While it’s still early days as far as the Internet of Things (IoT) market opportunity is concerned, a new survey suggests the opportunity surrounding IoT could be massive. A global survey of 700 organizations conducted by ReRez Research on behalf of DigiCert, a provider of certificate lifecycle management and encryption software, finds that only a third of respondents claim to have any kind of a formal IoT strategy in place. However, 83 percent say IoT is somewhat to extremely important to their business today. That percentage increases to 92 percent when survey respondents were asked how important IoT will be by 2020.

Of course, one of the biggest inhibitors to embracing IoT are concerns about security. In fact, the DigiCert survey notes some organizations are already incurring losses as high as $34 million due to IoT security breaches. The top four IoT concerns as ranked by survey respondents are security (82 percent), privacy (78 percent), cost (73 percent), and regulation (72 percent). In terms of types of security issues likely to encountered, the report identifies IoT-based Denial of Service attacks; unauthorized access to IoT devices; and malware and ransomware attacks as all being significant issues.

Most IT organizations are not equipped to deal with IoT security issues. IoT projects exponentially expand the attack surface that needs to be defended. There will be a unique opportunity for managed service providers to fill an emerging IoT security void. For example, each of those IoT devices will also need a certificate that proves IoT data is being encrypted.

Opportunities in other vertical industries

The opportunity isn’t limited to security. IoT applications will be among the most complex distributed applications ever deployed. Those applications will span everything from endpoints and gateways at the network edge to local data centers and cloud services. In many cases, MSPs will find themselves being asked to both manage and secure these applications over both 4G and 5G networks.

In addition, MSPs should note that the rate at which IoT projects are launched will vary widely by vertical industry. “We see a loT interest in healthcare,” says Mike Nelson, vice president of healthcare solutions for DigiCert.

MSPs will also need to adroitly navigate a lot of internal IoT politics. In some cases, IT leaders will be put in charge of the IoT deployment. But just as often, it may be an operations technology (OT) team attached to a line of business. Alternatively, responsibility for different elements of an IoT project might be split between these two teams. The rate at which IoT projects are launched will vary widely by vertical industry as MSPs should take care to make sure they don’t wind up alienating major IoT stakeholders.

IoT is not likely to be a major source of revenue for most MSPs in 2019, but that will change throughout the next decade. Savvy MSPs will spend much of the next year acquiring the skills and expertise to make themselves ready to tap into this opportunity, which only comes along once in a decade.

Photo: one photo/Shutterstock

Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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