By Joe Kim, SolarWinds Chief Technology Officer

 

Because of the Internet of Things (IoT) we're seeing an explosion of devices, from smartphones and tablets to connected planes and Humvee® vehicles. So many, in fact, that IT administrators are left wondering how to manage the deluge, particularly when it comes to ensuring that their networks and data remain secure.

 

The challenge is significantly more formidable than the one posed by bring-your-own-device issues when administrators only had to worry about a few mobile operating systems. This pales in comparison to the potentially thousands of IoT-related operating systems that are part of an increasingly complex ecosystem that includes devices, cloud providers, data, and more.

 

How does one manage such a monumental task? Here are five recommendations that should help.

 

1. Turn to automation

 

Getting a grasp on the IoT and its impact on defense networks is not a job that can be done manually, which makes automation so important. The goal is to create self-healing networks that can automatically and immediately remediate themselves if a problem arises. A self-healing, automated network can detect threats, keep data from being compromised, and reduce response and downtime.

 

2. Get a handle on information and events

 

DoD administrators should complement their automation solutions with security information and event management processes. They are monitoring solutions designed to alert administrators to suspicious activity and security and operational events that may compromise the networks. Administrators can refer to these tools to monitor real-time data and provide insight into forensic data that can be critical to identifying the cause of network issues.

 

3. Monitor devices and access points

 

Device monitoring is also extremely important. Network administrators will want to make sure that the only devices that are hitting their networks are those deemed secure. Administrators will want to be able to track and monitor all connected devices by MAC and IP address, as well as access points. They should set up user and device watch lists to help them detect rogue users and devices in order to maintain control over who and what is using their networks.

 

4. Get everyone on board

 

Everyone in the agency must commit to complying with privacy policies and security regulations. All devices must be in compliance with high-grade security standards, particularly personal devices that are used outside of the agency. The bottom line is that it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that DoD information stays within its network.

 

5. Buckle up

 

Understand that while IoT is getting a lot of hype, we’re only at the beginning of that cycle. Analyst firm Gartner® once predicted that there would be 13 billion connected devices by 2020, but some are beginning to wonder if that’s actually a conservative number. Certainly, the military will continue to do its part to drive IoT adoption and push that number even higher.

 

In other words, when it comes to connected devices, this is only the beginning of the long road ahead. DOD administrators must prepare today for whatever tomorrow might bring.

 

Find the full article on Defense Systems.