A study for a networking vendor suggests more firms could be preparing for the Internet of Things

We’re just on the verge of exploring the potential of the so-called Internet of Things.

Utilities are only starting to connect homes with wireless meters, connected cars are still a dream and the connected refrigerator is … well, in North America we’re cool to the idea.

But IP address management provider Infoblox worries that enterprises aren’t thinking ahead enough about what machine to machine communications might mean to corporate networks.

Almost 60 per cent of 400 network managers and executives surveyed large enterprises in the U.S and Britain in May said they’re not actively preparing their networks for the Internet of Things, Infoblox said Monday, part of a company-paid survey it released.

While many organizations already deal with M2M communications — for example through badge readers or video surveillance systems — only 35 per cent of respondents have done anything to their exisitng networks for the IoT.

“In may cases they’re just deploying these things on their existing corporate network,” Cricket Liu, the company’s chief infrastructure officer, said in an interview.

“Sometimes they’re  consigning them to guest wireless because they don’t have a dedicated portion of their network for “things.”

Yet some devices need to contact the data centre servers or domain controllers, he pointed out.

One factor to be aware of is that M2M communications isn’t widespread yet, so network managers don’t yet know what to prepare for. And using the cloud as a vehicle for the transportation and processing of M2M data before it gets to the data centre is still a viable option.

Still, only a minority of respondents said they are planning to or have created a separate logical or physical network for these things. “That’s good news for us, as a company that specializes in IP address management,” Liu admitted. “The more network complexity the better.”

Yet 46 per cent said they would use their existing network rather than a separate one for M2M data. That’s OK if the data is coming from internal devices, Liu said. But in some cases these devices need to connect to the Internet. Using a guest wireless network could raise security problems if  potentially problematic if it doesn’t have authentication, he argued.

Almost two thirds of respondents (63%) believe the IoT to be a threat to network security; the other one-third believe such worries are hype.

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