Remote management of the Internet of Things is the reason it is so prevalent, and why it is predicted there will be 24 billion connected devices by 2020. Soon, when it comes to industrial software and automation, a human connection will be the exception rather than the rule.
Without the right safeguards, the Internet of Things will be just one big thing, and there can be disastrous consequences if things get out of control. Remote management, monitoring, security, and the proper use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is essential. From Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) to full Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, we need to be proactive in their use.
Within many systems, you can control HMI and SCADA products from nearly any device that has a web browser. This means phones, tablets, laptops, and more can be used to manage your devices remotely, receive alerts, and even perform analysis and create reports.
These developments are great, but what issues do we face when exercising these controls?
While it may be easy for Microsoft or Apple to send out software updates and patches, we face something entirely different from the Internet of Things. The data we gather comes from a variety of devices with varying levels of security. Some of these devices may be difficult if not impossible to update.
This has to be kept in mind when developing API’s and setting up controls: the device itself may last a decade or more, and it needs to be compatible with new software systems and remain compatible.
Essentially, any device with sensors that is connected, especially remote management devices, can be both compromised and manipulated, and those manipulations can have a ripple effect, causing several more connected things to react.
These “things” are among the issues we must deal with, from creating rest APIs to the sensors and devices themselves.
Device Registration And Security
We also must consider device registration and the authorization of APIs. This is because APIs are not just thing-facing, but device-facing as well. Part of the value of IoT is the ability to connect things to devices. A connected car has an app to unlock the doors or even check the tire pressure at any given time.
There are different developers on either side. The device developers have different API security requirements and different rights as well. The structure of APIs to account for these things is critical. Also, the ability to revoke API access for certain devices is also necessary in case a developer on the device side runs into issues or even goes rogue.
Apps like the FitBit or Strava app might allow a fitness drink manufacturer to send a user ads, but you might not want them to have the ability to do that forever, and there may be certain conditions with that provision. Developing apps with this in mind on both sides of the equation is the best approach.
Visibility And Analytics
Once things and apps are out there, they require constant monitoring. Are they working the way you want them to?
Do you see anomalies in real time, or do you have to wait for failures to analyze them? Are there apps you need to implement throttling on, and can you do so without violating contracts you have signed with developers? How many active things in your network are using old APIs, and can you update them and discard the old one?
These are all questions related to how visible your system and apps are, how many updates you get in real time, and how you analyze that data.
This is a place where dig data and data automation come in. Your system should have the ability to detect and respond to data fluctuations, and even send verification data to make sure they are authentic.
Part of the concern is what we are connecting as well. From emergency services to utilities, many critical systems are connected, and we need to determine how visible they are and who has access to them. We also must focus on monitoring and analysis, working to keep these key systems operational.
Performance And Scalability
Of course, one key to the IoT is the performance of systems, and another key is scalability. As your business grows, how easy is it to add devices, and how will they integrate with your current systems. Also, how will your remote management software scale?
These things can also be affected by security. As more apps and devices also become connected to mobile devices, they become more vulnerable to malware, viruses, or other security threats. These attacks can slow or stop a process altogether, and have disastrous impacts on performance.
Also, as more devices become integrated, the interface to manage them also becomes more complex necessitating the development of more robust REST APIs. This means that more data automation must also be integrated, making the HMI less complex as well.
The Future Of Remote Management
Remote management using a web browser on almost any device makes the Internet of Things more portable and better real-time management a more viable possibility than ever before. For it to stay that way, developers must be on top of devices, the best REST APIs, and security measures that mitigate and even prevent breaches and failures.
If you are interested in even more Internet-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.