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3 things about cloud and IoT you need to consider

The internet of things (IoT) and cloud-based providers are bound at the hip. That said, most people don’t understand how, why, or what to expect. I’ve been asked some good questions that drove me to do some research and testing. Perhaps the answers are of interest to you as well.

1. Do you store the data in the cloud or the IoT device?

This depends on a lot of things, but I have two rules of thumb: 

First, when in doubt leave it in the cloud. IoT devices are optimized to collect and transmit data to the cloud, but they typically don’t have the internal resources for long-term data collection and storage. Thus the rise of edge computing, to provide a location for processing and storage that occurs closer to the IoT device, outside of the cloud.

Second, security becomes core to data placement. Some data is personally identifiable and has to be handled in specific ways. Indeed, in some countries it’s not allowed to be transmitted to a public cloud. For this, you take data placement on a case-by-case basis, and perhaps even reconsider the use of cloud in specific situations. 

2. Do you encrypt everything when dealing with IoT and the cloud?

Encryption does carry a processing and I/O load. A cloud provider with access to many processing resources won’t be hindered by this, but small IoT devices are another story. If they are asked to encrypt everything gathered by the sensors and move it to the cloud, that’s going to cause a performance hit for most smaller devices with smaller commodity processors.

I don’t recommend that you encrypt everything. If you’re moving medical data from an IoT device to the cloud, I would take the performance hit and encrypt. But innocuous data from a machine on a factory floor isn’t worth it—again, generally speaking. 

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