Language Selection

Your selected language is currently:

6 Min Read

Manufacturing IoT: How Emerging Technologies Are Impacting Service Management

February 9, 2021 / Leon Sayers

The Internet of Things (IoT) is now connecting a vast network of devices and appliances across industries spanning the globe, is poised to grow exponentially. These connected devices are changing the way service management is accomplished, streamlining functions and delivering real-time data to help drive next-best actions and improve outcomes. Where and how you implement IoT capabilities will change the way you see service management.

How the IoT Will Affect Your Manufacturing-Related Service Management Approach

Emerging IoT technologies, including APIs, mobile operating systems, wearables, monitoring devices, robots, and automated building controls can all impact IT service management (ITSM). Challenges can include:

Incident escalation
More connected devices means more incidents, whether internal (bug related) or external (cyber-threat related.) However, according to PwC’s 2019 Internet of Things Survey, 93% of manufacturers believe the benefits of IoT exceed its risks and 68% reported plans to increase their investment over the next two years.

Prepare your ITSM team to rapidly identify incidents, rate them according to ultimate risk to your organisation, and respond accordingly. With a comprehensive incident response plan in place, the impact of most events are typically minor and easily handled.

Cybersecurity concerns
The same report revealed that manufacturers have one key concern: 53% of respondents (the highest among all industries surveyed) said they are “extremely concerned” about cybersecurity, and an additional 35% are “somewhat concerned.” However, conversely 83% of manufacturers say IoT has improved their overall security or is expected to by 2021.

A compromised IoT device can provide an easy-access backdoor into your manufacturing network. Knowing what devices are connected at any given time and instituting a “zero trust network access” (ZTNA) approach is critical to minimise risk and simplify ITSM.

In their 2019 Market Guide for Zero Trust network Access, Gartner presents ZTNA as an environment where all persons and devices, internal and external, are automatically viewed as a threat. A process of authorisation and authentication is rigidly enforced to prevent bad actors from gaining and exploiting access. Gartner estimates that by 2023, 60% of enterprises will have phased out remote access VPNs in favor of ZTNA.

Applied to IoT, ZTNA might slow adoption, but does instill excellent governance and controls that drive best practice habits into your team since steps are clearly laid out for hardening your IoT environment through device naming, configuration, and permission. As long as your ITSM team maintains zero trust protocols, you can reduce your risks of a breach and maximise trust in your database’s security.

Unauthorised devices or environments
Making your organisation IoT-friendly without proper governance and controls increases the chances that employees will at some point attempt to connect an IoT-enabled device or deploy an entire IoT-connected environment below the radar.

This could be as simple as a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) situation, or as complex as a complete application installed by an employee or team seeking to solve a problem. IoT devices can be impossible to secure and monitor if they are unknown to you.

Similarly, IoT devices used by vendors or other third parties can also cause weakened access points. It’s vital to do regular checks for new devices and trace them back to their source, whether it’s a new HVAC installation with an IoT connected thermostat, or a device installed in a fleet vehicle to monitor tire pressure.

Implementing strict controls to prevent devices from connecting to your network without explicit permission will be an aspect of ITSM that is vital to managing resource costs and maintaining control of your network.

Increasing investment in IoT
In October, 2020, Gartner released a report noting that 47% of companies are committed to increasing their investment in IoT, despite the disruption caused across all industries by COVID-19. The emerging technologies related to the IoT and connected devices can significantly cut costs and minimise downtime across manufacturing verticals. You can harden your manufacturing IoT environment, increase security, and streamline ITSM when you partner with Unisys.

Explore our manufacturing industry resources to learn more.