There seems to be a smart version of everything these days. From coffee machines to aquarium thermometers, if you can think of a device that can benefit from an internet connection, it probably already exists.
It’s not really a surprise. The IoT market is on the brink of explosion, as Intel projects 200 billion IoT devices will be added to our networks by 2020, up from 15 billion in 2015.
And they’re not all for personal use. As we’re lining up to buy the latest, greatest IoT device to improve our day-to-day lives, businesses are buying new tools to make their offices smarter too.
Sounds sweet, right? There’s a catch. IoT devices can be added to a network without notice, cause unexpected performance issues, and provide an easy attack surface for cybercriminals.
Talk about a network management headache—unless you have Auvik. With Auvik, you can see what’s connected to your network and what it’s doing—to stop performance and security problems in their tracks.
See what’s really on your client’s network
If you’re only using an RMM, you’re not seeing everything on a network—especially not IoT devices—says Luis Alvarez of Alvarez Technology Group:
“If you look at your client’s network with Auvik, you’re going to see a whole different network than you see when you’re using your traditional RMM tool. In traditional RMMs, we’re typically only looking at PCs, servers, maybe Apple systems.”
And even though that’s all you can see, your client might expect that you’re managing everything. Even stuff you didn’t know about, Luis says:
“A lot of times, clients were under the assumption that we were managing everything on their network, not just PCs and servers. … Once we started deploying Auvik on our client’s networks, we started seeing all these devices. We thought we were managing 25 PCs and a couple servers. Now we realized we were managing 25 PCs, a couple servers, 30 printers, multiple access points, multiple switches, and firewalls.”
But if you can’t see critical network components like switches, routers, and firewalls, how can you be confident you’re seeing IoT devices?
In Auvik, you get a complete picture of a client’s network, where you can see the IP address of any connected device. If a discovery protocol like SNMP or WMI is enabled on an IoT device, you’ll also see its make, model, and vendor, and you’ll have in-depth access to data about how that device is performing.
For Luis, that visibility is critical in network management:
“We need to be able to use [our tools] to dissect, figure out what’s going on, troubleshoot the problem, and provide our clients solutions. Using something like Auvik, we were able to get that visibility into those areas of the network that previously we weren’t able to see.”
See how it’s connected
In your Auvik map, you’ll see how an IoT device is connected—it doesn’t matter if it’s plugged in via Ethernet or is added to a Wi-Fi network. This information is vital when things go wrong. Take what happened to an Auvik partner in Texas, for example.
One Monday morning, a client calls to complain that the Wi-Fi isn’t working. The problem didn’t exist on Friday and their internet connection is up, so what’s causing the outage?
On the Wi-Fi subnet, our partner can see that all IP addresses are taken… but their client didn’t add any extra devices to the network.
Using the information available in Auvik, one vendor across multiple devices stands out—Philips.
It turns out a contractor installed IP-connected light bulbs over the weekend, which have taken all the IP addresses on the Wi-Fi network. By simply increasing the DHCP scope for the client’s Wi-Fi network, the client’s employees can be productive under the lights of their brand new light bulbs. Problem solved.
See the traffic coming from those devices
If the “what” and “where” of an IoT device doesn’t tell the whole story, you can still get visibility—and valuable insights—into the traffic coming from it.
With Auvik TrafficInsights™, you can see what applications are being used, which device is using them, and where the traffic is going.
This insight can be used when troubleshooting performance issues or even when protecting your clients from malicious actors.
When IoT devices aren’t monitored, bottlenecks happen. Anthony Garner, CTO of OrLANtech, used Auvik to discover—and troubleshoot—an IoT device flooding a network with traffic:
“I just finished using Auvik earlier this morning troubleshooting an issue at a customer. Found a fingerprint door entry device that was generating excessive traffic on their network, affecting performance of all other devices on the network.”
They also pose a significant security risk, since they’re loaded with vulnerabilities—from weak passwords to insecure data transfers. If they’re not accounted for, they can cause serious problems.
Adam Peterson, Owner of Real IT Solutions, says Auvik TrafficInsights helped him stop traffic from going to a country his client has no business dealings in:
“I was able to locate a device that was communicating with China for no reason. I was extremely impressed with how quickly I could find what I was looking for, and we resolved the issue by adding a geo-restriction rule to the firewall.”
So, if you’re worried about problems caused by IoT, don’t bother. When you add Auvik to your software stack, monitoring and managing IoT becomes way less complicated.