You may have heard about the Internet of Things in passing, but do you truly understand the nature of these connected devices, and how they will affect your business in the coming years? The Internet of Things is a major trend that needs to be addressed if your business plans on succeeding in the near future.
Gartner reports that by 2020, there will be approximately 21 billion devices connected to the Internet; an astounding number, and one that your business can’t afford to ignore. These devices could range from fitness devices designed to track vital signs like pulse and heart rate, to connected appliances like refrigerators, thermostats, baby monitors, security cameras, and so much more. The sheer utility that the Internet of Things provides, guarantees that it’s only a matter of time before your office has to deal with several similar devices.
In fact, we’d be surprised to hear that your business doesn’t have at least a few of these devices floating around your network, especially considering how most of them are consumer-targeted, and are perhaps in the possession of your employees. Even something as simple as a smart watch could make its way to your business’s infrastructure, and unless you’re monitoring which devices connect to your network, you’d never know (until something goes wrong, of course).
Perhaps the most dangerous part of Internet of Things devices is the fact that they not only connect to the Internet, but that they are also able to communicate with each other. If these devices share your business’s corporate information with unapproved devices, you could have an unintentional data leak that exposes sensitive data to malicious entities.
In order to counter this potentially disastrous occurrence, it’s important that your business understands how to work mobile devices into your network infrastructure. You can’t just let anyone connect their personal devices to your network. What if one of them were infected with malware, spyware, or other threats with malicious intentions?
With a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, you can set up rules that govern how users take advantage of Internet of Things devices in the workplace. You should aim to have only approved devices connecting to your company’s network. The goal is to restrict your business’s network to only devices that won’t compromise its integrity. Users should first inquire about the devices they would like to use in the office, and once they’ve been approved by IT, they can begin to use them; but only if they aren’t a threat to productivity or data security.
Furthermore, some mobile devices, like smartphones, can be used while out of the office to stay productive and connected to the workplace. These devices need to be managed so as to protect the integrity of any data stored on them. This includes whitelisting and blacklisting apps, as well as allowing for remote wiping. Doing so effectively allows you to manage risk and take matters into your own hands, should your policies not be enough.
To learn more about how to manage risk with Internet of Things devices and other mobile technology, call us today at 604.931.3633.