SD-WAN Optimizes the Ecosystem That Makes IoT Work

If the Internet is a network of networks, IoT is the ecosystem of everything network-connected. IoT encompasses the dynamic interaction between devices, sensors, actuators, applications, data, storage and networks.
There are many reasons why IoT is exploding. One of the biggest factors is digital transformation, which has become widespread among virtually all enterprises and service providers. A key driver of digital transformation is its ability to optimize the customer experience, capture data for business intelligence, and make informed decisions from data analysis. IoT is a critical enabler for these drivers, whether it’s software that monitors the customer experience in retail, or devices that monitor a patient’s heart for healthcare.
IoT traffic has already surpassed user traffic, with literally billions of devices sending data from their edge locations to clouds and corporate data centers throughout the world. IoT is expected to grow in the trillions of dollars over the next few years, from medical devices, wearables and connected cars, to industrial devices and smart homes. According to IHS Markit, the number of connected IoT devices worldwide will increase 12 percent on average annually, from 27 billion in 2017, to 125 billion by 2030.

IoT Security is Paramount

When it comes to cybersecurity, anything connected to the Internet and/or other devices can be vulnerable to an attack from hackers. The risks for connected devices are real and they are diverse, such as intercepting and manipulating sensitive data, and code injection to memory that causes a device to malfunction.
If a hacker gains access into an IoT-connected refrigeration device and shuts it down, perishables will spoil. However, a more serious attack might use the refrigerator to gain back door access to WiFi. This would give the attacker access to the branch network, and other devices connected to that network.
We saw dozens of headline-making data breaches just last year with British Airways, Cathy Pacific Airways, Facebook, Google, Marriot Starwood Hotels, Saks and Lord & Taylor, and many others. These are familiar brand names, but there are thousands of smaller companies breached that don’t make the headlines. With the explosion of IoT, we might see more infrastructure breaches in industrial equipment, vehicles, medical equipment, power grids and any industry with network-connected devices. Even though IoT devices are ethically monitoring our health, industrial equipment and infrastructure, they are also leaving us vulnerable to attacks that can impact us physically.

Making the Network Edge More Intelligent

Enterprises and service providers are undergoing big changes with their network architectures to support a wide range of new applications and services. As IoT continues its proliferation, the need to make the WAN edge more intelligent and secure has become a strategic imperative for the organizations that deploy and manage them. Whether it’s a branch office, smart home, remote industrial site, cellular tower, manufacturing facility, or a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean – the security, data, applications and services associated with these devices are mission-critical.

Industrial IoT enables manufacturers to reliably deploy connected equipment that provides vital data to improve product consistency, and create safer work environments. IIoT connected tools bring new levels of automation to assembly processes, and data collection and analysis far beyond the capability of manual processes. IIoT can identify assembly line functions that need improvement – enhancing workflow, productivity and product quality. Cloud technologies bring low-cost processing and storage needed to support IIoT, but only if the networks that carry the traffic are secure, fast and reliable.

Edge SD-WAN Secures and Optimizes IoT

When applications travel over Internet circuits, they often incur latency and can suffer from insufficient bandwidth. In both fixed and mobile environments, the user experience will degrade, impacting productivity. SD-WAN solutions monitor the network for IoT applications, to ensure they scale and have the security, bandwidth utilization and path optimization they need to be successful. Edge SD-WAN architectures support mission-critical IoT applications, enabling analytics and dynamic resource allocation to optimize and secure applications, services and data locally, and in the cloud. Application intent technology is opening up new business and service opportunities, previously too costly to deliver.

Enabling robust IoT applications at the network edge enables optimal and reliable data transmission via any type of transport, be it fixed, wireless and future 5G infrastructure. By controlling IoT application and service delivery at the network edge, enterprises and operators can improve application performance, accelerate responsiveness, decrease data transmission costs and lower risks.