The devices we use are getting smarter. Every IT professional has almost certainly had to field questions about the internet of things (IoT) and how it is going to work. However, some of the larger questions are going unanswered.
The increase in demand
On the technical side of things, IT managers need to think about server space. The increasing array of devices - from watches to thermostats to fridges - that will need to be connected to the internet will increase the demand on your existing network. It is time to think about where all the data will go.
A lot of this depends on the number of devices that will be transmitting and receiving data. One estimate holds that a new server is needed for roughly every 600 smartphones using that data center.
You might think that you will never get to 600 IoT devices, but bear in mind that your servers will also host a range of other types of data, from applications your company uses to shared document space. When you add in IoT devices, you might end up increasing server demand beyond your current ability.
What about security?
Then there's the issue of cybersecurity. Your server might not be ready to safely keep the mass amounts of data that the IoT will generate. An EY white paper points out that "With the plethora of data that they will hold, storage servers will have to be updated and secured all the time", which is something many companies are not ready for.
Security is already more of a problem with the IoT because it provides a lot of useful gateways into a network for cybercriminals. Your business might have excellent security on its computers and smartphones, but what about its thermostat or microwave? If these are easy to break into, it could give criminals access to your servers.
How will you remain efficient?
Then there's the issue of efficiency. You might want to use your IoT devices to collect data in order to improve your business. This could be as simple as working out at what the optimal temperature of your office is, but it will require collecting an astonishing amount of new data.
MongoDB points out that "relational databases weren’t designed for this", so you might need to upgrade as soon as possible if you want to be using your IoT devices for anything more than a novelty.
The IoT is one of the most exciting innovations of our age and companies willing to invest in it could end up significantly improving their businesses. However, the back end must be considered. You need to be sure your servers can handle the load before taking this new technology on board.