How to Streamline Your Internet of Things Data Management

August 19, 2019 - 7 minutes read

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly. Many organizations are racing to leverage the advantages this technology brings to their sectors. According to a study from Boston-based technology research firm IDC, IoT spend will reach almost $750 billion globally this year, which is an increase of 15% from 2018. Another report by IDC shows that more than 41 billion devices will connect to IoT systems by 2025.

All of this growth could be hampered by one factor: data management. If enterprises and facilities using IoT do not prioritize data management, they could run into some serious roadblocks. Data is the lifeblood of IoT; without proper maintenance of data, IoT endeavors are much more likely to fail. But if you start planning early, you can keep ahead of the curve.

Plan Ahead… Now

Many IoT devices already generate vast amounts of data. But as new, more complex IoT systems spring up, they’ll require even more data to simply function. Although this data is valuable, it must remain stored as historical information, and its sheer size is nearly unfathomable. By making adjustments in business operations now to accommodate future IoT enhancements and considering all options in storing and securing your business’s data, you’re setting yourself up for success down the line.

Without proper methods to store and secure the data, it can become difficult to access, reference, and analyze after just a few days. If IoT will become an integral part of business operations, facilities management, business analytics, or any other major part of your organization, it’s important to create a flexible strategy regarding your data’s analytics and encryption.

Neglecting this aspect of your IoT systems can lead to decreased business profits, more risk mitigation, less efficient employees, and worse customer experiences.

To create a better and safer environment for your IoT data, there are several facets to think about.

Take Care of Your Data

Firstly, the size of your business and how many IoT data sources will be installed should factor into your calculations. With IoT in the mix, the more data generated could be better for your business; it can let you know how many employees to call in every day, how much merchandise will need to be replenished, and what is predicted to go out of stock first based on past trends. Besides this, IoT data could even let you know when it’s time to repair or replace your equipment.

Secondly, consider what data is actually needed and what is being generated needlessly. Look into what is currently being analyzed, and see if there are some dimensions you can remove from your dataset to decrease its size and server load. Set goals on what kinds of data your organization ultimately will want to track and analyze. Use this information to set up data storage accordingly.

Thirdly, figure out if there are any gaps in analysis that your organization would benefit from tracking and using sensors for.

Create a strategy around your organization’s roadmap and goals. Use this and the above two factors to inform your data collection, storage, and encryption. Without planning ahead, your data costs will most certainly reach beyond your budget.

Don’t Neglect Data Cybersecurity

Because data is more valuable than even oil, it’s an incredibly profitable commodity for hackers to breach. Any data collected for analytics or tracking needs will contain private and confidential information that will need to be encrypted as it passes through storage, security, and analytics software.

Neglecting cybersecurity is a problem that plagues IoT developers, digital agencies, web and mobile developers, and many more industries. But in the case of IoT, cybersecurity must be a top priority for all involved in the system’s development. Due to the interconnected nature of IoT, if a hack attacks one location, it could easily spread to other locations. In other words, your IoT system needs its own cybersecurity system that focuses on security and consumer privacy.

If a third-party vendor is claiming that their cybersecurity is fail-proof and 100% durable, run. This isn’t an achievable or realistic promise, and using another service to take care of cybersecurity could open a can of worms. Securing your system first-hand is more important, and if your organization wants extra peace of mind, the third-party service can be layered on top.

A great tip is to keep all of your IoT data on another network so that if a hacker infiltrates one of your organization’s networks, there’s still a chance that your IoT data is secure.

Continuously Refine Your Strategy

Investing in a scalable and flexible data storage system will help your business grow organically, without taking away a lot of budget from the get-go. As insights from analytics help push the business into a more efficient cycle, adjust your data storage strategy accordingly.

Most organizations will find that their data collection, storage, and security protocols were lacking and in need of an update anyway. Taking the time to make the upgrade seamless and scalable will save thousands of hours and dollars for the business.

And this savings can be re-invested into better-connected devices, tighter data security, and more efficient data storage. Even better, connecting devices and IoT systems to AI and predictive analytics can further push the effectiveness of your organization’s data analysis methods.

Keep it Up

As IoT continues to expand and grow, data storage and collection will evolve over the years. It’s important that your data strategy is flexible enough to handle major changes and scalable enough to grow with your business over time.

It’s not an easy task to figure out how and when your organization will upgrade its data storage systems, but it’s well worth the effort when done right.

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