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IDC prediction for IoT 2015: It's a doozy

Market research firm IDC presented its 2015 predictions for the IoT this week, and my first reaction was, “This one’s a doozy!” To put it another way: CIOs and CISOs, prepare for a massive flood of data and information from a slew of sensorized things, along with a lot more responsibility for IT professionals.

According to IDC, here are three  important points you need to know about the IoT in 2015.

IoT and the cloud

IDC predicts that within the next five years, over 90% of all IoT data will be processed by cloud service providers. “We believe IoT data will be created from a wide range of sources and data formats,” said Vernon Turner, senior vice president at IDC. “As such, the better IoT solutions that have greater business values will have to integrate and process data from different repositories. Cloud computing providers will be better suited to this activity, rather than IT attempting to run it on premise or in a private enterprise environment.”

This will drive IT organizations to establish robust chargeback services, Turner said. This is because people will only want to pay for appropriate “data blending” services — data blending, in IDC parlance, meaning, taking the data, finding the value, and using it to benefit the business. Turner said establishing these chargeback services will become more important because IT will now be responsible for the original IoT data sources, as well as the “data blending” done by the cloud computing providers.

“The data blending process is not a simple aggregation or mash-up of data sources but rather an intelligent rules-based process that will require careful IT management and support,” Turner said.

Turner suggests IT organizations invest in automation services to manage real-time interactions, and to make sure there is a Chief Compliance Officer involved because these interactions will require a heightened level of governance.

IoT and security

IDC predicts that within two years, 90% of all IT networks will have an IoT-based security breach. Though IDC says many of these will be considered “inconveniences,” CISOs will be forced to adopt new IoT security policies.

“The big challenges for security officers will be security and ensuring the privacy of information shared across so many so-called ‘smart devices’, whether they be televisions, automobiles, appliances,” Turner said. And because users may want access to all this data, it will create a huge compliance challenge, he added.

In addition, creating technology architectures around the IoT while ensuring platform inter-operability will be a challenge. Turner said data transfer through the corporate network must be encrypted, multiple methods of authenticating persons and devices must be implemented, and IT should be required to identify security and privacy-related technologies to support industry standards.

So, CISOs, “need to think of a strong governance framework to tackle data leakage and privacy issues,” Turner said. “With so much data being created and handed off at many more touch points than before, this framework needs to be endorsed by the CEO.”

CISOs should also collaborate with their peers in order to get greater insights and situational awareness into areas vulnerable to breaches. Turner predicts this may be hard for CISOs to do but “the IoT will define a new level of openness where everything and everyone will be transparent,” he said.

Though it may be tough to do, Turner warns that those organizations or individuals who don’t accept transparency will be “almost impossible” to trust.

IoT and network capacity

IDC predicts that within three years, 50% of IT networks will go from having excess capacity to handle the addition of IoT devices, to being network-constrained  — 10% of sites will be overwhelmed by the data from these devices.

“This seems hard to believe but when you think of the billions of endpoints pinging or streaming data through networks, capacity is going to be challenged,” Carrie MacGillivray, program vice president at IDC, said.

MacGillivray predicts that by 2020, 10,000 devices will be connected to corporate networks every minute –not every day or week but every 60 seconds.

“And therefore there will be the potential to impact that overall performance of the network if it’s not properly managed,” MacGillivray said. “Enterprise IT is going to be given the mandate to protect company data and its… end points.”

This will be a huge job for IT but it seems, right now, IT organizations are more concerned about the devices being brought into the enterprise, like tablets and smartphones and even some PCs, MacGillivray said. They are not paying attention to the potential IoT connections or the data that the company is supporting and they need to be.

But all that will change.

“We expect that by 2018 IoT network management is going to become a top five initiative along with business analytics, cloud computing and mobility projects,” MacGillivray said. “There’s going to be a need to support sensor-created content and outcomes.”

MacGillivray said that IT will have to set network access policies for these “things” or endpoints; there will need to be an access control and automation system in place to make sure the IT team isn’t overwhelmed, and, she said, it’s important to work to get IT a seat at the table early in the IoT planning process, before buying decisions are made.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Kristen Lee, features writer, or find her on Twitter @Kristen_Lee_34.