IoT innovation is transforming enterprises. A simple, secure solution to onboard the flood of devices will be required to grow your IoT digital business.

IoT devices are changing the way we do business, the way we interact, the way our cities are secured, and the way first responders respond. These devices are insinuating themselves in every aspect of our lives.

As IoT becomes a critical enabler for digital business processes, and as the number of devices surges, so too do IoT security concerns. The question is; how do we ensure these billions of devices don’t compromise our networks?

IoT in warehouse blog body image

The right direction

In order to ensure that this flood of devices doesn’t compromise our networks, three major actions will be required to connect, manage and properly secure IoT devices. They are: discover, segment, and monitor.

Discover: First, every object connected to the network must be discovered and classified. Identifying each IoT device is essential to define the network requirements and implement policies such as, quality of service, security and bandwidth. These parameters will become part of the device profile in order to easily manage the service that is automatically created by the network.

Segment: Second, and here’s the crucial part. It is essential to segment a single physical network into separate virtual networks, or containers. This will ensure that each service, or application, has its own dedicated segment so that in the event of a security issue, specific IoT device traffic can be contained and easily blocked from communicating with other parts of the network.

According to Gartner, “by 2021, more than 60% of all IoT devices on enterprise infrastructure will be "virtually segmented" from traditional business applications, up from less than 5% today.”

Monitor: Third, IoT devices need to be monitored to ensure that there is no unusual activity and that the devices and applications are functioning as intended. Each authorized object is stored in an inventory so that IT knows exactly and instantly, how many devices are connected on the network, along with the vendor device type and serial number, the exact location in the facility, and status on the network.

Having a finger on the pulse of the network lets IT managers be proactive rather than reactive. Tapping into the device vendor inventory provides the information managers need about where devices are on the network at all times. Ensuring that all network-connected assets are clearly identified in the database, and that they are maintained or upgraded, based on a predetermined timeline, greatly improves the global information system security. And, staying ahead of any potential issues is more than half the battle.

Simplified, secure IoT onboarding

Simplifying configuration is key to handling the influx of IoT devices; doing it securely is the challenge. The highest security risk with IoT devices is not on the objects themselves, but rather the doors they open to other network segments. Once the object is compromised and hacked, the whole enterprise network becomes vulnerable. When you consider the fact that enterprises connect millions of devices, the challenge becomes clear.

The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise IoT Containment solution provides access to a database with over 17 million IoT devices to quickly identify a connected object and automatically provision a configuration associated with a specific device. There is no need to manually search for devices on the database, this is done automatically.

How it works

With the ALE IoT containment solution, devices are quickly and securely onboarded while protecting the network at the same time. Once a device is discovered and profiled in terms of an authorized application, the solution virtually segments the physical infrastructure to make sure each object connected to the network receives the correct quality of service (QoS), bandwidth, and security. The network leverages the user, object, and application profiling capabilities to easily and automatically create and assign virtual networks to each IoT device, making sure that only the right application(s) can run within a container.

A single management system, which can only be achieved with a single physical network, monitors all IoT systems and users providing complete visibility and control.

IoT digital business in your industry

With IoT containment healthcare providers can operate a converged network that is virtually separated, enhancing security for all patients, clinicians, staff, and visitor devices and functions. In the hospitality sector, a smart room with high-speed, high-quality Wi-Fi helps hoteliers grow their business and provide guests with an unforgettable experience. From learning to research, IoT digital business touches almost every aspect of the education environment. In the transportation industry IoT can increase safety, improve the passenger experience, as well as drive down operational costs. For governments, IoT enablement and containment is improving how municipalities gather data with the potential to transform the public sector.

Learn more about how ALE IoT solutions enable enterprise customers across industries to transform a single physical network into a secure multi-service network, and grow their IoT digital business.

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About the author

Mauro Rizzi

Network Business Development Director, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Network Business Development Director, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

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