Edge computing is an IT framework that challenges the traditional centralized computing model. Instead of relying solely on distant data centers or the cloud to handle data processing tasks, edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to the source of data generation.
This decentralization of computing resources enables faster processing and real-time analytics, reducing latency and enhancing users’ overall system performance.
In this article, we will discover the intricate world of edge security, exploring its challenges, best practices, and the cutting-edge solutions available to ensure the safety and integrity of edge computing environments.
By understanding the vital role of edge security in edge computing, organizations can confidently embrace this transformative technology while safeguarding their sensitive data and preserving their digital ecosystem’s security.
Edge Security Device Risks
Edge computing devices, like IoT sensors and mobile Internet devices, are exposed to various security risks. To give you an idea of the vast scale of edge computing, there are estimated to be around 20 billion IoT devices, and that’s just IoT sensors, not to mention other edge computing devices like smart devices, smart cameras, uCPE equipment, edge servers, and edge networking infrastructure.
The vast proliferation of these devices, and their often remote or unsecured locations, make them easy targets for malicious activity. With their direct access to the network, they can be used to infiltrate and compromise the entire enterprise network infrastructure, allowing attackers to steal sensitive data or disrupt business operations.
What Makes A Good Edge Security Solution?
Very early IoT devices had very weak security policies, and these early challenges prompted the ISACA to publish information concerning the most common weaknesses:
- Insecure web interface
- Insufficient authentication/authorization
- Insecure network services
- Lack of transport encryption
- Privacy concerns
- Insecure cloud interface
- Insecure mobile interface
- Insufficient security configurability
- Insecure software/firmware
- Poor physical security
A robust edge security solution must blend intrusion prevention systems, access control, and web filtering. It should protect data in transit and at rest, leveraging encryption and other security tools and protocols. Security controls that provide real-time threat detection and the ability to respond quickly to potential breaches are also critical.
Cloud networks, IoT, and computing on the edge
Cloud networks and IoT are driving the growth of edge computing, bringing computation and data storage closer to the data source. However, this shift also raises new edge security challenges.
Increased attack surface:
With the expansion of edge computing, the number of entry points for potential cyberattacks increases, providing more opportunities and tools for hackers to infiltrate systems and devices. Each IoT device can potentially be used as an access point to a corporate network, resulting in a much larger attack surface for hackers to target.
Vulnerabilities in IoT devices:
IoT devices are often built with cost-efficiency in mind, sacrificing robust security measures. This makes them attractive targets for cybercriminals seeking to exploit weaknesses in these devices for unauthorized device access or data theft.
Limited computational power:
Edge devices typically have limited processing capabilities compared to traditional data centers, making implementing complex security measures across multiple devices challenging and leaving many organizations susceptible to certain attacks.
Lack of standardized security protocols:
The rapid growth of edge computing has resulted in a lack of uniform security standards across different devices, cloud services, and networks. This lack of consistency can lead to gaps in protection and difficulties in managing security effectively.
Data privacy concerns:
Data privacy concerns of IoT devices at the network edge revolve around potential vulnerabilities and unauthorized access, as sensitive information is often transmitted and processed closer to the devices themselves, increasing security risks such as data breaches and misuse.
Implementing strong encryption protocols, regularly updating firmware and software, introducing secure authentication mechanisms, and establishing robust access controls are essential measures to safeguard IoT devices at the network edge, protecting data from potential threats and unauthorized access.
Latency and availability risks:
While edge computing aims to reduce latency, if security protocols hinder the efficient flow of data, it could affect system availability and responsiveness, leading to potential disruptions in critical operations.
To protect against latency and availability risks with edge security, implementing robust data caching, edge computing capabilities, and redundant communication channels can optimize data processing, minimize delays, and ensure continuous operation even during network disruptions.
Supply chain vulnerabilities:
As the edge computing ecosystem involves various components from different manufacturers and vendors, it becomes challenging to ensure the security of the entire supply chain, making it susceptible to compromise at any point in the chain.
To safeguard against supply chain vulnerabilities, organizations can implement stringent supplier vetting processes, establish end-to-end visibility across the supply chain, and diversify sourcing options to mitigate potential disruptions and reduce the impact of security breaches or logistical challenges.
Difficulty in monitoring and management:
With a distributed perimeter computing architecture, managing security across numerous devices and locations becomes more complex, making it harder for companies to monitor and respond promptly to security threats.
The proliferation of edge computing may increase the potential for insider threats as individuals with access to edge devices or access control to networks might be tempted to misuse their privileges for personal gain or to harm the organization.
To mitigate insider threats, companies can implement access controls and least privilege principles, conduct regular employee training on cybersecurity best practices, monitor user activities, and establish a culture of trust and transparency while also encouraging employees to report any suspicious activities.
As edge computing crosses geographical boundaries, complying with different regional data protection and privacy regulations can be daunting, requiring organizations to navigate complex legal and compliance issues.
Addressing regulatory challenges requires organizations to stay updated on relevant laws and industry standards, establish comprehensive compliance programs, conduct regular audits, and collaborate with legal experts to ensure adherence to data privacy, security, and other regulatory requirements.
The best practices for edge computing security
“Zero Trust” is the cornerstone of edge computing security best practices. According to Fortinet, there are three core principles to Zero Trust at the network core and the edge.
- Enhanced device visibility and segmentation
- Strong identity-based access controls
- Ability to secure endpoints on and off your corporate network
To safeguard edge devices within a public cloud infrastructure effectively, implementing a Zero Trust approach becomes essential. This approach ensures the physical security of connected devices and addresses the specific edge security requirements arising in growing industries. To protect your organization against potential threats at the edge, developing a comprehensive cloud security strategy that covers all aspects of edge security is imperative.
Implement Zero Trust Edge Access with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
Whether access attempts originate from within or outside the network, Zero Trust ensures that trust is never assumed by default. When combined with the robust SASE framework, organizations fortify their defenses by granting network access exclusively to authenticated and authorized users or devices.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a cloud-based networking and security model that unifies WAN capabilities with cloud-native security services. It prioritizes identity-centric access, Zero Trust security, and user-centric policy enforcement to simplify management, enhance security, manage and optimize performance for modern cloud-first and mobile-centric environments.
This powerful synergy bolsters protection and safeguards the corporate network k countless potential threats.
What does edge computing security look like today?
Securing edge environments is critical; organizations must extend their security policies beyond the confines of traditional networks and data centers to encompass all edge devices.
In particular, IoT and mobile devices have faced challenges in catching up with robust security controls. Early releases often lacked adequate security measures, which fortunately changed rapidly. Nevertheless, prioritizing the security of edge devices remains imperative.
Protecting your organization against the edge
Decentralized computing introduces unique security challenges that transcend traditional enterprise security measures. To ensure comprehensive protection, organizations must diligently address the distinctive risks associated with edge devices, including physical security and potential vulnerabilities arising from their location or configuration.
Implementing a robust and all-encompassing enterprise and edge security risk strategy can effectively mitigate these risks, safeguarding your organization against potential threats.
Atlantic.Net Network Edge Protection Managed Services
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With Atlantic.Net, you get:
- A team of experts that monitor your network 24/7 identifies and blocks threats and keeps your data safe.
- A robust Web Application Firewall (WAF) that can block unauthorized content, including cross-site scripting attacks, and SQL injections
- DDoS protection that can absorb Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
- Proactive maintenance and management
- Scalability to meet your business needs
- Atlantic.Net’s Network Edge Protection managed services are backed by a 100% uptime SLA.
- We have a proven track record of protecting our customers’ networks from cyberattacks.
- We offer a free consultation to help you assess your network security needs.
Protect your data, protect your reputation, and protect your future with Atlantic.Net’s Network Edge Protection. Stay safe, stay secure, contact us now, and experience the peace of mind you deserve.