Integrating Smart Systems: From Connected Cars to Security

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There is probably no better example of the potential for digital innovation, and the challenges we will need to overcome to get there, than the smart car.

Over the past several years, cars have become increasingly sophisticated. Safety systems include back-up cameras and alarms, side traffic indicators, lane deviation warnings and correction, and automatic all-wheel drive based on real-time assessments of road conditions. The list goes on, including automatic tire pressure gauges, GPS navigation, radar-enhanced cruise control, and even assisted parking and driving. The potential of fully interconnecting smart systems is virtually limitless. The same is true for organizations looking to harness their cloud, virtualization, SD-WAN, IoT, and mobile solutions and systems into a single integrated network.

Maximizing the Potential of Integrated Systems

Organizations looking for a single integrated network to harness their WAN edge, multi-cloud environments, virtualization, IoT devices and mobile solutions may face a handful of challenges.

First, a lot of work needs to go into the development and adoption of open standards to support the interoperability, management, and orchestration of all of these systems. Next, this new interactive edge network will need to include local learning nodes that are capable of making autonomous decisions when needed in real time, while sharing and collecting refined intelligence from a central AI system. Data and compute resources will need to be deployed locally to support the use of bandwidth-heavy applications and rich media, and replicated across extended environments to accommodate users on the move.

Addressing Risk with a Security-First Strategy

Finally, all of this will need to be wrapped up under a single, expansive security platform designed to scale and adapt to systems in a state of constant flux. Even simple variations between the security policies and enforcement standards of a smart car and a smart roadway, for example, could mean that critical information doesn’t get shared in time, with potentially devastating consequences. And at the same time, a car loaded with the financial information of its driver to simplify transactions needs to be protected when it communicates with other vehicles.

The trick to solving this problem, whether you are developing tomorrow’s transportation systems or simply looking to adopt a new cloud or SD-WAN service for your organization, is to start with security rather than leaving it to the end. Organizations, manufacturers, and standards bodies will need to agree on the protocols and protection that will be needed before any of the other work is done. Visibility across the entire interconnected landscape, along with consistent policy enforcement and threat intelligence sharing and correlation, will need to be ensured before any new system even hits the drawing board. And organizations will need to upgrade or eliminate legacy security systems to reduce risks and remove blind spots.

Securing our Digital World Requires a New Generation of Security

In this new world, traditional security solutions will struggle to keep up with new performance requirements, the volume of data being processed, and the complex interoperability of different systems. What’s needed is a new generation of security, which some are calling Security-Driven Networking, where security doesn’t just exist as a separate monitoring and control overlay system, but one that is deeply woven into every component of this new environment. Security systems woven directly into the safety systems of a car need to be able to automatically synchronize and share critical information with an intelligent roadway to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of those communications without compromising availability.

The same thing is needed in our digitized businesses. Security needs to function as a native cloud service, function as part of the traffic management and connectivity functionality of a Secure SD-WAN solution, and be woven directly into the applications and workflows running across millions of edge devices. And all of these security instances need to see each other, speak the same language, and enforce the same policies in an identical fashion. Without it, tomorrow’s digital world could be run by cybercriminals able to hijack systems, steal data, and disrupt critical infrastructures at will.

Learn more about Fortinet’s partnership with BMW Motorsport here.

Read more about the power of custom security processing and meeting the demanding performance requirements of cybersecurity today.

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