The impact of 50 billion devices on the cloud around us…

Why IoT is going to change cloud computing or the story of billions of things creating more buzz than you could imagine. Today, as you wander down a street you will find a lot of IoT devices around you. That number by the by is growing. In part because there is more and more need for security. IoT devices are great at security. They sit, watching whatever you point them at and don’t ask for coffee breaks. They don’t need to stop and have lunch, or get up and walk around to stretch. They just sit, staring at whatever you’ve pointed them at and report.

How does that impact cloud computing? That is an excellent question, one that requires a great answer, which I don’t have all of yet. I do know that one of the great limiters of cloud computing is going to be bandwidth. On a Friday night, Netflix consumes 50% of the overall global bandwidth being used. That probably represents 20% of the total capacity. Amazon is charging to catch up, and iTunes, Microsoft, and Google are all chasing that media reality. It means more and more bandwidth is going to be consumed. My estimate is that within the next ten years network routing and capacity is going to have to change significantly.

That said there are other issues that will continue to plague the expansion of cloud because of IoT. Recently there was a denial of service attack done on the Dyn DNS infrastructure. The attack, called a DDOS (distributed denial of service attack) used IoT devices to take out a major commercial DNS provider. Sans DNS, the Internet began to have issues quickly, and most of the east coast of the US was soon out of connectivity.

The easy answer to the second problem and the easy solution to fixing the second problem quickly is the broad concept of a network black box in each home. Most of us, however, are not trained nor do we understand the full impact of a firewall. Opening some ports works fine, but at what cost and risk. The remotely managed black box is a huge question for many Internet service providers now. First off, the fact that they (ISP’s) often send out routers that sit in homes, without being updated for years at a time, is a huge risk. The presence of a box that sits between your ISP provided router, your IoT devices, and the world, would add value.

Look, hackers aren’t hacking your devices to get at you. They want your devices processing power to go after bigger fish. But you are a means to an end. If we reduce the surface exposed, we can reduce the impact of IoT devices a little.

I proposed this concept awhile ago in my blog series on the concept of a City Cloud Broker. Where the city-owned a cloud broker that could provide services, such as the above-mentioned black box to citizens. It would increase the ability of the city to respond to the growing digitization of city services and offer those services in a more secure fashion.

We are only as secure as the least secure person on the network we are on. At work, that is normally not an issue, as security is critical for corporate assets. But at home, we are most likely not as secure as we could be, and it is possible that our neighbor is even less secure than we are.

The other thing the black box could do is help us redesign the home network. Having segments available on the home network for IoT devices that are separate from the channels used by tablets and computers. Even have a separate channel for your televisions and other connected smart devices that by the way, aren’t that smart. They don’t understand the difference between using the camera mounted on them for watching the hand gestures to control TV services, and someone remotely connected to them viewing the video of your living room or bedroom. Not very smart at all, but that little box between your router and your network connection at home could be.

The impact of unmanaged IoT devices is going to bring the cloud to its knees, at the whim and will of hackers that are interested in the impact of such events. If you can create a situation where the computers of the world are flooded with data, and the reality of that flooding is they cannot talk to other computers then suddenly everyone is vulnerable.

Time to implement City Brokers!