What Does Edge Computing Mean for Cybersecurity?

Oct 01, 2018 Bob DeSantis - Chief Executive Officer

365_PhoneSecurity.jpgWhen it comes to your data, nothing is more important than keeping it secure. Although advancements in security have come a long way, the threats remain ever-present, with hackers constantly developing new ways to infiltrate systems and steal or do damage to sensitive data. That’s why security measures need to be as modern as the technology that we use to store and process your data. 

While there’s been a substantial amount of talk about the importance of security for cloud computing, not nearly as much has been said about the emergence of edge computing and what that means for cybersecurity. As a growing technology, edge computing deserves our attention, so we’ll take a look at the conversation from that angle here. 

To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s quickly define what we mean by edge computing. It’s essentially any computing that takes place close to the source of data. When considering edge computing, think of all of the devices that may connect to the cloud (phones, tablets, smart devices, etc.), but exist outside of the cloud infrastructure. Edge computing may be deployed by large corporations with devices that help run their businesses, or any number of devices that the average consumer uses on a daily basis. Edge computing helps data networks handle influxes of information locally, reducing backhaul traffic to the cloud. Regional data centers in Tier 2 & 3 markets (like many of 365’s facilities) cache data closer to end users and connected devices.  

What security threats exist for edge computing?

Murphy’s law states that “anything that could go wrong, will go wrong.” This seems especially true for the world of computing. With data being stored on so many devices connected to one another, it’s easy to imagine that security breaches could do significant harm to companies and users that own and operate these devices. 

Take, for example, the case of a casino being hacked through a thermometer that was used to collect temperature data in a fish tank. Although a seemingly innocuous device, the thermometer was used by hackers to infiltrate the casino’s network and other connected computers, which stored information about the high rollers that would often frequent the casino. As Business Insider explains, hackers were able to access this list of contacts stored on other devices, send this information through the thermometer and upload it to the cloud. 

Although this case may sound like the far-fetched plot to a futuristic heist movie, it’s very real - and it demonstrates that devices on edge networks are often in a precarious position with regard to security. As more devices are developed that connect to one another and send data around the edge network, it adds new vectors for potential break-ins and breaches. 

However, the nature of edge computing - the fact that it processes data locally versus sending all traffic to the cloud - provides some level of inherent security. As with everything in the data security world, the edge requires IT professionals to stay vigilant and aware of the latest trends. This InformationWeek article offers a few suggestions: 

  • Alleviate the threat of DDoS attacks with cryptographic keys in IoT devices
  • Encrypt communication from/between local devices 
  • Leverage network equipment customized for edge security
  • Restructure IT departments, hire IT professionals with edge expertise and integrate security into company culture  

365’s Take 365_DataCode.jpg

365 Data Centers is committed to ensuring that edge computing  applications are deploying cutting-edge security measures. 

We understand that security is of the utmost importance. We’ve taken measures to ensure that we’re compliant with a number of rigorous standards outlined by the federal government, and security is always on our mind as technology and the needs of our customers advance.Our team of security experts is focused on preventing security breaches in edge environments as well as mitigating and assessing any harm done if a breach were to take place.  

As the owner and operator of 10 strategically located data centers that are mostly in edge markets, 365 is very concerned about the security of the massive edge web the world is busy building. Every day, we help to architect that network, and we’re investing in making sure it meets the demands of the businesses and consumers tapping into it; security is a huge part of that. Contact us to learn more about our hybrid, edge solutions.