iDIGI & The Concept Of Having A 3rd Party Manage Critical Network Device Data

I read an excellent post today regarding the iDigi device management “cloud” platform.

http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Videos-Interviews/Smart-grid-companies-Digi-International-wants-to-be-the-Windows-of-wireless-3666.html

I like Digi, and I like the promise of iDigi for managing devices for some applications. However, I must  voice my critical infrastructure colleagues’ concerns about allowing any 3rd party (in this case Digi) to host key information, and in fact monitor, the performance of  critical network assets. A previous Digi WWAN device management offering, Connectware Manager, was a device management console that was hosted internally, “inside the firewall” of our critical infrastructure clients. Digi seems to have ceased the sale of Connectware Manager, and with its demise, goes the option of keeping all of one’s critical device data in-house. iDigi is subscription-based, and follows a software-as-a-service business model. Basically, with Digi, it is now iDigi or the nothing.  CradlePoint, with their offering WiPipe,  is also a software-as-a -service model. I am hoping that Sierra Wireless does not follow suit and try to yank Ace Manager and force all clientele to utilize a S-A-S management platform. I have heard rumblings that this is the plan.

Now I understand the beauty of a world where all devices could be managed seamlessly, in the cloud, preferably by somebody else who takes care of all the technical headaches of hosting a secure server. I also understand that the BIG money for these network device manufacturers would be in an upsell to the a software-as-a-service  business model with its recurring revenues. And talk about a sticky client retention strategy! However, for those manufacturers that are truly interested in serving the needs of all critical infrastucture clients (utilities, government, energy, rail), they will  need to understand that options must be kept open about who hosts the critical data.  And if big energy or a government agency wants to manage their own network device data, on their own secured server, and not outsource it to a third party that is not exactly in the “secure server” business, then you have to give them a robust, intuitive, scalable management application platform to do so.  Therefore, find my open letter below:

Dear valued network device manufacturer partners,

Please understand that some critical infrastructure clients will never implement the 3rd party hosted wireless network device management model that you are all marketing heavily at the moment and that other options are desired in the marketplace.

Sincerely, Yours In Partnership,

WWANWOMAN

I’d love to hear some feedback on this piece from critical infrastructure network jockeys who are both pro- and con- the concept of outsourced network device monitoring and have opinions that they would like to share.