3 Things Your Business Needs to Consider Before Taking on the IoT (Cloud File Sharing is Essential)

by Andrew Mullen on April 06, 2016

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is no longer a futuristic dream. It's here, and it's in practice and making a difference in most industries. Cities are using it to solve traffic and crime issues. Airlines use it to improve safety, offer competitive rates, and manage flight cancellations and delays. Auto insurers use it to offer good drivers better rates, and retailers use it to improve store layouts, increase sales, and eliminate theft. Manufacturing and agriculture, package delivery and the fitness industry have all found brilliant ways to capitalize on the world of connected devices.

But before you jump on the IoT bandwagon, there are some practical considerations to make. You need to decide what data needs to be collected, how it will be stored and managed, and how it will be kept secure while workers communicate and share the data and insight across the organization. Here's what you need to decide before taking on the IoT.

1. The Security Ramifications

You need to be aware of what information might be attractive to which hackers before you begin collecting and storing it.

The type of data you collect will determine the level of security you need to take, but most consumer IoT devices will be subject to the same level of security necessary for all Personal Identifiable Information. Other data will have to be managed according to the situation. For example, how valuable would data about where a customer traveled be to a hacker? What if the hacker in question worked for one of your unscrupulous competitors, or a foreign government with political motivation to damage your business? Can the data be used to identify individuals?

Answering these questions isn't always as easy as you might think. Netflix got in trouble by releasing data that they thought couldn't be used to identify individuals, but it turned out they were wrong. The IoT devices and software will also come with vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Just be aware of all the different ways security could bite you when dealing with the IoT.

2. The Data Collection & Storage Requirements

Where will you store all that data? IoT devices can collect an astounding amount of data. For example, a single flight in a Boeing 787 can generate up to half a terabyte of data. Obviously, this is an extreme example, but even the daily log of a piece of machinery or the online transactions of a few thousand customers can add up quickly. The cloud is the obvious solution, with most enterprises turning to storage options like Microsoft Azure.

3. The Ability to Use & Share Data Across the Organization

Different departments across the company will use the IoT data for different things. Making it available via the cloud, and then empowering access per user is the best way to assure that the data is secure, is backed up properly, and is available to those who need it when they need it.

Once the data is collected and processed, your workers will need to share the information across the organization in order for it to benefit the business in all the ways possible. That, of course, has to be done while keeping the carefully developed, stringent security protocols in place. Azure users can take advantage of cloud file sharing via FAST™, which keeps it in a secure, centralized location and then makes it available on a per-user basis, allowing for the same speed and performance as an onsite solution. You can find out how these solutions work when you view the demo video.

Once you have determined how to collect and manage the large volumes of data streaming in from the IoT, your company can begin to benefit from the power of these connected devices.

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