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IoT and the IIoT: why service assurance must be built into the enterprise network

The acquisition of Jasper Technologies by Cisco in early February sent out a strong message about the growing importance of the IoT (Internet of Things) sector, especially within the enterprise.

IoT is now driving technical and industrial innovation, powering everything from wearables, machines and vehicles to expanding connectivity, improving productivity, reducing OPEX and enhancing worker safety. The ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ (IIoT) is breathing new life into heavy industry, engineering and manufacturing. The impact on growth is considerable and Accenture is estimating IIoT will add $14.2tn to the global economy over the next decade.

IoT represents the next phase of network evolution in which new devices, physical objects, systems and applications are all communicating with each other and with people. The first movers in this space can only achieve exceptional productivity and growth by having an understanding of the relationships and interdependencies between the sheer number of IIoT connections generated by sensors, devices and machines. IoT is also incredibly important given the rise in enterprises transforming into digitally-based businesses.

While IoT is arguably a game-changing way of thinking within the enterprise, other aspects arising out of its popularity need to be addressed, such as security issues. Traditionally in enterprise security, the entry points have been the device and the server; only two entry points in the entire network. But now with IoT on the way to becoming the norm and more and more employers promoting “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), smartwatches door locks, and CCTV are going to also create many more entry points for cyber-attacks. Companies need to realise this very early on if they are to keep secure. But how can they do it?

Companies can slash costs and save time to fix IoT and IIoT problems through the continuous monitoring of traffic-based data, augmented by real-time analytics. The end-to-end visibility provided by service assurance systems will enable companies to proactively identify and resolve performance problems with their service delivery environment, and malicious incursions before they impact revenue.

Within the space of a few years, IoT and IIoT networks will become very large and very complex IT infrastructures, supporting mission critical systems and billions of devices. Companies cannot afford mistakes that will impact communications, processes, productivity, or the security of workers. Having the right service assurance in place within the network from day one to quickly identify and trace the root cause of a performance problem will be essential to the success of IoT and IIoT.

Ron Lifton is marketing director of NETSCOUT.