
  • EoT helps smoothen the process of connecting devices at remote locations taking communication to the next level. Cloud-based EoT systems, along with machine-to-machine communication, connects devices at different units to streamline operations.
  • Continuously monitor the state of devices.
  • Improves the implementation of big data solutions to ensure real-time availability of data.
  • Revolutionize many essential business functions, including process automation, analytics, and quality analysis.
  • Detects the pain points in the business process to pinpoint efficiency.
  • Make businesses socially and environmentally responsible in tackling global challenges by reducing energy consumption and wastage powering an intelligent work procedure.

Some common EoT use cases

  • Remote sensing of hazardous locations — IoT equipped drones can be used to analyze and evaluate hazardous environments before sending field workers to those places.
  • Device condition monitoring — The working condition of different devices can be monitored with the help of embedded IoT sensors, and the analytic data can be transmitted to other devices. This helps in determining which all devices need maintenance services. This also helps in prolonging the device’s life span. Asset optimization is another critical aspect. Real-time data and analytics from key assets like frontline worker devices help in using these assets to their maximum potential.
  • Detect environmental changes — Change in operational conditions like temperature, humidity, and vibration ranges can be detected using specific sensors and RFID technologies. Work processes can be altered automatically according to the changes in the external factors.
  • Collision avoidance systems– Construction companies can launch collision avoidance services with IoT devices to reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Smart parking at office premises — Real-time parking space availability checking equipment and parking sensors are some of the recent parking trends enabled by IoT technology.
  • Remote work — The corporate ecosystem of connected physical equipment enables employees to work from any location with seamless collaboration.
  • Workspace distribution — Sensors can help in identifying vacant rooms and distribute convenient workspaces to the employees. They can also help in predicting the availability of conference rooms for scheduled meetings.
  • Product quality assurance — IoT scanners can check the product quality and initiate changes in the production line if there is no satisfactory result. These systems can work efficiently than human supervisors.
  • Video surveillance — This is an important security feature that helps in reducing human errors while monitoring video feeds. Intelligent image detection algorithms and smart sensors help in identifying unauthorized employee presence in forbidden areas.
  • Self-optimizing production — EoT helps optimize the production process by making automated adjustments to improve quality and prevent failures.
  • Fleet management — EoT helps in managing the vehicles of the workers in real time. With greater insights on the fleet location, condition, and usage, companies can reduce repair and maintenance costs.

EoT: Challenges and considerations

  1. Security is the prime concern — EoT can increase the enterprise attack surface. EoT space is mostly talked about from the security perspective as several security issues caused by IoT devices in the enterprise are having a trivial impact on the business outcomes depending on the business criticality. IoT devices have been created with mere functionality in mind, not security. In most EoT use cases, the devices are collecting extremely sensitive data, which increases the security concerns further. No need to mention the negative impact this can cause on the IT infrastructure and data capabilities.
    The risk of IoT devices being hacked is far greater than for any previous technology assets due to many reasons:
  • Too many IoT devices in the workplace give little thought to security basics like encryption and password protection.
  • Poorly structured EoT can quickly introduce organizations to security vulnerabilities or simply leak data.
  • There can be vulnerabilities in the device itself. Threat actors exploit known vulnerabilities to compromise the device.
  • Not much known patching software.
  • Degradation of software security over time.
  • Not investing in security control due to too much focus on profit.
  • Lack of standardization of data communication protocols.
  • Usage of old devices. Devices that have passed their end-of-life period can have unfixable vulnerabilities.
  • Lack of awareness due to the relatively new nature of the technology.
  • More sophisticated threats.
  • Lack of integration with legacy technologies.
  • Sudden changes to the business ecosystem.
  • Large number of devices to monitor and lack of proper management technologies.
  • Open ports can expose network services.
  • Flaws in software.
  • Device connectivity and potential communication can possess an issue. Devices that reside on the same network can be reached by threat actors even if they haven’t communicated in the past.

An actionable management plan to win EoT

Developing an EoT management plan
  1. Adopt EoT that is practical and affordable for your business niche. Select the EoT technology that your business can build on and expand the current facilities to accommodate EoT. Also, ensure interoperability between the devices.
  2. Get a proper grip on existing assets and discover what else is out there to manage and protect IoT devices.
  3. Know your EoT landscape and locate your company’s critical IoT assets. Businesses should analyze what device they are dealing with and at what stage they become vulnerable. Check what all new devices are entering your corporate network and inspect them before they connect.
  4. Appoint a team accountable for EoT security. The team will be monitoring the EoT compliance with corporate policies, detect security loopholes, run regular audits, and ensure that software patches are up to date.
  5. Educate your employees and demand the best security practices from their end. Define a common jargon of IoT security and teach users on techniques deployed to protect IoT and easy ways to identify risks.
  6. Have data backups always ready in order to ensure business continuity in case of a system breach.
  7. Meet with your employees and sketch out an EoT roadmap that best works for your team.
  8. Have proper software and firmware updates.
  9. Get complete control over your IoT assets. With a defined asset and organizational scope, create and enforce effective policies to establish an overall authority.
  10. Define what roles each employee has to play with EoT and make sure that only the right people can use the right assets.
  11. Centralize asset logs to make sure that the IT team is able to recognize threats before a potential breach.
  12. Take a multi-layered security approach. Enforce multi-factor authentication and practice the use of strong passwords, which acts as the first line of defense.
  13. Separate IoT devices from the main network and use an independent network like a virtual LAN for them.
  14. Mandate VPN and data encryption.
  15. Practice the use of IoT technologies and networks designed around the concept of security.
  16. Anticipate future needs, practice proactive protection and watch out for emerging threats.
  17. It is good to join an Information Sharing and Analysis Center to get and share threat intelligence.
  18. Understand how the sensor data are used and ensure that only data linked to clear business objectives are collected.
  19. Enforce compliance and be sure to meet all the compliance regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy regulation to strengthen data protection.
  20. Consider UEM to manage all the things in your workplace. To realize the full potential of EoT, you’ll need the right solution. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) is one such tool that reduces data breach risks with EoT and increases the overall resilience of networks across the enterprise. Your entire enterprise assets, not just EoT need a centralized and holistic management approach that aligns different business processes concerning traditional work devices and IoT smart devices. Enterprises should leverage UEM solutions to have a centralized approach to EoT management and new technology integration to existing systems ensuring all elements work well together.
  • Support for smart TVs like Apple TV, Android-powered displays, barcode scanners, RFID readers. We are looking to add support for wearables, printers, and other smart devices in the near future.
  • Seamless endpoint manageability with a see-through view of the entire process through a single pane of glass for every network connected devices, along with remote management features like remote monitoring and control and real-time compliance and risk reporting. Helps in detecting new or suspicious devices connected to the system.
  • Automated enforcement of policy-based control with countermeasures to mitigate threats, data loss and compliance gaps.
  • Zero-touch and bulk provisioning methods for scaled and high-volume endpoint deployment can meet the onboarding needs of even the largest and most demanding businesses.
  • Identity and access management features help manage who has privileges to access a device and data contained in it.
  • Security management features help in addressing most of the EoT security concerns. Vulnerability and patch management, encryption and password enforcement, data loss prevention, and mandatory VPN connections to keep EoT devices isolated from other endpoints.
  • Application adaption with an enterprise application store experience.
  • Over-the-air software updates.
  • Remote troubleshooting and life cycle management of devices.
  • Expense management features to cut down data usage and other potential costs.
  • Helps in maintaining GDPR compliance.

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Hexnode

Hexnode

Hexnode MDM is an award winning Enterprise Mobility Management vendor which helps businesses to secure and manage BYOD, COPE, apps and content.