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What is IoT Device Management?

IoT Device Management

IoT device management covers the gamut of device lifecycle responsibilities that keep the network healthy and secure.

May 23, 2019 - One thing that’s undeniable about the Internet of Things is that it forces businesses that adopt an IoT to think differently.

Whether they’re moving past data warehouses to building data lakes, adding edge computing to their existing cloud computing architecture, or just asking your more detailed data to help create more targeted, customer-centric ad campaigns, the IoT is disruption-in-a-box.

And there’s perhaps no better example of this kind of disruption than when it comes to the “things” in an IoT.

IT departments have 50 years of experience with carefully planning the deployment of a single kind of device, carefully managing its rollout, updates, provisioning, and configuration – usually only after extensive testing and planning.

The IoT doesn’t lend itself to that kind of methodology; it might be made of a lot of disparate, often unmanaged devices from a slew of different manufacturers.

They can’t all be managed the same way, and no single deployment plan can accommodate them all. Bottom line: There’s nothing homogeneous about the IoT.

Critical Solutions

That’s why IoT device management is so important, and finding the right device management solution is critical.

IoT device management covers the gamut of device lifecycle responsibilities that keep the network healthy and secure.

That includes tasks like provisioning, firmware upgrades security software patches, and device health and status reporting.

And the right platform needs to be able to do these things at scale – whatever the definition of “scale” happens to be for your IoT solution.

Success vs. Failure

Clearly, device management is a critical component in any IoT strategy and a device manager can mean the difference between success and failure.

Generally, some degree of device management is baked into the IoT platform itself (though there are also more robust device management platforms that sit on top of the IoT platform).
Evaluating the performance and capabilities of device management can be another set of criteria when choosing your IoT platform.

Here are three considerations to keep in mind:

1. Your device management solution should make device integration easy.

Whatever solution you choose, it should have a high level of interoperability.

In other words, it should work with the devices you have already deployed – or plan to deploy – in your network.

Just as important, it should be flexible enough to accommodate a broad range of devices you might need to integrate later.

To that end, your device management platform should be able to onboard, enroll, authenticate, provision, and deploy all of your devices.

2. It should have a robust security model.

Of course, a critical element of any device management platform is a forward-looking security model that includes proactive security patching, as well as monitoring device settings and status.

This is especially important because many IoT device makers are still relatively inexperienced at developing truly secure products, and that renders them vulnerable to attack from outside the network, which can then be a vector of attack to more mission critical resources elsewhere.

3. The platform should provide the tools for your network’s device’s lifecycle management.

That means not only easing initial deployment of devices into your network, but also smartly check for and install software and firmware updates – including over-the-air patching, when appropriate.

The platform should also be able to perform scheduled, on-going diagnostics, monitoring, and maintenance.

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