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June - 2014 - issue > CIO Insights

Internet of Things: Connecting People, Processes, Data and Things

VC Gopalratnam
CIO-Cisco Systems Inc
Friday, June 6, 2014
VC Gopalratnam
Cisco Systems Inc, (NASDAQ:CSCO), headquartered in San Jose, California provides hardware, software and service offerings, to help create internet solutions. Incorporated in 1984, the company is known for the development of Internet Protocol (IP) based networking technologies and has a market cap of $120.18 billion.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been talking about business processes, data and devices and how each is connected. It is no longer about resources being connected to IT, since today, automobiles and appliances are connected to the internet, making the Internet of Everything all pervasive. The intrinsic desire of connectivity is satisfied as the Internet of Everything evolves to connect more people, processes, data and things than ever before. An essential part of the growth depends on how mobile devices, connected things and wearable technology adapt and develop to become more acquainted and intelligent.

The Internet of Things contains embedded technology to interact with internal states or the external environment, through which objects can sense and communicate, changing how and where decisions are made and by whom. The challenge is to build the right infrastructure, as companies face changing requirements of scale and data management, asserting the need for a secure and interoperable standard based infrastructure. A common first step is converting networks on propriety protocols to IP based networks. For enterprises, it requires partnerships between operational technology and IT to address security, performance and interoperability. Hence, no one organization can control the Internet of Things, necessitating an ecosystem partner as the environment moves towards an open standard community.

Security Model based on Attack Continuum
Moving on, with the advent of Internet of Things the need to share data between applications, sensors, infrastructure and people become imperative. Data is exponentially rising, demanding the need for the unstructured data to be managed and circulated among the right people. Hence, velocity, variety and volume are the key principles of data management, facilitates both challenge and opportunity around the Internet of Things.

As data is accelerating at top speed with the proliferation of things - systems, machines, equipment and devices, connected to the internet amidst the various subsystems, security concerns among enterprises escalate. Most systems have individual operating systems and protocols, sharing information with connected devices, making enterprises vulnerable. The need of the hour demand a security model based on an attack continuum, necessitating security policies ahead of any attack, furthered by a hardened infrastructure for lack of a better firm, to the extended perimeter of a particular enterprise not limited to one's own. Companies therefore, ensure steps for management of security policies at the infrastructural and architectural level, within the infrastructure rather than every end point outside.

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