Moving security to the edge and making enforcement decisions based on the identity of an entity at the source of a connection is well-suited for today’s mobile, perimeter-less, and anytime/anywhere access requirements.
Digital transformation is never easy, and organizations juggle frameworks, strategies, and mandates in search of best practices for managing complex IT environments. Bring in edge computing to the equation, and these pressures grow exponentially. Multiple edge environments like multi-cloud, data center, WAN, remote worker, mobile devices, IoT, etc., have replaced the traditional network perimeter; and they come with their unique set of risks and vulnerabilities.
Companies use emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence to protect their organizations in an automated fashion, and bad actors are using these tools to further their goals too! A significant advantage for cybercriminals is that while all of these edges are interconnected through applications, there is not always consistent security in place to provide centralized visibility. Threat actors are increasingly shifting resources to target and exploit emerging network edge environments strategically.
Securing the Edge is a Multifaceted Task
Securing the edge is not just tricky; it can seem downright impossible, and it brings its own set of security issues to the forefront. Even though some of them may fall under the current security operation procedures and practices of an organization, the unique nature of the edge demands some special requirements. The number of attack surfaces and vectors has increased dramatically.
Organizations spend millions on cybersecurity and still struggle. This is because a robust cybersecurity strategy is about more than just products. Even the most secure servers can’t prevent a user from opening a phishing email, and a well-equipped IT security staff cannot hold the fort without the testing, training, and procedures to ensure that it is prepared.
CISOs believe companies need to constantly create awareness around cybersecurity and ensure that it stays top of mind for employees. This requires consistent training, messaging, and reminders.
Furthermore, bringing in a neutral third party is sometimes the best option for appraising and achieving security in the data center and the edge.
Detect and Track Device Inventory
There is a considerable risk involved when many devices are used and deployed by end-users without being tested or approved by the IT team. An organization’s IT team needs to discover and detect devices as they come online and work with the vendors of these devices to ensure that regular software and operating system updates take place.
Zero-Trust Networking Strategy
Password sharing and password breaches are one of the most significant security issues faced by organizations today. Edge computing magnifies this as the number of devices skyrockets to billions each year. The best way to ensure unauthorized users are not gaining access to the network via an unsecured device, is to adopt a Zero Trust policy.
Zero Trust networks verify IP addresses and users from both inside and outside corporate walls. It bans admission to the network and devices until all security criteria have been met. Given the scale of future networks, it may become necessary to use Zero Trust as the best way to minimize unauthorized breaches.
CISOs say the race to market for new software, hardware, and IoT devices often means that security testing is incomplete. Design flaws, unstructured testing, and poor coding habits can produce devices and systems that cause threats for other devices on your network.
When several IoT devices manage and monitor physical infrastructure, security breaches often result in damage or loss to businesses. CISOs advise organizations to take stock of the new and unmanaged IoT devices added to their network and then patch and upgrade the weak spots in their network.
Clearly, one size fits all approach does not work when it comes to edge security. The right approach to securing each environment is unique and will need a solution that includes integrated processes and products to drive overall cybersecurity readiness.