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IoT devices are known for producing large quantities of data, and the volume of data created by these devices increases each year. This presents a challenge for backup admins who must cope with protecting an ever-increasing collection of data.
IoT data protection efforts must start with a comprehensive assessment of the organization's IoT device usage. Organizations need to know how much data is being created and stored in order to properly back it up.
One approach to determining device usage is to assess the way IoT devices are being used throughout the organization. More specifically, admins should figure out the volume of data each device is producing, where the organization stores the data and how it uses the data. It is also important to get a feel for how the organization plans to use IoT devices in the future, because doing so can help with backup capacity planning efforts.
An initial assessment of the organization's IoT device usage is crucial because not all IoT devices are used in the same way. For example, industrial sensors on an assembly line may be used exclusively as a tool for monitoring the health of the various devices used in the assembly process. Real-time monitoring data is often transient and may not have any long-term value. If that is the case, then that data does not need to be factored into an IoT backup plan. On the other hand, IoT devices such as smart security cameras might need to be stored for a longer period.
Consider IoT data volume, contents
There are two main factors to take into account in an IoT data protection plan.
If the data is automatically overwritten after a certain period, then the volume of data will remain relatively consistent, which makes capacity planning easier. At that point, a bigger concern is coming up with an IoT backup plan that adheres to the necessary service-level agreements and that does not overwhelm an organization's available bandwidth and other infrastructure resources.
If the data contains any personally identifiable information, then data privacy laws such as GDPR or CPPA may decide how the data must be backed up and how long it must be retained. Most IoT devices do not produce data that will be subject to data privacy regulations.
An industrial sensor on an assembly line, for example, would not normally produce any type of personally identifiable information. Even so, there are IoT devices that do produce data that may be subject to data privacy laws. For example, a smart camera that performs facial recognition may very well create data that falls under the various privacy laws. Additionally, organizations must also consider the impact IoT devices will have on their regulatory compliance requirements.
Go cutting edge
If an organization does have IoT data it needs to back up, one of the best things it can do to minimize the effect on the backup infrastructure is to take advantage of edge processing, which is a way to process data at the periphery of a network.
Rather than simply backing up all the raw data, the organization may be able to process the data prior to storing it. Depending on the use case, this approach can greatly reduce the data's storage footprint, which, in turn, decreases the amount of data that must be backed up.