The Internet of Things (IoT)—a large, interconnected landscape of everyday objects that are connected to a network and include embedded sensors—is quite possibly the hottest term in the technology realm right now. Connected devices hold enormous potential for both consumers and enterprises in a wide range of areas from home management to jet engine mechanics. For example, smart thermostats that can dynamically regulate home environments based on set owner preferences, and jet engines that will be able to diagnose their own mechanical problems and send out alerts when they are in need of repairs are both on deck.
The numbers make clear that the IoT is more than just a buzzword—it is a rapidly expanding global market. For instance, a recent report from Business Insider projected that there would be 23.3 billion IoT devices connected in all sectors by 2019; the same report noted that spending on enterprise IoT products and services will increase to $255 billion over the next five years, up from $46.2 billion in 2014.
These predictions are a welcome sign for device manufacturers, wireless operators and enterprises that stand to increase profit and efficiency—through the use of Big Data analytics—as the IoT develops. At the same time, the explosion in connected devices will undoubtedly present some significant challenges and increase the workload for network engineers and IT security professionals.
The billions of new connections that will emerge over the next several years will create a much greater number of endpoints on wireless networks—and any of these connected devices can be targeted for malicious attacks. In fact, hackers have already infiltrated consumer products like smart refrigerators and televisions and security researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to hack a piece of office equipment, such as a printer.
In light of these developments, businesses should consider re-examining their wireless security solutions to make sure the defenses they have in place can meet the challenge of contending with the rapid expansion of the IoT.
A best-in-class wireless network analyzer can protect against security threats and downtime and allow for more effective troubleshooting. For instance, such a solution allows for remote data capture and analysis from a central location no matter where on the network the problem has occurred nor where tracked mobile users may roam. That analysis includes tracking for more than 60 types of wireless events and provides:
- Comprehensive, real-time performance and security monitoring
- The ability to track authentications, rogue access points and other events
- Alerts to potential problems that are prioritized by severity
- The ability to drill down on the exact source of a potential security threat
The IoT is growing quickly—that much is certain. What remains to be seen is which organizations can maximize the value of connecting devices and which will be weighed down by security problems and subpar wireless network performance. Considering the scope of the IoT and its likely impact on a wide array of verticals, the way businesses adapt to this new connected world will be a significant differentiator for years to come.
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