Building a foundation for security in an IoT Implementation

Cloud IoT Security

Security is not a destination. It's a constant for every technology roadmap.

An effective security strategy is delivered through ongoing management of tools and processes to help prevent system exposure to evolving threats. It’s a commitment that requires recurring investment in resources, time, education, and solutions.

Here are six critical steps you can take to building a foundation for security in your next IoT implementation:

1. Define – Spend the time necessary to develop a strong definition around what "secure" means for your technology implementation. There will be parts of your system architecture that are more sensitive to security threats than others, and a sound definition will allow you to concentrate your focus on the most important parts of your technology landscape. Get a baseline that includes everything from the system registry files, file system content and makeup, application listing, hardware interface inventory, machine health and network configuration. Once this baseline has been defined, you can constantly compare the current state of the solution to this baseline, identifying and alerting you to potential new vulnerabilities.

2. Isolate and Protect – Once you’ve identified those areas that require increased security focus, it’s important to then work to both isolate and limit access to those areas of the architecture. Examples of solutions that help drive this level of focus include network segmentation/isolation and data encryption.

3. Limit Points of Exposure – Limiting points of vulnerability and minimizing points of failure is essential in helping to prevent potential security threats. Examples include working to collapse data management, services, integrations, and applications into distinct and defendable components of the architecture, limiting redundancy and unintended points of access into your technology architecture.

4. Build a Defense Perimeter – After you have identified, isolated, centralized, and protected key areas of your solution, it’s time to surround them with constant monitoring and testing. It’s important to refine your security strategy through an effective and recurring use of standard security tools and methodologies. This includes your end-to-end security management system, including the people, process, and tools that are dedicated to protecting your solution. Maintaining a real-time view of the health of your solution through a centralized management system is equally important. If your systems are not connected to a central management platform you may already be exposed to risks and vulnerabilities and unaware of what may lie ahead. Not having a defense wall presents an opportunity cost that far outweighs the expense to put a centralized system in place.

5. Educate – Today’s security threats are already old news, with new vulnerabilities and risks emerging every day it’s important to stay educated on the evolving landscape of security solutions, best practices, compliance standards, and threats.

6. Repeat – Security is a recurring necessity and should be designed into any business, product, and technology roadmap. It is should not hold you back or prevent you from innovating. It’s simply a consideration that needs to be continuously respected and managed in order to deliver great products.

A decade ago, no one thought much about hackers infiltrating a network to gain access and control over an automobile, a healthcare device, a webcam or even a gas station pump. Nowadays, it’s happening with more and more regularity and there is a fine line between being one of those companies in the headlines and not.

The threats will continue to evolve but, with the foundation for security described above, your company can prepare to the best of its ability for whatever comes next.

Don't let threats prevent your company from innovating. Find out how an IoT platform like Canopy can provide help with security as well as other features such as real-time monitoring and incident management.

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The Key to Scaling a Self-Service Kiosk Fleet


It’s true, the bigger they are, the harder the fall. Kiosk and vending owners and operators know it can be costly and painful when scaling a fleet from hundreds to thousands of machines. Every time those devices are down, the business takes a hit, and customers walk away, probably frustrated and likely not to return. We’ve all seen it, just watch this video. Downtime comes at a high price, including a loss of sales, costly repairs, and potentially can drive customers away.

Making a diagnosis

Operators can gain increased visibility and more efficiently manage a network of kiosks by leveraging an IoT platform.  An IoT platform allows for an operator to have real-time visibility into what’s currently happening on their machines, as well as what will occur in the future. With an IoT platform providing predictive analytics operators can scale more reliably and perform maintenance on the machine before failure s taking place.

IoT software installed on a kiosk or vending machine listens to and processes all events happening and is foundational in diagnosing potential business impacting issues. Then the platform leverages complex event processing capabilities to handle massive amounts of data, and then correlate historical trends in the data to drive observations that might not be as naturally visible to an operator. When a fleet of self-service kiosks begins to communicate in this fashion, an operator can experience measurable time and cost savings.

Planning for scale from the beginning is critical for success

A high degree of real-time visibility coupled with automation is so important, especially when it comes to scaling a business. When you’re going from 100 machines to 500, most device management solutions will provide you with an acceptable level of visibility to run your operations. However, it’s entirely different when you are taking thousands and even tens of thousands of self-service kiosks and vending machines to market.

Without the right technology to support scaling a fleet, degradation of system performance will damage business operations. More important is the potential to leave a bad impression with the end customer. Risking a bad customer experience is particularly troublesome, especially when many businesses are introducing self-service kiosks to improve the experience and increase customer loyalty. It’s safe to say; we only get one chance to get a self-service customer experience right. System downtime, data loss, frustrated customers, and increased service volume are all signs that the underlying technology can’t support scalability.

Is what you have in place today going to work for you tomorrow? Here’s what you need to know.

Architecting an IoT implementation for growth

Start by looking at your technology investments and see if what you have in place today is going to work for you tomorrow. Keep in mind both current and future needs. If the current system isn’t architected with scale in mind, then it will not be able to accommodate future expansion as your business grows. The self-service kiosk and vending market are projected to reach $30.B USD by 2024 according to market research. Scalability should be a top consideration when thinking about IoT. Pay attention to scalability from day one when rolling out new technologies and implementing IoT. Otherwise, it can be a very costly endeavor.  Learn more about the scalability in my video.

Partnering for success

In this evolving market, there are many choices. Don’t have to go it alone, and make sure to select the right partner to help design an appropriate roadmap with the right IoT technology. Make sure they know IoT and are willing and able to learn your business as well as, if not better than your team. Selecting the right vendors, partners, and technology is the game changer for businesses entering this exciting market.  Getting this right could be the difference in winning versus losing business.

Embracing the Internet of Things

IoT is an exciting and energizing industry. It’s an industry filled with innovations that can positively disrupt existing, and create entirely new business models. It’s equally important however to understand that IoT is a maturing market.  Every day there are new ideas, evolving standards and advancing technologies to consider.  It’s easy to get caught up in all this excitement and get drawn into new IoT ideas, but it’s imperative to remain focused on the overarching business objective. Make sure that an IoT implementation is continually re-evaluated to ensure that it will drive measurable results.

Are you rolling out smart vending and kiosks implementation? Then you need a back office for IoT. Learn about Canopy, the most advanced IoT platform for managing large networks of connected devices.


Basics of IoT: Data Analytics


Today, it seems like we’re reading about more advanced and intelligent kiosk implementations across every industry. Whether it is in healthcare with the medication disposal kiosks, Walgreens introduced last fall in 14 locations across Indiana, or it’s the new self-service devices at McDonald's for automating ordering. Even sporting and entertainment venues are getting in the game by introducing kiosks and integrated mobile solutions to bring new levels of play and competition to sports such as golf and bowling. Managing data flowing to and from these devices back to the enterprise can be complicated, but very powerful when harnessed and channeled through an IoT platform.

When it comes to data analytics, there are two common ways operators of large networks of smart vending machines traditionally look at data:

Historical data: Operators collect historical data to analyze the overall performance of their devices and generate reports that provide a retroactive view of the last 30, 60 or 90 days.

Real-time data: Smart kiosks and vending enable data running through the machines and into a management platform to be organized into real-time data metrics to monitor hardware availability, software availability, transactions and revenue performance across the fleet and make real-time adjustments to the business.

There is also a third category – one that is the most overlooked.

Predictive Data: Operators of vending machines can make their business more efficient by leveraging current technology trends such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and complex event processing. Empowered with the ability to take data from a fleet of machines and evaluate historical trends to predict outcomes in the future – and measure against these predicted outcomes to make business decisions is a game changer. Tracking events enables the business to predict, based on usage, when parts might fail and the ability to dispatch a technician to replace that part before it experiences failure. When monitoring software events, predictive maintenance can enable software distribution for updates and patches to ensure maximum availability and uptime.

While new kiosk implementations span many different industries and applications, the underlying technology has significant commonalities, especially regarding data capture. Common attributes of hardware availability, software uptime, network connectivity, transactions and customer information to name a few. Many vending and kiosk solutions hold inventory as well. Capturing, storing, and processing data from these devices is the core of IoT.  Imagine the long-term business benefits in improved machine uptime, customer experience and bottom line with a fleet of machines optimally managed by leveraging the power of Big Data.

Hear more about the data analysis category most overlooked by self-service operators today in this video.

Are you rolling out smart vending and kiosks implementation? Then you need a back office for IoT. Learn about Canopy, the most advanced IoT platform for managing large networks of connected devices.


What is IoT?

In my last blog post, I shared my predictions for the Internet of Things in 2017. Prior to that, I talked about why I believe IoT is real, and how there is an opportunity for many businesses to improve operations, enable automation and drive new revenue.

In this in a short video, I answer the question I’ve been asked so many times.

What is IoT?

 

Check out this 7-minute video and learn:

Ways in which IoT surrounds us every day.

What we can learn from e-commerce and the similarities with IoT.

How IoT is being used in the enterprise to become smarter like our homes.

How IoT can play a meaningful role in many businesses.

How to outfit a store with IoT-enabled devices like kiosks, vending machines, Point of Sale systems, digital signage and more to improve the customer experience.


IOT predictions

2017 IoT Predictions: Get ready, 2017 is going to pave the way for IoT adoption

IOT predictions
Make room for IoT. It's a necessary step to moving any business forward. What can the world expect from IoT technology in the upcoming year? IoT implementations that bring in new revenue streams and deliver real-time business insights. We’ll see a rising trend in the intersect of virtualization and IoT.

As the number of connected things continues to rise, it has been projected to reach 50.1 billion things in 2020, and there is estimated to be 44 trillion gigabytes of data from all those connected things—that’s equal to the number of stars in the universe. It’s incredible!

Has all the hype around IoT finally settled into something real? Is there firm ground below and will we see a solid foundation for IoT in 2017? You bet. Here are seven solid predictions for IoT in 2017.

Digital to replace physical

Businesses are going to replace more people with machines to improve the customer experience. Rising wages and economic pressures are forcing companies to focus more on automation. We are going to see that happen more and more in hospitality, and healthcare, with implementations like ordering and patient check-in.

Declining costs

Cost of storage, compute and sensors will continue to decline to make it more cost-effective for operators to scale up. They’ll be able to manage, monitor and maintain very large networks of devices and gain real-time insights to make more informed decisions about the business.

Consolidation

We will see a great deal of consolidation with IoT companies. A few winners will emerge from the platform wars in key industries. Stronger thought leadership will help shape the next wave of IoT implementations and solve some of the challenges we’ll face in 2017.

Standardization

This is a big one! There will be an increase in standardization across the board in how devices communicate to each other and to the enterprise as well as standardization of security protocols and IoT architectures.

Industry Matures

There will be maturity in how organizations approach IoT. We will see more meaningful careers in IoT, and business will do a better job diversifying the skills and expertise in IoT.

Moment Marketing

We’ll see new revenue opportunities from connected devices. As new tools and technologies come to market, advertising and promotions will extend into new locations, platforms, and deliver new experiences.

Growth

We'll continue to see growth in the consumer sector for IoT, but stronger industrial based IoT implementations both in B2C and B2B. Some less mature startup solutions will begin to fade.

So how do we embrace all of this in 2017 to prepare for what is in store?

First start with the end in mind and determine how your IoT implementation will help your customers!

Next, look at ways you can extend an existing product or service with IoT.

Last, but certainly not least find a strong partner to help develop your IoT strategy and build a proof of concept.

Get ready, 2017 is going to a big year for IoT implementations. The more sophisticated we become in managing and monitoring devices, the more opportunities we’ll have to drive greater efficiency and new revenue streams in the New Year.

As appeared on VMBlog.com http://bit.ly/2hRBxPa


IOT is Real

IoT is Real, and The Economics Are Pretty Compelling

IOT is Real
It wasn’t that long ago when the first smartphone came out, and we saw the pace of connected devices and associated mobile applications accelerate beyond what anyone could have imagined. Shortly after that, something incredible happened, we reached the point where there were more connected devices than people on the planet. Since then, we’ve used this to measure the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Research predicts there will be as many as 50 to 100, and possibly even 200 billion connected devices by 2020.

Some businesses are already set up for IoT, like operators of large networks of devices such as self-service kiosks and vending machines. These devices are communicating information back to the enterprise and for those that aren’t, installing the proper hardware and software to do so is more cost efficient today than ever before. Any business that is going to scale is going to look for opportunities to automate its processes. We've seen history repeat itself from the Industrial Revolution to the automotive industry and more recently with Netflix automating the distribution of those little red envelopes. Netflix transformed their operations through the success of their streamlined mail business, becoming the premier provider of streamed digital media into the home. Anything that has successfully scaled has used automation effectively. Furthermore, we are seeing traditional retail and brick-and-mortar stores look for ways to combat increasing wages, and costs to maintain a physical environment. For many, that is through the implementation of kiosks and vending technology. We see this in hospitality with self-service ordering. Businesses are finding ways to automate through technology while improving the customer experience.

An operator needs a central place to monitor and manage their business—one-time, real-time.

The Perfect Storm
The reality of increasing wages and rising costs of real estate, combined with the decreasing cost of sensors, computation, and storage has created the perfect storm for our next technology revolution. As a result, automation through the implementation of IoT is becoming more desirable and achievable.
When taking a closer look at the specific drivers of these trends, it’s clear that the economics of IoT are very compelling. It is much less expense now to automate than before due to the decreasing costs of micro-electronics (examples: microcontrollers and sensors). The cost of data processing and computation is also reducing at a pace that we’ve never seen before. Additionally, the ability to now process and persist data in the cloud has helped alleviate concerns about rapid growth, through the dynamic, on-demand, scaling nature of cloud infrastructure. These technology drivers are a few of the many signs that IoT can help solve real business problems. Economic headwinds and more affordable technology have created the perfect storm for IoT to transform traditional physical environments through automation.

economics-of-iot-stats

Automation is just the tip of the IoT iceberg
Once you’ve automated your operations, the next step is having the right set of management tools for your business. If you are operating a vast network of devices, having the ability to capture, store and process all the data from your devices and filter through the noise is critical. Taking a platform approach to IoT addresses many of the challenges operators face with Big Data. The key is to know which events are happening, and which are early warnings or indicators of system failure that could potentially cause significant problems in your business. Therefore, it is incredibly important to define the key performance indicators for your business so you can monitor and measure them to improve the overall health of your company. For example, an operator can automate diagnostic processes to remedy and fix issues to reduce failures from occurring. In this business model, the customer experience lives and dies at that endpoint. If the machine is down or displaying an error message in the middle of a transaction, that almost always results in a dissatisfied customer. So, predicting patterns, and preventing failures can dramatically improve the customer experience by keeping it consistent and reliable every time.
It's imperative to have these management tools presented through a single, tightly integrated user experience, rather than through the implementation of many disparate and disconnected systems. An operator needs a central place to monitor and manage their business—one-time, real-time. Add to that a strong technology partner to help expose and address potential operational blind spots, and you're set up for success.

Still not convinced IoT is real and an affordable investment?
We added some compelling information to this illustrated view of the top technology drivers for IoT in this infographic. It can help jump-start your IoT strategy. Check it out.

 

 


The Three Things You Can do to Embrace the Internet of Things

The numbers are staggering, and it’s all melding together.

By 2020 there will be 44 Trillion gigabytes of data, that’s equal to the number of stars in the universe. Picture 1 trillion sensors contributing to the rise of data in 2020 and three trillion being invested in the IoT over the next 10 years.

And the trillion-dollar question is…what critical actions can you take to embrace the Internet of Things?


It’s been said, people who live in the worlds between business and technology are critical to IoT success.

First - Get involved
If you want to join that world, and grab your share of the $7.6 trillion pie, that’s the ROI of IoT in the next 10 years, first you just have to get involved. Don’t be intimidated by all the hype around this space. It's a space with a lot of inflated expectations. As a result, you have many players and tons of progress happening virtually overnight. There’s over 78 IoT innovations on KickStarter, and most are around ‘personal’ things. We're seeing businesses of all sizes starting to invest in the Internet of Things, as well as the makers, like those on KickStarter. That’s because of the cost of storage, computation and sensors has dropped dramatically. We had the technology a decade ago to geek-out a tennis rack or golf club to get performance data in the hands of every athlete and coach, but it wasn’t cost effective to do so. Today Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other low cost microcomputers are enabling more and more of these types of IoT innovations. Those that really get it are using very similar technology and in some cases the exact same technology to innovate around ‘business’ things, smart parking meters, kiosks, vending machines and all those ‘consumer-facing’ things.


Once you’ve decided to get involved, now you have to transform.

Second- Organize around IoT and build partnerships
You have to organize around IoT and build the right set of responsibilities for your team, and establish the right partnerships with those active in this space. You want to find partners that are experienced in dealing with high transaction volume data coming in, so they can help solve for that 44 trillion gigabyte data challenge we face over the next five years. You need experts that can effectively operate at the edge, and enable smart devices to make decisions from data in real-time.


Think about the problems you are trying to solve for your business and what value that will bring to your customers.

Third- Start with the end in mind
Next, you have to understand the value proposition both for your business and for your customers. The industry is seeing lots of IoT solutions come to market and die quickly, because some don't fully understand the Internet of Things and the true value it can deliver to the customer. What happens when any one of those 'consumer-facing' things shuts down, or is not predictive, or responsive to a changing customer dynamic? That leads to friction and bad customer experience. You really need to pay attention to the problem facing your business, and start with the end in mind, and then bring in the right partnerships to enable the technology. Partners who can deliver a proof of concept and rapidly deploy prototypes to address the problem, and reduce friction, delivering a better customer experience.

That's how you can embrace IoT. Three simple steps, get involved, organize and build partnerships around IoT and start with the end in mind.

 


The Beautiful and the Beastly Side of The Internet of Things

One of the things that strikes me with many of the applications that we see ramping up around the Internet of Things, is the intense focus on the “sexy” part of the solution, and not so much on the beastly and often complex side of IoT. That’s the part that excites many of us.


There are some beautifully designed IoT applications

Babolat has tennis rackets with sensors to track and analyze ball speed, spin, and impact location helping coaches and players improve their game. And what about the car that fixes itself. Where has that been all our life? When a Tesla vehicle needs repairs it can autonomously call for a corrective software download, or, if necessary, send a notification to the customer with an invitation for a valet to pick up the car and deliver it to a Tesla facility.

Then there are the really tough problems that we see being addressed with IoT, like in big industry. Companies like Joy Global are implementing smart, connected mining machines such as their longwall shearer to autonomously coordinate with other equipment to improve mining efficiency. Let’s not forget about the lifesaving applications like Medtronic’s implanted digital blood glucose meter that connects wirelessly to a monitoring and display device and can alert patients to trends in glucose levels requiring attention. It’s not hard to imagine a similar application for a pacemaker, allowing it to connect over wireless technology to communicate information like health, power, device performance and patient vitals. You can imagine how this scenario is helpful to exposing so much meaningful data to patients and physicians.  This is the side of the Internet of Things that's very compelling. 

There’s no doubt all these use cases and applications will, and are attracting lots of attention.

There are some real opportunities for taking on the beastly and complex side of IoT

Now think about having to keep your pulse (pun intended) on 10,000 connected pacemakers, or kiosks, or self-service devices?  How do you manage the full collection of these devices, some more complex than others, from an inventory, service, alert and notification perspective?  How do you distribute software updates to that full collection of devices? How do you mine collected data in a way that provides an operator of large networks of devices with information to address and proactively manage and monitor hardware and software integrity issues that need to be remediated to prevent operating loss? How do you take all of the collected data received from these devices, and distill it down to only the most meaningful and non-distracting data for an operator? 

With mesh networks you can merge the power of a group of devices to share valuable resources across the network. It's a team of devices operating as a whole, not individual devices operating in silos. By applying advanced machine learning algorithms against device "big data" trends, we understand real-time performance against forecasted results.

This is the less sexy, but so important for realizing the full spectrum of opportunities within IoT.