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Edge Security

Edge Device Security Explained

November 01, 2021

4 minutes

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Edge device security is an increasingly important aspect of organization security in business today.

The proliferation of data, information, and devices within companies, along with a rise in cyberattacks across the board, has brought more attention to the devices that handle and funnel this information, including edge devices.

As a result, edge device security is a key aspect of any cybersecurity strategy, and modern businesses should be looking to ensure that all edge devices on their network are fully secured.

In this blog post, we’ll be talking about edge device security—what it is, what it’s necessary, and what solutions are needed to facilitate it.

What Are Edge Devices?

An edge device is any hardware through which data travels at the boundary (edge) of two networks.

The most common example of this that most will be familiar with is an edge router, which connects the local area network (LAN) to an external wide area network (WAN) or the internet.

In essence, they are the gateways between your office and the outside world.

As such, all data flowing in and out of a business will travel through an edge device, meaning their security is a high priority.

Why Is Edge Device Security Important?

The substantial rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices over the last 10 years has prompted a renewed emphasis on protecting the nodes and edge devices that receive data from IoT hardware.

By 2025, the number of connected IoT devices in the world will be 31 billion, up from 10 billion in 2019 and 1 billion in 2010.

This is simply because the introduction to the network of new endpoints necessitates the introduction of new edge devices to handle the data flow, and this in turn means more opportunities for vulnerabilities in a network.

In other words, the tech necessary to facilitate an Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem means an increase of potential attack vectors for malicious actors to take advantage of.

Internet of Things and Edge Computing

Edge computing refers to applications and data storage solutions being deployed as close to the source of data as possible.

In a traditional network system, data is produced, travels to a centralized data storage solution in the network (like Dropbox, for example), and is then retrieved by an end user.

The intent of edge computing is to keep data at the “edge” and aims to decentralize the flow of information within an organization.

Many Internet of Things devices are used at the edge of networks, being fed data straight from the source (such as from a sensor in a manufacturing plant).

The benefits of this setup for organizations are quite apparent to businesses.

Large amounts of data can be processed and handled with virtually no latency, providing a more efficient working process for end users.

To most companies, this is an attractive proposition, not least because it means that all business data no longer has to be transported to a central server.

This is important because data proliferation in recent years has meant escalating costs for businesses to scale their cloud infrastructure to keep up.

Not only does edge computing mean this is no longer as great an issue, but there is an additional benefit in terms of productivity.

For companies that frequently use bandwidth-intensive applications, like media-streaming platforms, real-time data solutions, and graphically intense apps involving VR/AR (real-time 3D rendering), edge computing provides a far lower level of latency for their operations.

So, What’s the Problem?

The issue with deploying edge devices is that many of these devices are less secure than traditional computers which connect to the Internet through a network.

In many cases regarding edge devices, they will be connecting to the internet through either a 4G or 5G network, in effect circumventing the security protocols which are commonly found in even standard network routers.

Because these devices often lack proper security measures, they are vulnerabilities for a business and a target for cybercriminals, who can access networks by entering through a compromised edge device.

Two-thirds (66%) of IT teams regard edge computing as a potential threat to their organizations.

How Can Edge Device Security Be Ensured?

Edge device security is delivered through secure access service edge (SASE) solutions.

SASE refers to cybersecurity solutions that are delivered directly to endpoints through the cloud, instead of a device having to be connected to the business network in order to receive protection.

This means that devices that are operating on the edge can continue to connect to the Internet via 4G/5G and have its security capabilities provided for it through an SASE solution that lives in the cloud.

What Should Businesses Do About Their Edge Device Security?

For organizations that already deliver device security to their IoT hardware through the cloud via an SASE solution, they have the highest level of protection feasible for a network running with numerous edge devices.

More likely, however, is that the majority of businesses are operating with a lack of edge device security or simply don’t know what their situation is as far as their devices are concerned.

For these companies, it’s highly recommended to have a risk assessment conducted to get a full picture of all the devices and endpoints in an organization.

From there, it can be determined what kind of solution is necessary, and then edge devices can be provisioned and protected through cloud technology.

DOT Security provides information security, like network edge security protection services, to businesses for their cybersecurity and compliance objectives. To kickstart your cybersecurity plan, get in touch with us!