How IT Leaders Can Ensure Successful IoT Implementations

By prioritizing data movement from the start, through its path and to its endpoint, companies can decrease failure risks from the outset.
Published: June 5, 2019

The potential value of the Internet of Things (IoT) is well-known. A recent survey conducted by Statista revealed that 90 percent of senior executives in the technology, media and telecommunications industries view the IoT as critical to some or all lines of their business. Sadly, though, many enterprises are failing in their IoT implementations. Common excuses include a lack of executive buy-in or funding, but often it’s the IT leaders who are responsible for deployment failures.

To achieve IoT success, IT leaders need to put systems in place that not only distribute data between all kinds of devices and back-end applications in real time, but also facilitate the ability to filter, analyze and act on it rapidly. Among this high-level need is several specific challenges. Let’s discuss how to overcome them.

Navigating Multi/Hybrid Cloud Environments
Most IoT projects currently involve only hundreds of, or a few thousand, connected devices—but even a seemingly simple application can require thousands of connections between devices to generate instant information updates. As IoT projects become more common and sophisticated, this could consist of linking tens and hundreds of thousands of devices. The exponentially more complicated connections between them will require a fundamentally new approach.

With so many nodes as part of a single application, managing data with a multi-cloud strategy is essential to organizing, aggregating and analyzing data from millions of IoT devices. This is why software architects and developers have turned to cloud-friendly messaging to solve common distributed computing woes. By decoupling endpoints, messaging software can make data exchanges fully asynchronous so systems can handle caching, buffering and routing challenges when nodes experience failures or slowdowns. This flexibility in IoT deployments enables real-time data movement that meets enterprise expectations.

Anticipating Security Flaws Within IoT-Powered Data Movement
Cybersecurity is a top concern for companies building out their IoT strategies, but it remains a struggle for many IT leaders. A study carried out by Bain & Co. cites security as one of the greatest current barriers to IoT adoption in the enterprise. When enabling the distribution and storage of so much data, it’s critical to protect information both while it’s at rest within connected devices and as it moves between systems. This involves addressing end-to-end security right from the beginning, with secure elements on the devices to secure connections and encrypted data transport, all the way to encrypting data within the enterprise and securing distribution across the eco-system. Managing access control at scale and in real time is not an easy challenge to solve.

This is where a robust data-movement strategy comes in. The key to architecting efficient, yet safe, IoT technologies is to establish an event mesh that enables seamless communications between assets distributed across geographies and hybrid cloud environments, and which allows bi-directional, device-specific communications for command-and-control. Admin systems can tap into the event mesh as a means of retrieving whatever information they need and have been allowed to access.

This event mesh needs to play its part in the end-to-end-security—from device authentication to access control and encrypting every single event and data stream. On the other hand, access control is not static; it needs to be managed dynamically according to the needs of a particular business process. An example of this would be ordering online and providing a parcel service with access to a car for a set time-window. This requires 100 percent auditability: who has accessed what data, and at what point in time?

Ensuring that data does not fall into the wrong hands is crucial for a successful IoT deployment. IT leaders can ensure secure initiatives by establishing a streamlined data-movement strategy.

Enterprises are looking to integrate IoT into their data-analytics strategies, but failure to launch prevents them from seeing the value. By prioritizing data movement from the start (from the multi-cloud environment), through its path (addressing the potential for security vulnerabilities) and to its endpoint (securely federating data across the partner eco-system), IT leaders can effectively see deployments through, thereby decreasing the risk of failure from the get-go.

Ricardo Gomez-Ulmke is VP of IoT at Solace and is responsible for defining the company’s IoT strategy. He works closely with customers and partners, helping them to shape the vision of their IoT initiatives straddling strategy and technology. With more than 20 years’ experience as a business technology professional, Ricardo has worked across many industries and technology cycles, always pushing the boundaries of traditional thinking to create lasting competitive advantage. For the last five years, he has been applying his passion for real-time, event-driven systems to the Internet of Things, in use cases such as connected vehicles, IoT-as-a-Service, Industrial IoT and more.