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How should MSPs in Asia-Pacific harness the IoT?
January 30, 2019 Blog


DATTO: MSPs in Asia-Pacific who are able to harness and secure the IoT will be the ones who emerge victorious.

 By James Bergl, Director, Datto Asia-Pacific

With the global number of connected devices set to top 20 billion by 2023, and Asia-Pacific expected to dominate the connected device market with more than 11 billion devices connected by 2020, we are reminded of how connectivity is now at the core of almost every business operation. And as the number of connected devices continues to grow – so too does demand on the network and business infrastructure. When we add-in the issue of employees signing-up for ‘as-a-service’ technical solutions, we are presented with a new challenge: how to gain control over these non-managed devices while protecting the business network and company data?

It’s an issue that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region continue to face, often turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to solve. However, MSPs also need to adjust to these changes with their own businesses – while also carefully considering how they can integrate the demands of IoT into their solution offering – while addressing the associated security challenges.

Ultimately, as quickly as the technology is developing, so too are new threats emerging – designed to capitalise on new vulnerabilities created by newly connected devices. Put simply, when new devices are being created, security is not always top-of-mind so many devices may not have acceptable security standards by default, leaving them open to attack. IoT devices are often not considered to be a security risk by businesses in the same way as a mobile phone or laptop – so may not be covered by the company’s existing security solutions.

To combat these issues, preparation and diligence is key. In order to do this, MSPs should consider the following when looking to integrate IoT devices into their product offering: 

1.Make a plan

Developing bring-your-own-device (BYOD), IoT, and mobile device policies is not only a good practice but ensures that clients are clearly aligned with your expectations and recommendations as well. What kinds of devices are allowed? What software programs are allowed? What data may be stored, and where? These policies ensure best practice, enable SMB education, and protect against liability for both the MSP and the businesses they serve.

2. Stay up-to-date

It’s not possible to simply secure a network and leave it that way. Security requires consistent reviews, policy enforcement, updates, and training – so this should be top of your list.

3.Backup and business continuity are critical.

Remember, no security plan is foolproof, so having a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place is a critical component for any MSP or SMB. Simply having a redundant copy of data as backup is no longer sufficient in today’s business environment. You must have a comprehensive continuity plan that incorporates more than just data redundancy. What’s your recovery point objective—how far back in time would you need to restore? What’s your recovery time objective—how long can you afford to be down? Ask these questions before an incident and define policies to ensure expectations can be met at a moment’s notice.

It’s likely that IoT will continue to impact MSPs and SMBs alike, bringing new opportunities as well as new challenges. MSPs should brace for these changes, but also be ready to act on the opportunities that this emerging technology presents. Those that effectively manage IoT will be poised to profit from the new business while helping their SMB customers grow and operate at peak efficiency.