6 essential elements of edge computing security

Edge computing is fast becoming a new cybersecurity “front line” as users overlook security in their rush to get data and services deployed. Do you have a plan for patrolling the edge?

In 2017, a thermometer in a fish tank at a casino hotel lobby was hacked, enabling attackers to penetrate the casino’s network and transport its “high roller” database to the cloud.

In May, 2018, a denial of service attackknocked out a corporate website for four days. The attack was orchestrated through a network of internet of things (IoT) devices that included routers, security cameras and digital video recorders.

Both of these incidents illustrate why edge security is a growing concern for IT, which inevitably gets charged with controlling corporate security. This job gets tougher as more compute moves out to the edge in the form of IoT devices, robotics and other localized systems and networks used in remote facilities and user areas.  In this new edge computing environment, there are many IT policy and security issues that must be addressed.

Start your edge security strategy here with a look at the greatest areas of vulnerability and how corporate IT can cope with them.

1. Assets, assets everywhere

“If you're responsible for asset management, you need to account for your IT assets across the company, whether these assets come in through IT or end user areas,” says Mike Raggo, CSO at 802Secure, which specializes in IoT security. “If you don't do this, you're going to have holes in your IT that hackers can penetrate."

The risk is growing as more non-IT personnel are deploying and managing networks on the edge. This creates an "island effect," where a central security organization like IT no longer has visibility into every device and network that is being deployed.

"In one case, an IT department for a hospitality company wasn’t even aware that the company had installed 400 new smart ovens, yet if this network of ovens were hit by a denial of service attack, how much money would you lose from the steaks you couldn’t grill or the customers you disappointed?” asks Raggo.

Scott Smith, chief revenue officer at Cloudapp, which provides secured cloud-based screen recording to devices, observed, “One reason edge computing is expanding is that there is a shift from IT to the end business when it comes to edge computing deployments. New generation employees are just looking for ways to get the job done at the edge, so they tend to disregard IT and also the need to secure the systems and IoT they deploy.”

Because of this, 90 percent of CIOs worldwide are now occasionally bypassed by business users in IT purchasing decisions and 31 percent are bypassed routinely. Consequently, knowing what tech you have “out there” becomes a real problem.

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