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Where Resiliency And The Internet Of Things Intersect

There is a lot to think about and there many unknowns, but the resiliency path coinciding with the IoT starts now.

According to Gartner , there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020, which means in just four years, there will be at least three connected devices for every person on the planet. However, with this growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), what’s being done in terms of resiliency?

A Connected World

First, let’s baseline: The IoT is the network of objects, devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and the network connectivity that enables them to collect and exchange data.

For instance, in a car there could be 200 sensors all churning out data every millisecond. An Under Armour Record, combined with thousands of other UA Records, creates an active database and a learning platform so IBM Watson can become a cognitive coaching system. Cellphones, coffeemakers, garage doors, wearable devices, and anything else you can think of could become part of this IoT ecosystem.

As an organization collecting all this data, what would happen if one year’s worth of data from 200,000 of your sensors disappeared? Could this data be recreated? How do you know which pieces of data are key?

Maintenance Of IoT Devices

Resiliency is the quality of objects to hold or to recover their shape or, in computer systems, to stay intact.

Consider the maintenance of all these connected items. What happens when software and settings automatically get reset or updated, but they don’t necessarily get updated in a way in which all elements in the ecosystem work together the way they did before? What change in which device is dominant among all the other devices in the ecosystem? How do you ensure the changes happen so that everything in the ecosystem works fluidly and concisely and data continues to freely pass back and forth within the ecosystem? As you can tell, there are many questions surrounding the IoT, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The industry is only scratching the surface on resiliency as it relates to the IoT. Currently, there are few papers and few discussions on this topic, yet it’s time for resiliency and the IoT to come together.

Resiliency And The IoT

Clearly, this is the next step in the broader resiliency journey . IoT devices will generate a tremendous amount of data, and over time this will spur expanded analytics in conjunction with a cognitive decision system. And under the covers, an autonomic, self-healing fabric will keep the ecosystem running without interruption or performance degradation.

In this new world, the old thinking of disaster backup and manually executed recovery procedures does not apply. The new world, where resiliency and the IoT intersect, requires nearly instantaneous response and recovery, leveraging methodologies and technologies that operate so quickly that no one truly realizes something isn’t working. Moreover, companies will need a state of high availability that doesn’t require the investment and the crazy costs associated with today’s highly available infrastructures.

Keeping IoT Data Secure

Then, there’s the matter of security . At the beginning of this century, when refrigerators were enabled for Internet access, people joked about their iceboxes getting hacked. Unfortunately, as devices in a house — from garage door openers to door locks to air-conditioning systems — become connected, they really can be hacked, shut down, or subverted. According to  NetworkWorld , refrigerators and other connected items continue to be a vulnerability; as such, they need to be secured.

This new world will be tricky, and it requires a new class of thinking and technology. Sure, the cloud plays a role, as do business continuity processes and fast networks, but perhaps not in the same format or structure used today. Small ecosystems will require a fractional infrastructure, while implementing a fully resilient environment in a larger ecosystem may take years to fully architect and implement.

There is a lot to think about and there many unknowns, but the resiliency path coinciding with the IoT starts now.

Michael is responsible for long term guidance and governance for business continuity management and resiliency programs across the globe at IBM. Prior to this role, Michael was a services and solutions executive where he managed all presales activities associated with IBM …View Full Bio

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