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Guest post by Evan Birkhead.

A new IDC FutureScape offers top 10 predictions for the Worldwide IoT in 2017.  The research evaluates 10 emerging trends and ranks them in terms of their likely impact across the enterprise and the time it will take each prediction to go mainstream (meaning the middle of bellcurve of adoption). 

We took a close look and found that the list provides an excellent starting point for enterprises – particular industrials - that are steadily getting pulled toward the Industrial Internet and need to learn more.  Let’s break it down.

The diagram shows IDC’s 10 predictions. The size of the bubble provides a rough indicator of the complexity and/or cost that an enterprise will incur when acting on the prediction.  The X axis shows the time until a trend becomes mainstream; the Y axis shows the impact on the enterprise organization, with the upper tier showing company-wide impact.  So, for example, #10 IoT Analytics presents the most costly and complex technology issue for organizations and its departmental impact is limited, so its mainstream acceptance won’t occur for a couple more years.

Excerpts of IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IoT 2017 Predictions 

Prediction 1: Open Data Platforms Emerge

By 2018, IDC says the "Open Data Platform" will emerge as the next frontier in platform discussions. We are already seeing this with organizations such as the Industrial Internet Consortium and the OpenFog Consortium, who are specifying open frameworks for IoT computing and communications. While this may cause confusion for early adopters, open platforms will pave the way for mainstream acceptance.

Prediction 2:  LPWAN Conflict

Despite hype on the benefits of Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LoRa, Sigfox, etc.), IDC predicts organizations won’t begin to adopt it for another year due to a lack of QoS – and then only for non-critical applications.  Keep an eye on this space though, as low-power WiFi for IoT sensor-based networks will make sense across many industries.

Prediction 3: Cycle Time Improvements

This one is farthest off in the future but could be the most important because it unlocks one of the key values of the Industrial Internet – more efficient production of products and services. According to IDC, by next year investments in operational sensing through IoT and situational awareness via analytics will deliver 30% in critical process cycle times.

Prediction 4: Blockchain Realized

By unifying data logs for a variety of industries, blockchained services, which typically leverage the cloud, promise to increase productivity and reduce downtime.  For example, manufacturers will be able to share production logs with OEMs and regulators, reducing the time to find information, resolve disputes, verify transactions and expedite deliveries.

Prediction 5: Security Evolves

As we at Bayshore know, industrial enterprises are now addressing the cultural divide between IT and OT. This will lead to a necessary investment in capabilities to protect their production processes and data from cyber attack and privacy breaches. IDC says that in two years more than 75% of device manufacturers will have improved their security and privacy capabilities.

Excerpts of IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IoT 2017 Predictions 

Prediction 6: Industry Growth

IDC puts the initial worldwide IoT industry growth at the end of 2017.  Will that be the beginning of the “hockey stick?”  The initial markets driving the growth will be connected vehicles, insurance telematics, personal wellness, and smart buildings, accounting for $96 billion in spending.

Prediction 7: IoT/IT Services

As adoption of IoT grows, IDC predicts that 75% of IoT adopters will turn to outside firms for help in strategy, planning, development, implementation, and/or management of these initiatives.  Again, this is a trend we can verify from our experience at Bayshore.  We are seeing an increased customer reliance on carriers, cloud providers, systems integrators, machine vendors, and an emerging class of Industrial IoT architectural experts.

Prediction 8: The Edge

While we are still looking for a universally accepted definition of edge computing, there is consensus on its importance in the success of IoT.  IDC says that in two years at least 40% of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed and acted upon close to, or at, the edge of the network.

Prediction 9: Smart City Assets

At Bayshore, we are seeing the same thing. Metropolitan areas, paced by progressive CIOs in places as diverse as Barcelona, Chicago, and San Diego, are already reaping the benefits of sensor consolidation and analytics.  Look for more and more success stories in areas such as building automation, utilities, traffic management, and data center management. According to IDC, 40% of local and regional governments “will use IoT to turn infrastructure into assets Instead of liabilities” by 2019.

Prediction 10: Analytics and IoT Collide

We agree that this is the mother of all trends. While analytics is the most complex technical and cultural issue, it is clearly the #1 reason to move to the Industrial Internet.  IDC predicts that by 2019, all effective IoT efforts will merge streaming analytics with machine learning trained on data lakes, data marts, and content stores, accelerated by discrete or integrated processors.

Excerpts of IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IoT 2017 Predictions

The Bayshore IT/OT Gateway is used by industrial enterprises to provide IT with visibility into big OT data and to provide OT with access to applications such as advanced IT analytics. Transformation of OT data (Modbus TCP, DNP3, Ethernet/IP, and so on), into formats that can be interpreted by IT analytics programs (JSON, https, http, etc.) will be crucial to this adoption.

This post originally appeared here

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The Paradox of the Industrial Internet

Guest post by Evan Birkhead.

5 Take-Aways from EMA’s new Industrial IoT Research

As reported by Reuters last year, Marty Edwards, who runs the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (known as ICS-CERT), warned that his organization observed a significant year-over-year increase in attacks targeting industrial control systems. Edwards said ICS systems are vulnerable because they are exposed to the Internet.

“We see more and more that are gaining access to the control system layer,” he explained. “I am very dismayed at the accessibility of some of these networks… they are just hanging right off the tubes.”

 Director Edwards’ comments underscore the paradox of the Industrial Internet: The convergence of IT and Operational Technology (OT) enables the analytics of massive amounts of industrial data. On one hand, IT/OT convergence yields streamlined operations, improved safety, predictive maintenance and optimized processes. On the other hand, it is creating easily penetrable apertures that present enormous risks with potentially catastrophic outcomes. 

EMA, the IT and data management research organization, has published a new study entitled “The Promise and Risk of the Industrial Internet” that tackles this paradox head-on.  Convergence is occurring in an environment that wasn’t designed to be accessible from the outside world. Unfortunately, the problem is compounded by what EMA describes as a “tangled web of both cultural nuances and differing security standards and focus” between IT and OT. 

So what can we do about it?

Fortunately, EMA purports that successful Industrial IoT strategies will balance the needs of IT to provide protection from hackers, while simultaneously ensuring OT operators’ equipment will be reliable and safe.

Here are 5 take-aways from this seminal report that can help us get over the roadblocks:

  1. You can’t shoehorn IT security policies into OT.

    The security strategy for OT was developed decades ago, under the assumption that restricting physical access to industrial control systems and networks was enough to protect them. Even the protocols used to operate and secure OT systems were developed long before TCP/IP existed. IT/OT convergence opens ICS systems to threats they were never designed to be exposed to, let alone prevent or otherwise defend against. 

    IT cannot manage OT with traditional security technologies, and the inconvenient truth is that IT organizations need to make the effort to learn how they are different. OT requires a completely different and distinctly separate approach to cybersecurity. As the report explains, “IT needs to understand that administration standards and SLAs that work for enterprise software do not necessarily work for OT.”
  1. Hacks into OT are potentially more catastrophic than those in IT.

    While IT attacks typically focus on personal data (such as finances), hacks into OT can be life-threatening and can result in incalculable damage to critical infrastructure or bread-and-butter revenue-generating processes. The well-known German steel mill attack caused massive damage. A successful hack into an electrical grid can place millions of people without power for an extended period of time. Access to a city’s water supply can impact access to many crucial resources. 

    Further, according to the report, “While an hour of downtime may be acceptable to patch a CRM system, it is simply not possible for OT systems that manage critical infrastructure or transportation to be down for even a few minutes.” These are important considerations to make when weighing OT cybersecurity challenges.
  1. Attacks on OT are no longer “if” but “when.”

    EMA cites the accelerated pace of recent attacks, such as the state-sponsored attacks on the Ukrainian power grid. It describes a new world where it’s not hard to imagine how quickly attacks on critical assets can escalate to serious and even catastrophic consequences for millions of people. 

    With the convergence of networked applications, controls, and sensors for ICS, ensuring the security of physical assets and the safety of people who operate and rely on them is crucial for our very quality of life. Today’s technologists need to seriously consider the urgency of architecting a workable OT cybersecurity plan. 
  1. The right technology can bridge the gap.

    As described in the report, common IT firewalls are designed for IT perimeter security. They interrogate standard IP protocols and applications, blocking attacks based on standard Internet parameters. On the flip side, industrial cyberattacks are based on granular machine instructions that alter systems controls and sensor parameters, and cannot be caught by traditional firewall technology. Fortunately, the report concludes that the cybersecurity industry is making strides. Bayshore Networks IT/OT Gateway technology, for example, was designed from the ground up to address converged IT/OT security environments. 

    Specifically, the report recognizes the work of the Industrial Internet Consortium, which recently issued a landmark document called the Industrial Internet Security Framework, which establishes best practices for Industrial IOT cyber security. The framework emphasizes the importance of five Industrial IOT characteristics of safety, reliability, resilience, security, and privacy. 
  1. The right partner can clear cultural roadblocks.

    While the convergence of IT and OT has seemingly compounded the complexity of technology management overnight, the report encourages IT organizations to seek out partners with specific expertise in the area. 

    EMA concludes that successful Industrial IoT strategies will balance the needs of IT to provide protection from hackers while simultaneously ensuring OT operators’ equipment will be reliable and safe: “With the right technology partner and a champion that can help clear cultural roadblocks, organizations can ensure robust security with IT/OT convergence efforts, lending a foundation for greater cost and process efficiencies, as well as the competitive advantages that will come from harnessing the power of the industrial Internet of Things.”

This article originally appeared hereDownload the new EMA research here.

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