As Organizations Become Increasingly Connected, the Rise of IoT Operations is Accelerating


Enterprise IoT solutions are maturing rapidly, in both size and scope, as more organizations recognize the value of connected systems and realize the potential to adopt new innovations as the cost of sensors continues to go down and the power of edge and cloud networking continues to go up.

According to GlobalData in a December 2020 forecast report, the global number of Enterprise-related Internet of Things connections will reach 11.2 billion by 2024, dominated by short-range and cellular connections, but with strong growth (starting from a much smaller base) for LPWANs. While 2020 showed a deceleration given the impact of the global pandemic, GlobalData says, from 2021 onwards, growth is expected to pick up again, with solution providers introducing COVID-19 detection and mitigation, including room/building occupancy monitoring and management, and remote thermal temperature scanning, which have had a positive effect on new deployments.

GlobalData, in the same report, predicted Enterprise IoT deployments by the end of 2020 we will see 5.5 billion connections, which will rise to 11.3 billion by 2024, for a CAGR of 15%.

According to Grand View Research, Industrial IoT (a closely related cousin of enterprise IoT) is expected to reach nearly $950 billion by 2025, projected to expand at a CAGR of nearly 30% during the forecast period. “Rising demand for machine-to-machine systems, the need to contextualize the Operation Technology (OT) data, and preference for predictive maintenance are the factors anticipated to drive the Industrial IoT market growth,” Grand View Research said when they introduced their report in June 2019.

Every major hardware, software, and services tech company is investing in enterprise IoT across massive global industry verticals, including healthcare, education, manufacturing, energy, travel, automotive, and others. Increasing adoption of BYOD and mobile devices is another major factor fueling the growth of the enterprise IoT market, as the increasing availability of high-speed broadband, whether 5G, CBRS, or other network types, edge compute solutions for real-time control systems, and cloud capacity for storage, compute, analysis, and business intelligence applications for distributed enterprise IoT applications.

Key players in this global market include the world’s largest enterprises themselves, who have been serving enterprise clients for decades: Intel Corporation (U.S.), Cisco Systems, Inc. (U.S.), Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Amazon Web Services, Bosch Software Innovations, AT&T, BT, Verizon, and thousands of others, along with tens of thousands of start-ups and mid-cap companies.

Recently, SecuriThings, a platform that automates the security and management of IoT devices, closed a $14M round 6 years after they were established in 2015, focusing on endpoint protection to detect & mitigate threats across devices. For the last three years, SecuriThings has expanded into operations, given the growing complexity enterprises were faced with as they continued to implement broader and more powerful connected systems.

“Today, we are addressing a serious gap in cybersecurity associated with enterprise systems that can include hundreds and thousands of devices, including security cameras, access control, building management, environmental and energy-saving solutions, and more,” Roy Dagan, Co-founder, and CEO, SecuriThings said. “IT teams were lacking in the skills necessary to monitor and manage so many different kinds of devices, and OT teams didn’t have the insight or data to answer basic questions like what devices they have, whether they work, whether they are compliant, and what the risks of attack might be.”

These teams, which some are calling IoTOps, lacked the technology to centralize and automate the security and management of all these devices, according to Dagan, which inspired the development of the SecuriThings platform, enabling services for government agencies, law enforcement, airport operators, healthcare facilities, universities, casinos and hotels, and many more.

“The value of connected devices and systems is no longer a question,” Dagan said. “Connected devices enable organizations to operate more efficiently, to create safer public spaces and working environments, to reduce energy costs, to comply with regulations, and to improve entire buildings, factories, and campuses, with the systems integrators they select responsible for initial engineering design, procurement and set up. While more and more of these devices are becoming IP enabled and massively deployed in the field, they are also becoming a management liability.”

IoTOps teams, with the right tools, can account for, monitor, and manage diverse devices, as they are accountable for ensuring corporate assets are protected, given the responsibility for ongoing management.

“We have only just begun to see the complexity involved,” Dagan explained. “Are the devices secure? Are their firmware versions up to date? Are they within compliance of organizational policies? Are they working as expected? Are they delivering the value promised, including a solid ROI?”

CIOs and other technology leaders inside of large enterprises are experiencing a new era in enterprise IoT and are investing in better tools to support IoTOps, the teams that are accountable for the deployment of IoT devices, their availability, and their cybersecurity.

“These teams are responsible for monitoring the device status, directing technicians, defining and implementing organizational policies, resolving operational issues, overseeing upgrades, and more,” Dagan said, and without the help of discovery, automation, transparency into how each device is running in real-time, the risks are very real.

SecuriThings categorizes the capabilities in 3 buckets:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Automated operations

“Data is key,” Dagan explained. IoTOps starts with the collection of tremendous amounts of data produced by every managed device, and this metadata is analyzed and translated into alerts that can be prioritized, leveraging AI and Machine Learning capabilities. “Automation is essential as the scale of enterprise IoT deployments continue to grow and become more distributed, even globally distributed. The ongoing operations from being performed manually and require IoTOps solutions to run multiple tasks such as password rotation and firmware upgrade, across these devices, in an automated manner.”

A unified, centralized view is required to get full visibility across all connected devices and control both their cybersecurity and ongoing maintenance in one single pane of glass.

The upside for remote management includes a greater level of predictive and even prescriptive maintenance and automated control system operations.

“The time has come for IoTOps to be equipped with dedicated solutions, which will provide them with full visibility and control over the devices they are accountable for,” Dagan said.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Luke Bellos
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