IT sees challenges with Internet of Things

Internet of ThingsYou won’t find much broad agreement when it comes to the revenue possibilities and business models for the Internet of Things, but there is a consensus building that IoT will impact the security and integrity of existing IT systems.

A pair of studies released this week show, from slightly different points of view, how IT professionals are anticipating challenges and girding for problems with the onslaught of internet-enabled and addressable devices IoT promises to bring to their networks.

In the first report, IT community and systems management special Spiceworks polled 440 IT pros and found that 71 percent expect the Internet of Things to have a significant impact on both consumers and the workplace from an IT perspective. As a result, about one-third are actively taking steps to prepare their systems for the wave.

That presumably leaves about two-thirds that are not preparing for IoT — but among the diligent minority that are, 68 percent are investing in new hardware infrastructure, Spiceworks found. Sixty-three percent are purchasing security solutions, while 55 percent are expanding bandwidth all to accommodate the barrage of connected devices and network activity IoT could create.

Forty-three percent of IT professionals said they will assign a separate network for newly connected devices while 23 percent anticipate adding them to the current corporate network. More than a quarter of respondents tell Spiceworks they still don’t know how they’ll manage IoT’s  influx of new connected “things.”

“The data technology trends we’ve seen emerge over the past few years, like BYOD, coupled with the IoT will have a dramatic impact on how IT professionals do their jobs,” said Kathryn Pribish, Voice of IT program manager at Spiceworks. “IT professionals understand the inevitability of the IoT but the reality is, though the impact will be gradual, resource-strained IT departments and others who haven’t jumped on the IoT bandwagon will be playing catch-up if they don’t adequately prepare.”

The Spiceworks data was mirrored in a second study out this week from GFI Software, which found that just over 96 percent of IT decision-makers say IoT will produce at least some negative impacts for their organizations. More than half (55 percent) say IoT will pose new security threats and extend existing threats to more devices.

About a third of those polled by GFI expect the Internet of Things to result in increased IT spending, while 27 percent expect device management to get more difficult in a hyperconnected world. Fourteen percent say deploying patches across multiple platforms present a particular challenge.

“The research findings reveal the Internet of Things will transform business security, as even standard employee devices could present an opportunity for exploitation and pose a real danger to organizations if they are connected to the Internet without proper security protections,” said Sergio, Galindo, general manager of the infrastructure business unit at GFI. “With billions of devices poised to connect to the Internet, organizations are exposed to billions of insecure new endpoints that can compromise the network. The key takeaway is clear: IT organizations must plan effectively to ensure adequate operating system, firmware and patch support within the new IoT age.”

The warnings and concerns from within IT come at a time when the prospects for the nascent expansion of IP-networked and intelligent devices known as the Internet of Things seems particularly bright.

Analysts at IDC Corp. said earlier this week the $1.3 trillion Internet of Things marketcould top $7 trillion by 2020.

“Businesses are taking the necessary steps to gain a deeper understanding of IoT and the overall value,” said IDC analyst Vernon Turner. “Technology vendors are evolving their solutions in a supply-driven market that’s edging towards becoming a more demand-driven market.”

This article originally appeared on Channelnomics.