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How to prepare your business for IoT integration

The Internet of Things gets more notice in the press for skillets that have Internet connectivity and car functions that you’ll never use, but you’ll likely see its true benefits in business before the acclaimed WiFi toaster goes mainstream. There is little you can do to prevent progress (nor should you fight against it), but unpreparedness can leave you and your business in a bad state of affairs.

Hackers are already noticing and exploiting corporate data leaks to gain a profit, and the basic defences of devices are simply not adequate to fend off attacks without additional help. There are also concerns on the part of the average person that the developments and technology brought about by the IoT will change the workplace and outdate certain jobs.

There is nothing to fear, so long as plans are made in order to stay ahead of the competition while remaining safe and stable. Here are a few of the main things to consider when you’re preparing an IoT business integration strategy:

Have defences inside and out

Before you fully integrate your business with various IoT devices, you need to consider the possibilities of what would happen should a hacker attack your business or workplace. There are already reports of baby monitors at homes being hacked so video feeds are available to hackers. Additional reports of cars getting hacked don’t ease the mind. Don’t let similar instances in the workplace occur in order to avoid corporate espionage and data theft.

As useful and necessary as IoT devices are, the losses incurred in a cyberattack will negate any benefits you receive. This in mind, make sure that you have clear security guidelines concerning data security in general as well as guidelines regarding the IoT. Research whatever devices you plan on using to make sure there aren’t any security vulnerabilities. Even if it stalls rollout for a couple of days, the security assurances will be worth it. Don’t be afraid to say no to a product until it gets safer for the company to use.

Since there will be a lot of sensitive data coming in and out of laptops and other mobile devices, any remote or traveling employees should be equipped with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will connect the user to an offsite secure server and encrypt their connection. This will keep otherwise sensitive information on unsafe networks from getting into the hands of hackers while simultaneously keeping the user anonymous online. Look up an acclaimed option and make sure there are uniform VPN guidelines for your company.

Get ready for more data

Whether you are trying to analyse new ways to reach and retain customers or trying to think of new statistics to help you better train employees, you should try to think ahead of time in order to accommodate the new data coming in. Even doing something as simple as setting aside a certain amount of time each week in order to analyse and improve team efforts using IoT data and processes can pay back greatly on your initial investment.

Since there are so many different types of devices that can be used, it is nearly impossible to give specific advice for every business or reader. Yet with the data you acquire, you will be able to see how tools are being used and when they are being used. This will aid you in making decisions regarding allocation of limited resources and the future of how you work with IoT devices.

Adapt to the new options

The IoT, like all technology, will change some of the ways the office works and further change roles people will play in companies. Some jobs and tasks currently done by people will be taken over or made easier by IoT data and devices. Perhaps data automatically sent from wearables or devices around the offices will give some workers in your company more time and energy to focus elsewhere. Don’t let that go to waste, and see if there is anything that can be done in the meanwhile.

See if you can help yourself and others work on creating a plan and training program to better use IoT devices. Many will have features that will be ignored by employees for the reason of being too complicated or relatively hidden. If you are going to integrate your business with the IoT, make sure that you have the framework to make the most of it.

Make sure hackers can’t cripple the workplace

Even if you are going to be heavily reliant on the IoT for your business in the future, don’t find yourself completely reliant on the devices to the point where a hacker can shut down your business with a few clicks. Have a backup plan and make sure that the basic operations of your business can go on despite any interference or malfunctioning. IoT devices are still new, and many of them haven’t been perfected yet. You should place their reliability in question for the time being, despite their advantages. You will also want to make sure employees are similarly prepared to use older systems and programs in place of the benefits of IoT devices.

Having a backup plan of this nature might seem redundant at first, but you’ll soon find that it is useful to have a clear (hopefully written) plan of action in the event of a cyberattack. If there is a constant data leak, you’ll be able to stop it and investigate while you continue regular activities. There are a lot of different factors to consider when you are trying to make your workplace friendlier to the IoT, but you should have every confidence your business can handle these changes with minimal difficulty so long as you are thoughtful and open with your plans.

Remember that security has to take precedence over convenience and that some people will adapt better than others. Are you prepared for the expansion of the IoT into the workplace? Do you have any concerns or fears about hackers manipulating the IoT or the IoT taking over some of your job duties?

Jen Martinson is a writer and blogger for Secure Thoughts