The IoT cloud server has become an extremely popular platform for developers looking for a location for their IoT solutions and devices.
The apparent strengths of a cloud-based IoT solution are that it’s straightforward to use and easily scalable. However, IoT and the cloud aren’t always a match made in heaven.
Why is this? And what alternatives are available to developers looking to move away from integrating IoT with the cloud? We’re going to explain the reasons to avoid cloud connectivity in IoT and the alternatives available to you.
What Is an IoT Cloud Platform?
First off, we’re going to define what an IoT cloud platform is.
A good IoT platform bridges the gap between the device and data network. Moreover, it provides insight into the data that’s being used in the backend.
To put it simply, an IoT platform aims to give IoT developers the agency to do a multitude of things, including:
- Spreading out applications
- Remotely collecting data
- Connecting securely
- Remotely managing devices
An IoT platform becomes an IoT cloud platform when it uses the cloud as its server.
So, Why Isn’t Cloud-Based IoT Always the Answer?
Now we’ve defined what an IoT cloud platform is, we’re going to look at the reason why integrating your IoT device with the cloud is not always the best option.
There are Concerns About Cloud Security and Privacy
As the world of IoT continues to grow, so does the number of people using the cloud. This is probably best demonstrated by the emergence of home automation devices and wearable technology. This is a clear sign that IoT and the cloud have broken into the mainstream.
The influx of new users provides hackers with a larger audience to target. Moreover, this mainstream audience isn’t as clued up as the hobbyists and businesses formerly occupying the Internet of Things network.
On top of this, all the data from the vast number of IoT users is concentrated in one big database – the cloud.
An internal or external breach of this database has the potential to breach a multitude of devices and multiple years of data. Quite simply, when it comes to data security and privacy, the cloud is a ticking time bomb.
Read our blog on the Best Practices For Cloud and IoT Security to stay safer within the cloud.
Issues With Latency
As any IoT developer will tell you, low latency in IoT devices is extremely important for users. If you and your users have a need for speed, the cloud will not help you in your pursuit of hitting top velocities.
Why is this? Well, when you send commands or data through the cloud, they’re often stored before they’re transmitted. This has been shown to have an impact on latency. The level of impact varies, but sometimes data and commands can take over five seconds to send.
Requires you To Carry Out Regular Checks and Maintenance
If you decide to go with a centralized cloud system, the burden is on you to carry out regular checks and maintenance. Why do you need to do this? Because of the aforementioned security and privacy issues that come with using the cloud. In fact, insecure IoT devices can be hacked in under five minutes.
Regular checks and maintenance can tackle fast-acting security breaches as soon as possible and ensure that your IoT cloud infrastructure is working correctly. That being said, it’s a frustrating and time-consuming process.
Protect your IoT device from hackers by reading our blog on overcoming IoT and security challenges.
The Alternative: Don’t Use an IoT Cloud Platform, Use a Decentralized IoT Platform
Despite its ease of use and scalability, it seems that the problems with using an IoT cloud platform outweigh the benefits. Luckily, there is another way.
A decentralized IoT Application Enablement Platform (AEP) solves the cloud’s issues with security, data privacy, and latency. Don’t believe us? Well, let’s look by looking at a “traditional” AEP solution (such as AWS IoT or Microsoft Azure) that uses the cloud.
As you can see, data is stored in centralized databases. This not only leaves user data vulnerable but also slows down transfers, resulting in high latency levels.
Now let’s look at decentralized AEP:
In a decentralized AEP, data flows directly between the client and the IoT device. Direct connectivity between the end-user client and an IoT device is shown to greatly reduce latency.
On top of that, data is stored securely in the IoT device rather than the cloud. This gives the user complete control over the data residing on their network and, as a result, the risk of a third party intercepting data is almost eradicated (just like the tedious maintenance and checks of your system).
Here at Nabto, our IoT Application Enablement Platform uses peer-to-peer connectivity to decentralize data processing and storage.
The Bottom Line: It’s Time For IoT and the Cloud to Break Up
The cloud has opened up the world of IoT to a completely new audience. However, as its usage grows, so do the problems with using it as part of an IoT platform.
Therefore, we’re calling it. It’s time for IoT developers to go their separate ways from the cloud and focus on a decentralized IoT platform. Long and short, it’s time for IoT to break up with the cloud.
Read Our Other Resources
We’ve also published a range of IoT resources for our community, including:
- Buying versus building an IoT platform, which discusses how to choose the best option for you.
- Our guide on how to Develop IoT Apps and what platforms you can use.
- A Comparison of IoT Protocols for Developers will help you find the perfect protocol for your device.
- Find the right microcontroller by reading our Complete Guide to Microcontrollers for IoT