The Internet of Things (IoT) has been growing in the collective consciousness of Americans for over five years now. Heralded into our culture by talking refrigerators and mobile-ready toasters, this new reality has finally taken hold in businesses as well. So, what does that mean for your ITAM, when nearly everything can be considered an IT item now? Along with the cybersecurity issue of interconnected devices, we think it means a lot.
Smile, you’re on the internet
The first point of any IoT device that often gets overlooked—because of the flashy potential for increased efficiency—is the fact that it’s an internet device. Even the acronym has “internet” built right in it. But, too often, the ramifications of what that interconnectedness means falls on deaf ears.
Being viewable on the internet means that the device—no matter how innocuous a device it might seem—could be a potential back-door for a savvy hacker. We can see this more simply in the smartphones your employees are using to check their email. Arguably, the first of the IoT devices, a smartphone can cause significant issues with your IT cybersecurity team.
You likely have a security protocol to help keep your employees’ phones secure—a sign-in or firewall—but what is there for that IoT sensor or tracking device? The main issue with IoT devices is the complete absence of a person to double-check it. While ideal for efficiency, it can also make for a forgotten Trojan horse.
When you have telecommuting employees, you should consider what their smart home might be doing to or with the network that holds all your business information. Making use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) can significantly help boost your data-security protocol, though the US has not really caught hold of the value of accessing content through VPNs as much as the rest of the world (our 5% compared to Thailand’s 24%, for instance). But, are there other ways that your remote employees could be impacting your business’s IT?
When it comes time to upgrade those smartphones and laptops, simply locating them can be a job in and of itself. And, as IoT devices pop up in everything, the problem of tracking and managing those devices becomes even more difficult. In fact, when the devices begin to manage you, it might be time to outsource your company’s ITAM. Just make sure to do it with a partner who will be open to managing tracking devices and monitoring equipment as well as the standard ITAM fare.
That’s no ordinary filing cabinet…
Another way IoT devices can impact your IT Asset Management program is by everyday items suddenly being imbued with micro-processing intelligence. As A.I. and IoT refines its vision for our future, there’s little left to be left behind. One can imagine even a humble filing cabinet being outfitted with circuitry to track the paper files within its interior. At that point, the eventual disposal—and certainly the ongoing maintenance—of the device becomes a job for the IT department.
And, with the toxic contents of most of the components that make things smart, the recycling of IoT devices has to have certain restrictions tied to it. Restrictions that previously “Non Smart” equipment would not have had. Here, again, a partnership with an ITAM company who takes these things into consideration would be a prudent business decision.
More immediate than even the retirement of your IoT devices is the integration with IT that those smart devices will require. Between updates and upgrades, your business’s IT department will have its hands full. With this kind of interconnectedness, ITAM integration with the rest of the company becomes more important than ever.
The future may be outfitted beautifully with automations and highly-efficient interconnectedness, but with that reality will come a responsibility to every device owner to consider their “upgraded” items as more than just the item from which it first sprang. The real question, then, in the age of automation is: are you ready to take on the responsibility of the IoT devices in your business asset repertoire?