The proliferation of smartphones and IoT devices has created a need for edge security, which protects hardware and software associated with a network. It’s specifically used for edge computing, in which computing occurs at a network’s outer edge via the cloud. Here’s a look at how edge technology protects business networks.
Cutting Distance to Devices
Edge computing is used by retail chains, bank branches, and other industries that require broad networking based from a local data center or the cloud. The resources can include private, public and hybrid clouds. The massive growth of big data and IoT devices creates bandwidth issues that potentially strain networks, resulting in data latency. This condition calls for shorter distances between the network hub and connected devices. The advent of 5G, which allows for faster and broader data transmission, is part of edge computing.
Explanation of Edge Security
The concept of edge security encompasses various layers such as securing the network’s perimeter to function as a gatekeeper for access to resources. It adds a layer of security via encryption, firewalls, and access control. Another edge security layer involves securing applications that require protection beyond the network layer.
Early threat detection is an important aspect of edge security because it alerts your cybersecurity team to prepare for and impede a surprise cyberattack. It’s imperative to take preventive measures such as identifying specific cyberthreats and defense strategies as early as possible.
Another aspect of edge security is automated patching, which ensures devices are automatically updated when they need to be. The more you keep devices current on security software, the less chance of a sudden devastating cyberattack. Overall, edge security is about identifying and managing vulnerabilities that may exist throughout your edge network, particularly at the endpoints.
Want to learn more about edge computing? Watch the replay of our Living on the Edge webinar where our speakers break down the complexities of edge computing and provide strategies for successfully deploying edge solutions.
What is SASE?
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a term coined by internet researcher Gartner in 2019. It’s an edge security category reflecting the hardware and services needed for edge security. SASE combines comprehensive WAN capabilities with network security functions that allow secure access. It’s essentially a cloud-based solution that combines networking and security efficiency at an affordable cost. In other words, it’s a solution that reflects principles of sustainability.
Zero Trust Network Access
Another emerging innovation for IT managers that fits into the edge security puzzle is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), also known as software-defined perimeter (SDP). ZTNA, which grew out of SASE, is a new way to securely access applications and services both locally and in the cloud. It provides a strong defense by denying access to everyone at all network edges except a specific list of devices identified by IP addresses or other identifiers.
SASE bundles ZTNA and other security services with networking solutions such as SD-WAN into a cloud platform. It’s a user-friendly solution for powerful networking and security. The SASE/ZTNA approach has multiple advantages for businesses, which include the following:
- Easier scalability for companies of all sizes
- Access based on predetermined IP addresses
- Increased security by strictly accounting for all network edges
- More agile and reliable data delivery
- Cloud-native model has less resource limitations
ZTNA can also restrict access at the application level and limit damage caused by an attacker that penetrates the network. Once a ZTNA service verifies a user, it grants them access to the network via an encrypted tunnel, but only to approved resources for the individual. SASE provides a solid baseline for normal network behavior, making suspicious network activity easier to track. The main concern when using ZTNA solutions is that an unhappy insider might use their access to betray the company. Otherwise, SASE/ZTNA is a solid innovation that deserves consideration.
Keys for Edge Security to Work
Edge security has empowering features, but strategies must be implemented appropriately by the right people. Administrators must be able to see the whole network through a portal. Data encryption needs to happen in storage and while transmitted. Automated monitoring tools are necessary to effectively manage the network. Additionally, access to controls for adjusting data must be restricted.
Various orientations of edge security exist, depending on whether the data is centralized at a local data center, a microdata center or a third-party data center. Limiting access must be viewed by management as crucial to reduce the threat of a cyberattack. The list of approved devices must be updated when an employee is terminated or a third-party is granted temporary access.
The expansion of IoT potentially leads a company to build a complex infrastructure that’s cumbersome to manage. But centralizing data at a local or cloud-based data center allows for seamless edge computing. When managers and analysts are able to view the entire network, it’s possible to identify unusual activity quickly. Decision makers can act accordingly to prevent inefficiencies, vulnerabilities, and slowdowns from growing into bigger problems.
Awareness and Future of SASE
Many businesses still must learn the differences between SASE and SD-WAN. The terms are not synonyms, nor is cloud-based security alone considered SASE. Another misconception is that SASE is the same as virtual appliances on edge devices. The key components that define SASE are protection for all edges, identity-based security and cloud-native software on a globally distributed cloud platform.
Gartner predicted 60 percent of businesses will phase out VPNs and adopt SASE by 2023. While SASE is still in its infancy, it’s important to distinguish high quality from low-quality SASE vendors. The low-quality vendors either aren’t keeping up with the technology or aren’t really concerned about cybersecurity. High-quality vendors stay on the cutting edge of new technology and help bring clients up instead of down.
The unstoppable growth of IoT devices is a major driver to the growth of edge networks. Due to the security risks relating to networks heavily populated with IoT devices, businesses are increasingly turning to edge computing.
The nature of edge security is that it gives you the best of several IT fundamentals, delivering a more efficient form of networking and security. It takes into account the need for all network edges such as smartphones, notebooks, and routers to be secure. Since it’s easy to control and saves money, edge security is poised to become more prominent in the coming years.