Christian Gilby is the senior director of enterprise product marketing for Juniper Networks. He has over 20 years of marketing, product management and engineering experience in the networking industry with a strong focus on mobility, cloud and wireless, and speaks frequently at industry events globally. He currently leads product marketing for Mist and Juniper’s AI-driven enterprise campus portfolio (Wi-Fi, SD-WAN, campus switching, campus routing). Previously, he led product marketing for wired, wireless, and branch office solutions at Aruba (acquired by HPE).
The Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing new efficiencies to the way businesses across industries operate, adding new conveniences to people’s lives, and improving the way our cities and governments function.
When applied correctly, IoT devices can be used to connect systems and improve processes, from something as common as managing a thermostat to something as complex as remote asset monitoring and maintenance or complete process automation. And it’s only beginning. McKinsey estimates that the use of IoT devices could add up to $12.6 trillion of value to the global economy by 2030.
From global manufacturers and critical infrastructure providers to enterprises looking to manage and optimize office or retail network connections, all are looking to expand their use of IoT to develop new business models, control security and secure a competitive advantage in service delivery. .
IoT can unlock efficiencies to ensure a positive customer experience, driving brand loyalty and product loyalty, ultimately leading to increased revenue. The benefits of the IoT explosion are undeniable and too compelling to ignore.
So what is the problem? With at least 20 billion connected devices in use worldwide and growing at a rapid rate, IoT is literally taking over the web.
The proliferation of IoT brings new challenges: enterprises face security gaps, poor-performing headless devices, and the added complexity of managing hundreds or thousands of new devices. With the number of IoT devices expected to grow to 27.1 billion by 2025, successfully managing them within the network, all without leaving a single easily hackable device unprotected, is the hidden cost of the race to the gold mine. IoT.
Doing it right is fundamental to the success of companies.
Avoid IoT security nightmares
The number one concern for network administrators is finding ways to protect these edge devices, both in terms of identifying and encrypting traffic and keeping IoT traffic separate from sensitive areas of the network. Organizations have been quick to implement IoT devices and applications into the fabric of their networks, but many have not prioritized IoT security in the same way.
There is wide variability in IoT devices from a security standpoint. While some may adhere to higher standards, many lack fundamental hardware and software protections and controls in the relentless pursuit of minimizing the cost and power consumption of these increasingly ubiquitous devices.
It is vital that operators think more intentionally about security, starting with their networks. As IoT applications are used in many external locations, the traditional perimeter-based approach to security is often not enough.
Visibility, network access control (NAC), segregation, and protection must be built into the network fabric at a central level to enable real-time monitoring, detection, and remediation of any potential threats and to limit the impact of any breach.
The use of Network Access Control (NAC) and/or encryption-based technologies such as Personal Pre-Shared Key (PSK) or Multiple Pre-Shared Key provide a vital layer of protection for these IoT devices and enable security of scalable way. — which is important given the volume of data that is flooded from the edge to the network infrastructure.
An IoT NAC solution enables the network to identify and monitor these devices as they connect to the network, assigning security policies based on device type, role, and identity, thereby limiting access to minimize risk.
By protecting and encrypting IoT traffic, Personal PSKs allow administrators to manage all of their IoT PSKs within a single deployment, offering simplicity and security at the same time. However, encryption-based technologies are not a magic bullet in and of themselves. With so many devices accessing the network, leaders need to rethink how the network works in general.
In particular, managing a large number of IoT devices requires integrated capabilities that work across the full range of network assets, regardless of vendor or cloud provider. Dynamic network overlays are one way to achieve this, as they can provide real-time visibility, automatic threat detection, and policy enforcement capabilities.
The use of network slicing limits potential IoT threats to small segments, while data analytics and machine learning help protect the network against the latest threats. With the automation and integration of device profiles, IoT network segmentation becomes much easier.
In addition to protecting IoT devices and the network, proper network management is crucial to allowing these IoT devices to function well and deliver the value for which they were introduced.
IoT applications often require a constant stream of data to create significant impact, an amount that, if IoT is widely integrated, can slow network performance and create new management headaches. AI-enabled network management solutions can help IT teams transform data flowing from IoT devices into actionable insights and apply that insight automatically to improve performance.
IoT devices that don’t include an integrated user interface can also be difficult to manage, especially when IT teams face a huge skills gap exacerbated by unprecedented turnover. If administrators don’t prioritize automating device management across the network, IoT will become too cumbersome for teams to manage effectively, limiting the benefit of the organization’s investment in IoT. Enter AI, or more specifically, AIOps.
AIOps is ready to solve this problem as far as IT teams are concerned. You can track data flowing from the client to the cloud, and then apply data science and AI algorithms to proactively identify and resolve issues in an autonomous network.
For example, through the implementation of AI solutions, administrators can create pre-assigned policies for different devices that, when a device connects to the network, are automatically assigned and applied to the device without the need for human intervention.
So if an IoT device that needs a lot of bandwidth, like a camera, connects to the network, the AI can automatically respond to the need, allowing it to be deployed without the risk of overloading existing applications.
These steps will enable the business to deliver on the promise of insights and automation that IoT can deliver without overwhelming its IT teams.
The Internet of Things is already changing the way the world works. But, as adoption increases, it risks opening the door to all kinds of security breaches and network outages. Administrators who do not prioritize network security and management of IoT devices and sensors are doomed to fail.
However, by leveraging tools developed alongside IoT to streamline deployment and management, IoT devices can streamline processes and open doors to new technology use cases that would never have been possible before. The investment of time and capital to get IoT management right from the start is always worth it.
Outstanding image via pixabay