The more things change...
If managing and securing servers, PCs and mobile devices weren't enough, the burgeoning market for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions is about to give IT pros a lesson in adaptability in the data center. According to Gartner, a technology research firm, over 20 percent of enterprises will establish security services devoted to safeguarding parts of their businesses touched by sensors, smart devices and a bevy of connected technologies that constitute the IoT.
Last year, Gartner famously predicted that by 2020, 26 billion devices would be pumping data across the Internet of Things, requiring enterprises to adjust their data center strategies. In addition to beefing up their networking, data processing and analytics capabilities, IT organizations will be forced to come to terms with a massively altered security landscape.
"The IoT now penetrates to the edge of the physical world and brings an important new 'physical' element to security concerns," said Gartner research vice president Ganesh Ramamoorthy in a statement. "This is especially true as billions of things begin transporting data."
On the IoT, the digital and physical worlds will often collide, adding a new wrinkle to IT security. The shift from general-purpose PCs and computing systems to specialized hardware, some of which can affect physical environments, represents "a conspicuous inflection point for IT security, and the chief information security officer (CISO) will be on the front lines of its emerging and complex governance and management," Gartner stated.
In some respects, IT security pros can expect their sphere of influence to reach further within their organizations.
"The IoT redefines security by expanding the scope of responsibility into new platforms, services and directions," Ramamoorthy said. "Moving forward, enterprises should consider reshaping IT or cybersecurity strategies to incorporate known digital business goals and seek participation in digital business strategy and planning."
On the IT management front, the IoT's spread will echo recent transformative trends in tech, except louder.
"Governance, management and operations of security functions will need to be significant to accommodate expanded responsibilities, similar to the ways that bring your own device (BYOD), mobile and cloud computing delivery have required changes - but on a much larger scale and in greater breadth," Ramamoorthy remarked. "IT will learn much from its operational technology predecessors in handling this new environment."
Adopting IoT technologies seems like a complex endeavor, incorporating elements of cloud computing, mobile device management and physical security, among other factors, added Ramamoorthy. But a solid foundation in the basics of IT management and security will serve IT managers well during the transition. Reassuringly, he stated that "the core principles of data, application, network, systems and hardware security are still applicable."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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