In 1999, a British technology pioneer named Kevin Ashton coined the term Internet of Things (IoT) to describe a network that connects objects, rather than people, to the internet. Back then, the idea may have seemed more like science fiction than reality, but by 2020, the number of IoT devices is expected to reach 31 billion worldwide. By 2025, it is forecast to hit 75.44 billion.
These technologies are transforming both public and private sectors, and hardware management considerations, which constitute a critical part of any IT strategy, must keep pace.
Between mobile devices and the IoT, there are now more connected endpoints than ever before. This represents a massive security risk if teams don’t prioritize security in their IT strategy. The more endpoints there are, the more potential entry points hackers have into your network, and the GSMA has warned that having more connected devices has created an “exponential increase in new security threats.” Indeed, IoT developers frequently cite security as one of their top concerns, according to Gartner, and the security of connected devices affects the security of an entire organization.
Toward the end of the Obama administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released a report in response to damaging DDoS attacks that exploited vulnerabilities in IoT devices. Author Ron Ross wrote that “trustworthiness” is key, but it’s not a quality that arises by accident—it has to be engineered into the system. Therefore, to balance the benefits of the IoT with the need to protect the network, security must be baked into the hardware management strategy at every level—and this is as true for a government agency as it is for a private company.
For example, when determining which printers the company will use, IT professionals should consider modern options, like HP Enterprise devices, which come with embedded security features that continually detect and stop threats, adapt to new dangers, and self-heal. Investing in devices that come armed with these features often means that updates happen automatically, making it more difficult for a vulnerability to slip through the cracks.
Find ways to streamline
Investing in devices with built-in security features can also streamline hardware management to the benefit of IT strategy. The IoT can help organizations become more data-driven, agile, productive, and efficient, but not if the network is so unwieldy that it adds to IT’s burden. The responsibility of managing hundreds or thousands of connected devices across multiple physical locations while maintaining security standards can distract IT staff from other important projects.
Executives and IT professionals should be smart about the platforms they use to develop their IT strategies. Look for unified IoT platforms that allow teams to manage visibility, security updates, and scaling from a single dashboard. By aggregating devices and consolidating management, you can help your hardware reach its full potential.
Work with a managed service provider
Working with a managed service provider can strengthen your IT strategy by boosting security capabilities and streamlining processes. With a sprawling network of devices and a rapidly evolving threat matrix, most IT teams have numerous concerns that constantly demand their attention. Outdated, unprotected printers alone can present a number of vulnerabilities and prevent the proper implementation of security protocols across your whole network.
Fortunately, a managed print services provider can handle the finer details of the necessary upgrades and offer expertise with regard to maintenance, security, and support for your environment. Such a partnership can free up IT time and ensure devices are operating as they should.
All IT strategies involve a lot of moving parts, and often, priorities compete for attention. Teams with tight budgets and limited resources have to make the most of what they’ve got by investing in technologies and services that enhance productivity without compromising security or adding significantly to the IT workload. The growth of the IoT opens up tremendous possibilities for how businesses are run, but to take advantage of these developments, firms must view comprehensive hardware management as an integral component of IT strategy.
By deploying devices that have security features out of the gate, choosing unified platforms for visibility and management, and working with trusted managed service providers, IT professionals can help fit hardware into their broader IT strategy.