Cloud Solutions for Your IoT Strategy
By Aleks Hara, Director, Cloud Service Sales
September 28, 2021
With the astronomical rise of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, it is no wonder that a whole new breed of cloud-deployed solutions are serving the needs of this new landscape. From machine learning and AI, to data collection and analysis, these solutions strive to make sense of the massive amounts of output that IoT sensors generate.
With the proliferation of sensors across all aspects of our lives, and so much data being collected and processed, the general public has gradually become more aware of the potential for security gaps such as Wifi-enabled doorbells and baby monitors being hacked.
Security across the IoT and Cloud in industrial and enterprise applications has also never been more important or more under-addressed than it is now. The risk an organization takes is always increasing in proportion to the number of sensors they are deploying, the amount of connectivity and data collection, and the number of cloud solutions needed to support the environment.
For instance, large networks of sensors are now used to monitor farm crops and soil, cities’ air pollution, and sewage treatment. Cloud solutions are deployed in conjunction to process the output, perform automation tasks, and provide key information through a dashboard. Making sure these solutions work well with each other, are performing accurately and efficiently, and are integrated in a holistic security approach, is an ever-evolving challenge.
Industrial digital twins is another example where offices, factories, and other manufacturing plants are deploying sensors on windows, doors, and machinery so a software version of the facility can be updated in real-time. The ‘twin’ can therefore create maintenance schedules based on which equipment actually needs to be checked – rather than just checking a pump every month whether the maintenance is needed or not. This can drastically reduce maintenance costs and also improve equipment availability.
Since IoT sensors are usually extremely small with little, or no, local storage, they perform their best when paired with a robust and powerful cloud that has the storage and capabilities to collect and analyze the data.
So, how do we prepare for this next generation of IoT cloud solutions and usage? A cloud that is connected 24/7 to millions of sensors constantly feeding data that require storage and analysis?
Gartner has estimated that 90% of companies with poor public cloud strategies will expose themselves to unnecessary risks. It’s clear that cloud service providers and the IT service companies that help to manage these cloud deployments must take security seriously, but the end-user of the data – the company using the cloud service – must also take their own responsibility seriously.
Basic security hygiene and policies will protect you from most IoT security weaknesses – in many cases devices are installed without even changing the access password! To decisively fix the challenge, however, you must enforce cybersecurity best practices at the management level. That means ensuring that proper configurations, as well as secure authentication, are in place. This creates a bigger than usual challenge for your IoT strategy because of the sheer scale of the number of sensors and devices, but the protection required by each one will be similar.
Cloud solutions will naturally play an important role in your IoT strategy – this cannot be avoided – but think carefully about your network design. When scaling up from just managing users to sensors and devices you may need to revise how best to secure a larger number of devices.
WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with 1000’s of users connecting from around the world, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.
WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.