Managing Network Performance and Visibility in an Era of Hyperconnectivity
May 11, 2020

Tim Mullahy
Liberty Center One

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world. From augmented reality advanced analytics to new consumer solutions, IoT and the cloud are together redefining both how we work and how we engage with our audiences. They are changing how we live, as well.


Per analyst firm IDC, worldwide spending on IoT will reach $1.1 trillion by 2022. In a separate brief, the firm also predicted that the number of connected devices, including machines, sensors, and cameras, will top 41 billion and generate approximately 79 zettabytes of data. In short, we stand at the precipice of a hyperconnected world.

A world of smart city initiatives and connected homes. A world where advanced insights pertaining to everything from product performance to customer behavior are just a few clicks away. A world where everything is online.

There's a lot to be gained from this kind of environment. However, IoT and hyperconnectivity are not without their challenges and risks. Far from it.

For one, there's the matter of performance and bandwidth management. The traditional centralized computing model simply doesn't work for networks of sensors and devices which, more often than not, are distributed across vast geographic distances. The successful configuration of network devices within your organization requires a different networking model and hardware.

■ Data should be analyzed at the “edge,” or as close to it as possible. Each sensor and device should either be connected to a nearby processing node or capable of processing data on its own. This saves bandwidth and reduces latency, as the network doesn't get clogged by information processing requests.
 
■ In lieu of traditional network infrastructure, organizations that seek to leverage hyperconnectivity should instead deploy a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). This technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to intelligently map a network and route traffic. Most SD-WAN platforms also include functionality to allow IT to visualize the network's layout.

■ Incorporate big data and analytics expertise. You can gain considerable insights from the massive volume of data generated by connected endpoints, but only if you have people who understand how this data is analyzed, collected, and utilized.

Having an optimized network does your organization no good if it cannot actually see what's happening on that network. Moreover, having a fleet of connected endpoints you cannot manage monitor or control puts sensitive assets under direct threat of cyberattack. Managing data security requires both visibility and control.

■ Advanced endpoint management software is a must, as is a solid mobility strategy. Your organization cannot effectively make the leap to IoT without first having control over its smartphones and wearable devices. IT should, with relative ease, be able to view everything they need from a single interface.

■ Consider deploying an AI-based cybersecurity solution. Acting more as digital immune systems than traditional reactive solutions, these platforms are uniquely-suited for the expansive, constantly-evolving nature of IoT networks.

■ Network segmentation is similarly critical. IoT traffic should be carried over its own separate network for both security and efficiency. For consumer IoT devices in the workplace, deploy a guest network that is completely disconnected from critical architecture. 

The Internet of Things is one of the most disruptive technologies the business world has ever seen. Hyperconnectivity represents a considerable challenge from a performance, security, and management standpoint. However, this challenge is far outshone by the benefits should you overcome it.

Tim Mullahy is Managing Director at Liberty Center One
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