IoT and its Role in a Smart Office

IoT, otherwise known as Internet of Things is a paramount step to technological growth as every device is becoming interconnected with one another. But what does this mean for the workplace? How does a smart office fare better than a regular one and how does it impact the traditional views of offices? Are they even worth the investment?

IoT smart office

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Dawn of the Smart Offices

Let’s keep in mind that for an Internet of Things to be present at the office is to take a step closer to building a smart office. While cybersecurity risks are still a factor much to be contemplated upon, one still cannot deny the benefits and ease automation of your day-to-day work life can provide. With these data-driven devices, not only will your work be easier, but it will also be much more efficient.

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No longer will there need to be constant checks for faulty tools or wasted electricity conditioning the air on weekends where no one is even in the office (something that can help save up to $2,400 in yearly energy bills). This is all due to the fact that these smart IoT devices being able to do those smaller things for you. But what else does it offer?

Productivity Gain in the Office

While it is true that over the past years, CIOs have made tremendous efforts in helping out-of-office working much more viable and efficient, it couldn’t be said the same about in-office working. IoT can help serve this problem and create an environment within the office that helps sustain productivity and nurture it for both convenience and efficiency. Besides the regular video conferences, chat applications (Such as Microsoft Teams or Chatter) and cloud-based teamwork (such as via Dropbox or Sharepoint), a smarter office can provide more. This additional help could include (but not exclusive to):

  • Large-format touchscreens to replace traditional whiteboards.
  • Voice-controlled intelligent agents for all-time support.
  • Virtual augmented or mixed reality-based tools to grant work immersion.
  • Help monitor and improve productivity by analysis of digital footprint.

The Security of a Smarter Workplace

While it is definitely true that IoT doesn’t come with its fair share of dangers, this only makes sense as a smarter tool requires smarter maintenance. As the worst example of them all being the Mirai Botnet (otherwise known as the Dyn Attack), there are things to be learned from this experience that ought to help sustain a safer IoT entity.

The Mirai Botnet / Dyn Attack Issue

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A quick rundown of what happened regarding this issue is as follow: in October of 2016, a botnet was used to create the largest DDoS attack in history at the service provider, Dyn. What happened was that the bot used default usernames and passwords set by the provider that was left unchanged to spread like a virus; actively searching and infecting IoT devices with malware. These devices were simple things such as DVR players and digital cameras, devices that are often times underestimated for these types of hacking issues.

Steps to Take for Better Safety

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However, just because a security breach is more likely to occur when everything is connected to the internet, does not mean you should give up on the idea. A smart office is undoubtedly the future of workplaces. We just need to take the necessary precautions. And there are many small yet effective things you can do that will help drastically improve security. Things such as:

  • Keeping non-essential IoT devices running on the guest server instead of the main one to prevent the breach from the weaker links in the IoT chain.
  • Changing default passwords and usernames (as to avoid something like the Dyn Attack).
  • Using unique passwords per device to prevent a mass breach over a single password.
  • And most importantly never skipping a security update be it for software or firmware as to mitigate most common hacking attempts through known flaws.

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