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The IoT Changes Everything, Even Application Monitoring

By Special Guest
Cher Zevala, Special Correspondent
February 13, 2018

The world is becoming a smarter place — and that’s not about IQ, though those are also generally going up. Rather, things that previously didn’t have a brain are gaining the ability to communicate and learn. Your toaster knows that you like a lighter brown than your partner; your car knows which route you prefer to go to work. The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing larger and faster, and it’s changing the world.

While most folks focus on how the IoT is modifying their daily routines, business and IT leaders are more interested in how the IoT is affecting security and efficiency. Despite the initial burst of vulnerabilities associated with IoT devices, most experts agree that the IoT is doing great things, especially for application monitoring.

Before the IoT, business leaders hardly bothered to notice the efficiency of their tools and app offerings. However, now that IoT devices connect to their networks, they are intrigued (and suspicious) enough to implement monitoring solutions. Here’s how this widespread adoption of application monitoring thanks to the IoT is affecting those tools and practices:

Endpoint Management
In offices everywhere, IoT devices are taking over. Smart thermostats, printers, security cameras, and more are beginning to outnumber traditional office equipment, and for the sake of network privacy, you must ensure these devices become and remain secure. Unfortunately, unlike traditional endpoints — such as desktop and laptop computers — many IoT devices have only rudimentary firmware and insubstantial operating systems. Thus, rather than installing antimalware, firewalls, and other protections directly onto the IoT device, you must find other security solutions to reduce vulnerabilities and keep your business safe.

The diversity of endpoints inside and outside your office means you can’t pick and choose security solutions dependent on the device. The IoT requires more unified endpoint security, which is a shift from traditional application monitoring practices. Focusing on a holistic solution to endpoint security requires building an endpoint management policy that recognizes all devices and strives to keep them secure. The only other option is refusing to accept IoT devices on your network — and it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to hold them out for long.

Performance Management
Operating a business at less than peak efficiency is like throwing dollars down the drain. For large businesses, unplanned application downtime can cost over $1.25 billion every year due to lost income and costs to return regular service. Just one hour of less than peak performance can cost a business any size between $300,000 and $1 million. It is vital that every device and application used by your business remains in prime condition — but the addition of IoT devices complicates that process.

Because the IoT increases the number and variation of endpoints in a network, application monitoring services need to be more agile to see and analyze new and diverse devices. To keep your network safe, you need end-to-end application monitoring, which provides a window into every device connected to your network. Then, it won’t matter whether you are monitoring a smartphone or a refrigerator; everything on your network will be visible. Even better, because you can see every device, you can better predict when hardware and software need maintenance or updates, so you can reduce the frequency of dangerous downtime.

Data, Data, Data
The IoT is driving application monitoring to collect greater and greater amounts of data. Because monitoring tools are working to ensure efficiency, they are acquiring and analyzing all sorts of information from nearly every device on the network.

Your job is to verify that the data gathered by monitoring efforts is useful to your business. Performance is obviously a necessary metric, but understanding resource metrics, such as utilization, saturation, and availability, is also vital. Further, you should collect as much information as possible on critical events, to include changes in your system’s behavior, alerts to danger, or attempts to scale your system in either direction. As long as you are collecting the right data, especially on untested IoT devices, your business can only improve.

Initially, monitoring efforts included observing only physical IT devices. With the rise of virtualization, cloud infrastructures, and software-as-a-service, application monitoring shifted to protect virtual assets. Now, in the modern days of network and application monitoring, you must watch your desktops, routers, and switches, protect your cloud, and understand the ecosystem of things that is continuing to morph every minute. It’s impossible to predict exactly where the IoT will take us, but considering the emerging future of application monitoring, we have to assume it is someplace good.




Edited by Ken Briodagh


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