Is Your Business Ready for the Internet of Things?
Check out how these steps can help your company get prepared.
If you’ve been wondering what all the hoopla is surrounding the Internet of Things (IOT), a buzzword popping up into everyday language, it means connections will move beyond our smartphones and laptops to power billions of everyday gadgets – from smart thermostat systems to heart monitoring implants.
“The Internet of Things means every device with an on switch is accessible over the Internet,” says Rich Garboski, CEO and founder of eTechHelp, a global business technology consultancy in New York, and host of eTech.TV. So what does that mean for your small business?
Garboski says the IOT can increase productivity, reduce costs, and even make a business more effective. “There are a lot of good things out there when it comes to energy, management and inventory control,” he says. But there are risks, too. You have to be mindful of privacy issues and data breaches that can come along with more devices communicating constantly.
The IOT can be a game changer for businesses of all types. Whether you’re in manufacturing, healthcare or anywhere in between, check off these tasks to get your business ready.
In the 1st Quarter
Tighten up your security. According to a Business Insider Intelligence Survey, 39 percent of the respondents said that security is the biggest concern in adopting the Internet of Things. Garboski says you can protect your business against external threats by using internal firewalls to tighten up security, which is especially important when dealing with devises outside of your network.
In the 2nd Quarter
Decide where to store data. You’ve got your entire business – your proposals, your expenses, your calendar – out there in a public cloud. “From a corporate espionage standpoint, that’s pretty critical information,” says Garboski. Ask yourself: ‘Should you place that data – from customers’ credit numbers to employees’ healthcare data – in a public cloud, a private cloud or an internal network?’ “Remember, if I’m a hacker and I gain access through a public cloud, I have access to every part of your business,” Advises Garboski. Do some privacy planning with your IT team to find the best place for corporate information. You’ll be glad you did.
In the 3rd Quarter
Make the switch to iPv6. The Internet Protocol (IP) is the method by which data moves from one device to another via the Internet. The IP version that regulates most Internet traffic today is called iPv4. “Everyone is still on that version, but it only allows for 4.3 billion unique IP addresses,” explains Garboski. “The problem is that there will be more than 50 billion objects on the Internet by 2020.” This means that every company needs to have IPv6 on its strategic roadmap to prevent increased costs that come with the scarcity of IPv4 addresses. Doing this will also help to prevent disruption to their websites, to tap into growth opportunities from government agencies that have made the switch and to keep up with competitors. If you don’t have an information technology department, you can outsource to an IT firm to make sure your network supports IPv6.
In the 4th Quarter
Look for opportunities to streamline. Experts agree that with the rapid development of the Internet of Things, more objects will be connected, giving entrepreneurs the necessary information to streamline business. “It could be used for anything from environmental monitoring, to alert systems for earthquakes and tsunamis to cities developing smart roadways that regulate smoother traffic flow,” says Garboski. Small businesses should start working to discern how the IOT can help move goods faster, reduce inventory waste, and increase the flow of information.
“The Internet of Things is great to track products,” says Garboski. “It simply depends on what your business does to determine what role it will play.”