On the one hand, nothing could be simpler that connecting some type of device to the Internet. On the other hand, the prospect of trying to process data being generated by thousands of those devices represents one of the most daunting challenges facing IT organizations today. After all, when it comes tothe Internet of Things (IoT) it’s just not the amount of data that needs to be processed that is an issue. The way that data gets processed and integrated is fundamentally different than the way data currently gets processed inside most traditional data centers.
But the biggest challenge of all is going to be securing IoT environments. In terms of scale, IoT projects represent an instance of distributed computing that is unprecedented inside most organizations. Not only will IT organizations be challenged in terms of building and deploying these applications, a new survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals conducted by 451 Research finds that nearly half the respondents (46 percent) identified security as the biggest IoT impediment they face. The issue, of course, is not just the millions of endpoints that need to be secured, but also all the gateway and networks that all that IoT data winds up being funneled through.
The need for outside expertise
Just as significant from the perspective of IT services firms, nearly a third (32 percent) of the respondents admitted they lacked the internal skillsets need to deploy IoT applications. In fact, Dan Harrington, Research Director at 451 Research specifically notes:
"There is a clear need for external expertise to help convince organizations of the business value of IoT as well as to fill internal skillset gaps in areas like security, big data, and network infrastructure. As these projects mature, many organizations will find themselves looking to outside consulting and professional services firms for these capabilities."
Of course, IoT isn’t exactly a new concept. Organizations have been employing some form of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology for decades. The biggest challenge many IT service providers will face will be navigating the divide that exists between the operations teams that historically have been in charge of deploying those technologies in the field and internal IT organizations that now want to aggregate all the data being collected by those devices. Not only are there different budgets in play when it comes to funding an IoT project, an IT services provider can easily find themselves providing what amounts to free counseling services to keep internal IT teams, operations folks in the field, and the line of business executives footing the bill for the project continuously aligned.
The good news is that there will be no shortage of IoT projects for the foreseeable future. It’s even conceivable that the amount of money spent on IoT projects might one day eclipse the amount of money spent on traditional IT. In the meantime, IT service providers should bone up on their IoT skillsets. From connecting the device to the Internet to securing the overall IoT environment once its deployed, just about every aspect of an IT deployment is different from a traditional IT project. The only thing that’s required in the meantime is a little patience while waiting for the rest of the IT world to finally figure that out.