A growing number of IT and operational technology (OT) devices and equipment are being used by organisations to aid productivity and capability. OT has become increasingly connected. However, creating and managing these networks introduces security vulnerabilities by providing more points of access for cyber-criminals. Ensuring this environment is visible and highly secure places a large burden on technology teams responsible for its management. Intent on minimising this burden, many management teams are looking to apply purpose-built solutions to promote visibility and control across both IT and OT assets.
These services can trace the lifecycles of an organisation's assets, a process that becomes increasingly important as the number of devices and equipment continues to expand.
Computing's latest research in this area, conducted in partnership with Armis, featured 149 decision-makers, across a range of industries and company sizes, involved in using, testing, evaluating or procuring IT/OT infrastructure management products at their organisation. It highlights opinions, expectations, and challenges around adopting asset monitoring solutions.
Respondents expect the number, diversity, and geographical spread of their connected devices and equipment to increase in the next three years. But respondents also anticipate new challenges and concerns. While 82 per cent expected device proliferation, 75 per cent anticipate securing these devices will become more challenging.
WFH and the hybrid era
The shift to mainstream hybrid working environments has clearly impacted infrastructure management. The rise in flexible, remote, and mobile working demands a migration to cloud and SaaS applications, as technology estates must be monitored and managed by employees wherever they are.
Managing and maintaining this is undoubtedly complex, requiring up to date, efficient, and robust practices. While the pandemic will eventually recede, the need for hybrid systems is not going away. People are accustomed to and prefer flexible working.
As hybrid working scales up, the number of IoT sensors requiring maintenance is rising substantially, especially in industries like logistics, transportation, and manufacturing as they move towards greater automation. 79 per cent of Computing's research respondents agreed that the growth of IoT, as well as cloud applications, has redefined infrastructure management. Because of this, it is unsurprising that the majority of respondents predict device management to become more complex.
Aspirations vs reality
83 per cent of respondents agreed that automated infrastructure management has a key role in augmenting IT teams today, alleviating burden on those responsible through IT and OT assets.
However, only 20 per cent have fully implemented a solution to provide visibility and control of IT, OT, IoT, and IIoT devices in their infrastructure, with 21 per cent in the process of rolling one out.
If a large majority of organisations can recognise upcoming device proliferation and the accompanying demands, why are they not on top of asset monitoring? 81 per cent agreed that unified visibility and control of IT and OT assets are now, and will continue to be, a must have, and while there is near universal interest, only a minority do.
Computing's research found that in organisations where centralised asset management is in place with high degrees of autonomy, IT and OT are being optimised for performance, improving visibility and security, and reducing maintenance costs. These, in turn, relieve the burden on technology teams, helping companies compete in the digital economy and provide secure connections. In order to optimise technology assets, maintaining and monitoring secure devices and equipment across the organisation, decision-makers must use, test, evaluate, and procure sophisticated IT/OT infrastructure.
This post was funded by Armis.