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Maintaining a Centralized Device Registry

Maintaining a Centralized Device Registry by Raghu B on October 5, 2015

Back in the 90’s when the internet started getting traction, one of the problems organizations confronted was tracking equipment. Not only did they have to monitor and/or track the physical equipment but the IP address as well. They also had to track which ports were open and the names of machines via DNS.

Ten years later, the mobile age surfaced with the explosive growth of tablets and smartphones. IT organizations found it more difficult to track equipment as most devices became Internet enabled.

As a tech savvy society, we are about to enter the age of IoT (the Internet of Things). Almost every device from printers and elevators to lightbulbs and thermostats are being outfitted with beacons. They are also being outfitted with sensors and different kinds of controllers so that they can be Internet enabled. We call them smart devices. Tracking smart devices becomes a challenging task.

The lack of proper controls and procedures surrounding smart devices could result in some unintended consequences. Here is a list of such outcomes:

  • Remote Control Risk: Devices that are open for bi-directional communication i.e. being able to control machines/devices remotely, if not properly secured, could open a Pandora’s box of manipulations by unscrupulous hackers. For instance,
    • A competitor hijacks a beacon and delivers malicious content instead of the originally intended content.
  • Transmission Risk: Devices with exposure to the Internet could result in transmitting information without anyone’s knowledge. Here is an example:
    • A retailer sets up a Proximity Marketing Campaign for a beacon but loses track of the beacon. The beacon keeps emitting a coupon for a campaign to consumers well past the campaign window resulting in losses to the Retailer.
  • Asset Management Risk: At a basic level, organizations need to monitor its assets in case of theft, loss, slippage, and for insurance purposes.
    • The flood of sensors, beacons and smart devices will soon inundate IT organizations. One needs a centralized database just to keep track of these devices.

A comprehensive IoT Device Repository enables an organization to manage an inventory of its devices, actively track its devices, configure the devices and/or manage content to emit. It also allows the company to monitor the data they collect, support bi-directional communication links with devices and run diagnostics. Eventually we see nterprises using this new genre of smart IoT technologies to:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Increase productivity
  • Enhance output

Fortunately, some vendors have developed sophisticated repository IoT technologies for Enterprise IT departments. One such example is NetObjex with its cloud based Device Registry. It can:

  • track different device types
  • provide flexible handling of attributes and tags
  • address schemes (MAC, IP, UUID, etc)
  • provide location tracking

Managing the all the smart devices without a centralized repository is similar to walking in the Congo without a map or compass.

Making that transition with a solid Enterprise IoT platform, like what NetObjex offers, is key in determining success or failure.

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