IoT Device Management: Ask the Right Questions, Get the Right Platform

Posted by on Jun 28, 2018 5:00:00 AM Carmi Brandis  
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When it comes to effective IoT implementation, businesses face a series of unique challenges. IoT-enabled machines, sensors, and devices require regular software updates as technology evolves, and new device onboarding, device maintenance, and repair cycles must be executed quickly to avoid downtime and the interruption of IoT data collection. A company’s IoT platform requires a variety of tools to execute these critical device maintenance tasks — such as connectivity and application support, service enablement, and solution architecture — but perhaps the most important service that a competent platform can provide is IoT device management.

Device management refers to the process of authenticating, provisioning, configuring, monitoring, and maintaining a connected device’s firmware and the software that provides its functional capabilities. Through device management functions, an IoT platform can provide complete lifecycle support that includes security patching, alerting, firmware upgrades, and performance metrics. Effective device management is critical to establishing and maintaining the health, connectivity, and security of IoT devices, which is why decision makers must look closely at a platform’s device management capabilities when exploring a potential IoT solution.

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Thankfully, companies exploring IoT have options when it comes to device management platforms. Analyst firm MachNation has developed an evaluation system based on 25 typical workflows that comprise regular IoT platform operations. In order to rate well, a platform must possess flexible and scalable deployment, operational sophistication, a well-executed partner strategy, and a focus on developer persona. Beyond these requirements, however, a company that wishes to stay ahead of the curve on device management should understand a few critical aspects that any IoT platform needs to provide.

Does your IoT platform offer secure authentication and provisioning services?

Since every connected device represents a doorway into the cloud where personal data is transmitted, analyzed, and stored, an IoT device management platform must properly provision and authenticate each device to ensure it is trustworthy. Provisioning assigns a unique certificate to mark the identity of an IoT device. Similar to a user’s identity, this certificate includes complete information about the specific device being used, such as location data, device model, and the device’s standard protocols. Device authentication securely establishes the identity of a connected device to determine if it is working on behalf of a trusted user.

According to the Identity Theft Resources Center (ITRC), there were a record-setting 1,293 internet data breaches in 2017, and since the number of connected devices is increasing worldwide the potential for data breaching will likely increase as well. To protect from potential breaches and ensure the integrity of a business’ IoT data and infrastructures, robust and effective authentication and provisioning services must come with any IoT data management platform.

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How difficult is device integration and are there robust tools for ongoing maintenance?

Effective IoT device management should allow for simple integration with existing hardware and a clear path for new device deployment. The flexibility to provision, authenticate, configure, and integrate any connected device will make it easier to bring the correct IoT solution to market in a secure way that allows for uninterrupted transfer of data to the management platform. Once fully integrated, the IoT platform must also provide robust support for ongoing operational maintenance. Diagnostics, monitoring, alerting, and a capable management layer provide not only a wealth of operational data that can increase efficiencies but also cost-effective asset support throughout a device’s service lifecycle.

Does the platform have an appropriate architecture and security model?

Platform architecture is crucial to IoT functionality right from initial deployment. Whether the platform simply enables connection between devices or offers sophisticated M2M communication that seamlessly runs device software patches and application updates, the architecture should be able to handle whatever is necessary to execute the IoT solution. Over time, well-designed architecture can grow with the IoT infrastructure as more devices are added and the company’s needs evolve. When evaluating platform architecture, a company should gain a deep understanding of its security model, scalability, productization, and flexibility.

Does the vendor offer support backed by sound business strategy?

Ultimately, companies should deploy the IoT solution that gives their operations the most reliable infrastructure for data-driven improvement. In the case of IoT-enabled connected device management, the most reliable and effective infrastructures are backed by an IoT vendor with experience in the field, healthy resources, and beneficial relationships with technology partners. Through availability, expertise, and a network of strong partners, a company can be sure that the best industry practices are being executed in the service of its IoT device management.

Ensure Effective Device Management with Aeris

Device management is the linchpin of IoT technology, and Aeris IoT Services is dedicated to providing a simple platform that works with any connected device. The Aeris Mobility IoT Platform offers speed, agility, flexibility, scalability, and security and is ideal for businesses that offer a large number of services to a diverse number of customers with a variety of hardware options. Through the Aeris Mobility Platform, complex device management functions are easier to perform at any level of your IoT solution.

To learn more about our simple device management platform, contact Aeris today.

Topics: IoT platform, device management, IoT devices