Breaking down the IoT journey | A holistic approach to IoT

Oct 10, 2017   |   Microsoft IoT

The Internet of Things is more than the act of deploying modern tools or working in the cloud. Today’s “born in the cloud” companies are succeeding because they started with a transformational mindset. For mature companies in legacy industries such as banking and manufacturing, developing that mindset is not so simple.

Change is hard. But it is possible, and the rewards are great. In fact, a recent study by Keystone Strategy shows that digital leaders realize significantly better gross margins, higher earnings, and higher net income than those lagging in their digital transformation.

If IoT is to have a tremendous impact on profit trajectory, it must be approached in the correct way. The main goal of IoT is to gather data that we can use to learn about a business and its customers. To manage the complexities of connected devices, we have to begin the journey with a security mindset.

A secure foundation

Security is not something that can be tackled once. It’s an ever-present challenge – a principal to be maintained. Starting an IoT journey without considering the who, what, when, and where can cause problems from the outset. The technical, virtual, and physical security of IoT must be the foundation of your strategy. Consider:

  • Who needs the data?
  • When is it collected?
  • How is it stored?
  • How is it secured?
  • How can we make it accessible?
  • When, how, and where will the data be reviewed and reported on?

A security mindset should define everything an organization does with regard to IoT. Taking a thoughtful, proactive approach can help to define the type of security your organization needs.

Solve for X

A holistic approach to IoT starts by connecting those devices that can get us closer to our data and provide valuable information. If a device can be connected, we need to understand what business intelligence we can glean from it and how to go about creating a plan to capture and distribute it.

Create a use case for each device to consider how the data will be made available to the right people, at the right time, in the right way. For example, a connected machine on a factory floor, should provide data to its operators that can help to keep it running and even predict future outcomes. A device that manufactures inventory might be connected to supply systems, field service reps, and sales people so that each department knows how much inventory is available, when inventory is running low, when to order additional components, and how long it might take to fill an order.

Location, Location, Location

The location of connected devices can have an impact on how data is collected. If the physical location of a device is outdoors, consider whether it needs to be protected from the elements once it’s connected. If it’s in a remote location, will you need to have physical access to it?  If the device is in a public location, will it needed to be secured or hidden for any reason? And perhaps most importantly, does the location of a device create connectivity problems? In addition to knowing what data will be collected, understanding how it is being collected is an important part of a successful IoT strategy.

It’s common for organizations to consider the connection, the storage and the access of a device, but thinking of each of these things in silos is dangerous. A thoughtful, holistic approach to security will help to define the type of equipment to connect and deploy. The more devices you connect, the more you’ll need to manage at scale and for security and compliance.

As a leader in the IoT landscape, Microsoft addresses each of these challenges to get enterprises to their data faster. Download an excerpt of the IDC MarketScape report for more information.

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