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Preparing customer networks for IoT: Paessler’s top 10 steps

Paessler has outlined 10 steps for customers aiming to prepare their networks for the Internet of Things (IoT).

In an article for Enterprise IT News, Paessler‘s APAC director of operations George Wilson explains that billions of internet-connected devices will soon be in existence and require management, maintenance and security.

Monitoring systems can play a role in empowering network managers to anticipate, diagnose and solve issues, often before problems occur,” Wilson writes.

Step 1 Customers will first need to understand what the IoT means for their business. The IoT will change some businesses more than others.

“A professional services firm might be concerned about integrating a smart thermostat, whereas a manufacturer will face the challenges of unifying a number of disparate systems, machinery and devices,” says Wilson.

“Network administrators will be at the forefront of the integration process and play a large role in making connected devices functional and useful.”

Step 2 is about preparing for integration. “While some connected devices will be productised and designed to fit neatly into networks, others will be homegrown and rely heavily on customisation,” Wilson says.

“With all these different device types, integration becomes a challenge. It is critical that all connected devices be brought under one roof so they can be accurately monitored.”

Step 3 Understand the connecting protocols, with the main protocols connecting the IoT being the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), REST APIs, and XML.

“By gaining a stronger understanding of how devices interact, you’ll be able to design more sophisticated network architectures, which make monitoring that much easier.

Step 4 Understand hardware requirements for older as well as new devices. Many devices are outdated or connected by small computers like Raspberry Pi, Wilson writes.

Step 5 Be flexible. The IoT may be the biggest challenge for network administrators since cloud services and BYOD.

“You will have to be both patient and flexible to handle the complex challenges of monitoring a network of connected devices and deal with the pressure to get it done,” explains Paessler’s Wilson.

Step 6 Plan proactively. “To maintain uptime and availability, be sure to plan for bandwidth usage from connected devices.”

Step 7 Recognise that anything with an IP address can be hacked. “Before you connect the refrigerator to central IT, be sure to have a security plan in place.”

Step 8 Take advantage of the opportunity build custom solutions for all those monitoring problems

Step 9 Keep every ‘thing’ in order. Modern IT systems are often chaotic, so map and track everything added to the network as you go. “This will save you plenty of headaches in the long run,” warns Wilson.

Step 10 Think ahead. Have a plan for what’s next, even if connected device projects start small and seem relatively inconsequential.

Click here to read the full thought leadership piece by Paessler’s George Wilson, which provides a lot more detail on the different steps towards IoT.

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