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Legacy infrastructure has a vital role to play in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

Many businesses do not want the upfront costs associated with ripping out and replacing their existing infrastructure for IoT enabled devices and so adding an IoT layer to existing infrastructure offers an alternative. Plus, the reality is that legacy infrastructure often has mounds of untapped data that can prove vital in ensuring your IoT deployment is data-driven, serves to meet business goals and drives real value.

However, this approach comes with the problem – that as non-connected devices, legacy infrastructure does not have the benefit of in-built security. The data that an IoT layer can draw out of these machines is incredibly valuable and needs protection. Not only this, but once the devices are connected to the business’s main network, without security as a priority, they have the potential to become a backdoor for hackers. 

This is where Edge computing comes in. This refers to network architecture where data, rather than being hauled into the main network for analysis, it processed at its source at the edge of the network. So how does this help with security? Connecting straight to the cloud leaves the infrastructure and the data it generates vulnerable. This in turn exposes not only those devices, but exposes the entire network to security risks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and hacking. As the headlines over the past 18 months prove, hackers are ready and willing to take advantage of any weakness in an enterprise network and businesses cannot afford to take the risk. Edge computing puts processing power at the source of IIoT data, meaning that not only can data be analysed as soon as it is generated, but secured. By having computing power at the edge, an IoT deployment can be designed with an in-built security layer.

As business undergo digital transformation there is a careful balance to be struck – value, cost and security. IoT has the potential to drive huge business value, and legacy infrastructure IoT solutions allow the full benefits of the technology to be reaped without the eye-watering cost of ownership. The final piece of the puzzle has to be security, and by adopting a solution with edge computing capabilities and baking in security from the get-go, businesses can move forward with innovative technologies without being hampered by security risks.