raspberrypi cluster of 32
raspberrypi cluster of 32

Deploying The Raspberry Pi In a Business Setting

When deploying a Raspberry Pi in a business setting it is important to be adequately prepared. Remember just because it is a small computer the Pi is still a computer and requires many of the same methods of upkeep you associated with a full sized unit. Here are a few tips for unit building, physical security, and post-installation upkeep.

Your Supplier

A Raspberry Pi can be purchased from several different suppliers. Aside from the Pi unit you also have to be concerned with needed parts such as cases, storage, specialty equipment as well. With a wide assortment of suppliers on the market, you have to be careful that you choose a reputable one. As always check merchant reviews, 3rd party site feedback (such as the BBB), and any online complaints or praise. A bad supplier can slow down your entire deployment process so the time used to research potential suppliers is time well spent.

Software And Security

After the Pi is deployed and functional it can be easy to leave it as is. The reason for this is Pis are often used for highly specialized tasks and require very little daily interaction once set up. However, to assure your unit keeps functioning and secure regular upkeep is required.

  • Software Installation: Raspberry Pis can be configured to run a variety of Linux operating systems. The key is figuring out which Linux variance fits your needs. Choices include the optimized Raspbian, variances of Fedora known for its cutting edge software, and OS designed around advanced customization such as Arch or Gentoo. BSD is also an option if you require strong networking support.
  • Backup: The nature of how you backup your information can vary as there are several different methods. A common rule of backups is to have multiple copies (at the very least one hard copy and one digital) to assure in the case of an emergency you are prepared. External hard drives, USB storage, DVD copies, and digital cloud-based backups are just a few of the more common methods you can employ.
  • Cyber Security: Linux based systems are less prone to viruses than Windows based platforms however, security standards still have to be followed. As noted above the Raspberry Pi itself should be safely secured to limit access to the hardware but digital attacks and data theft are equally dangerous. The Pi system itself should be password protected by a strong administrative password to limit access and software updates, and the WiFi (or network) it’s connected to should be secured. Also be sure to regularly apply any released security patches. You should consider following hardening techniques to limit potentials for attack.

Physical Security

Aside from data theft you also have to protect from physical theft. Regular computers, despite being rather cumbersome, are often targeted by thieves due to the valuable information they contain concerning company and customer records. A Raspberry Pi’s small size makes it particularly easy to steal as it can fit in a coat pocket or if using an SD Card for storage the card itself can be easily taken. Therefore, always make sure your Pi is secure. If it’s part of a display it should be mounted either inside the display itself or securely fashioned to it. Keeping a Pi secure can be as easy as screwing its case to the structure it’s attached to, attaching it to a freestanding display, or storing it in a cabinet.

Final Thoughts And TakeAways

As the above shows despite its simplicity a Raspberry Pi is still a computer and as such has to be kept safe. Aside from property value the danger of losing company records cannot be overstated. Once bought from a reputable supplier physical and digital safety have to be carefully maintained. Physical safety can be assured by focusing on a secure installation and digital safety is a combination of regular security updates, a secure network, and carefully controlled access.

Special thanks goes to my UK friends, who will recognize themselves, without whom this article would not have really existed. 🙂

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