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Unpacking IoT, a series: The scalability challenge and what you can do about it

December 03, 2019 / TIM SZIGETI

The Internet of Things (IoT) presents a number of challenges for network engineers. In my previous post, I explained how Cisco is helping to address the biggest IoT challenge by far: security. In this post, we’ll cover the next challenge: scalability. As shown in the figure below, tens of billions of devices are coming online within the next few years, which presents tremendous IoT scalability concerns. How can organizations possibly scale security and network policies to address all of these devices? If we have to configure IoT devices the way we’ve configured network devices for the last couple decades, then we won’t be able to meet the scalability requirements that IoT is driving. The “traditional” way – manual, box-by-box configuration – is slow and prone to errors.