What Does The Internet of Things Mean From A Sysadmin’s Perspective?

Kiril Shivachev

Archive article - published on July 01 2017

It should be obvious by now that the Internet of Things isn’t going anywhere. As connected devices become more common in both the home and the workplace, we’re seeing them used in a host of new and exciting ways. You’ve probably already heard a lot of the discourse on how IoT is going to change the world - and if you’re anything like most, you’ve been wondering how this is going to change your career.

On the surface, your job as a sysadmin will remain relatively unchanged, at least at first. Moving forward, however, we’re going to see a shift. Connected devices will make your job both easier and more difficult at the same time.

Let me explain.

“Devices that make up the internet of things are typically those which require minimal – or no – human interaction,” explains Trevor Pott of The Register. “Many of these are already in homes: they range from network addressable lightbulbs to the bleeding-edge biosensors and medical equipment that enable body hacking aka ‘the quantified self.” Potts then goes on to explain how, by wiring his fish tank up to the Internet, he’ll be able to proactively solve environmental issues for his pets - addressing problems before they become problems.

And there it is. By installing embedded sensors at every level of your IT and business infrastructure, you’ll have greater visibility than ever before into the inner workings of your organization. Equipped with the right monitoring and analysis tools, this means you’ll be able to proactively manage your systems in ways that were previously impossible.

At the same time, you’re also going to encounter new challenges. How, for example, will you secure the influx of wearable devices that will soon make its way into enterprise? What will you do about the ethical and legal issues of smartwatches and smartglasses? How will you deal with the challenges involved in developing applications and systems to manage, monitor, and connect to the Internet of Things?

Of course, there are also new security issues, as well. Larger DDoS attacks than ever before - increased attacks surfacing within your enterprise, and hackers using innocuous things like light bulbs and doors to gain access to sensitive files. In addition to management concerns, these are also challenges you’ll have to address as we connect the world to the Internet.

At the end of the day, there’s a silver lining in all this. I suspect that, moving forward, sysadmins will be more valuable than ever. After all, someone has to manage all that infrastructure, right?

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Kiril Shivachev
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