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Bringing in IoT, Caution Applied

Bringing in IoT, Caution Applied

Taking on IoT should be an exciting and challenging venture for anyone in IT, but don’t forget your due diligence.

Internet of Things devices are proliferating on networks like bunnies, leaving network managers scrambling to head off potential disruptions due to exploits against these devices, as I mentioned in last week’s post, " IoT Spells Opportunity… or Risk ". Every organization is different, just as are their needs; each business unit must assess what solution is best for it.

Web filters are popular with companies that want statistics on traffic volume and insight on where their employees spend their time online. However, these appliances can create issues for premises gear, especially for devices that must communicate with the cloud. In such cases, organizations can write rules that make exceptions for these devices.

Additionally, Web filters have a limited amount of memory and processing power, as is also true of firewalls deployed with content filtering subscriptions, gateway security, denial-of-service prevention, and other security features. These appliances demand proper consideration for sizing for handling the potential additional traffic that IoT devices bring to the network.

Not all these devices operate on the wired infrastructure, and they will add a layer of demand to the WLAN. But separation of traffic, VLANs, and rules to allow inter-VLAN communications will help minimize issues.

This added traffic might be hindered in some locations, especially if an organization hasn’t prepared a heat map and hasn’t done its due diligence in optimizing placement of wireless access points (WAPs). An organization also must test, and re-test, to determine whether or not consistent coverage is available for all devices, but especially those located in ceilings, closets, and out of the way or out of sight. Along with the re-testing is the adjustment of power levels, and even the addition or deletion of WAPs.

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