Critical Systems in a Closet!? Where Edge Monitoring Becomes Necessary

Posted by RF Code

The explosively increasing Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the landscape and nature of demands placed on businesses. Customers expect rapid service, directly at the device that is their point of interaction. While previous advancements such as the cloud allowed for revolutions in the way data is stored and distributed, these older tools are not necessarily capable of meeting customer demands optimally. As such, businesses increasingly rely on edge computing, establishing network servers outside of traditional data centers and nearer to customers. While edge computing brings some considerable benefits, like faster response times, it also entails some risks. Businesses need to manage and monitor their assets to ensure that they remain available 24/7.

Edge computing does more than just put processors where people use them by replacing slower links to traditional data centers. It involves a complete rethink of network infrastructure. By moving processing power to where it works, however remote, edge computing makes data faster.

IoT devices allow people to monitor, for example, their health or immediate environment. Increasingly IoT uses also expand into more elaborate processes, such as financial transactions, self-driving cars, predictive analytics, industrial processes, and supply chain management, to name a few. In fact, a recent Gartner report predicts that the percentage of enterprise data operating from outside of traditional data centers will increase from 10% to 75% by 2025. These increasingly localized services require substantial computational power far from the data center.

Edge computing has become popular not just because of customer demand, but also because of economic rewards on the business end: high speed and low cost. Putting the processors near the data drastically decreases network congestion. This makes for faster operations, at less expense. Bringing computation to the trading floor or the factory floor can cut expensive time. Think of edge computers as mini data centers operating right where needed. Pulling only what data it needs, an edge computer operates far more efficiently than the traditional data hub.

However, exposing this vast number of edge computing devices to the elements, and to criminals, poses difficulties in maintaining safety and reliability. Without the usual resources from a data center, including personnel, it becomes a challenge to keep tabs on and maintain assets and the network. To address these challenges, edge computers need the right sensors and control circuitry. They need to be able to operate as self-sustaining devices to assure their safety.

Critical Challenges of Edge Computing

When it comes to critical data, how can an organization have confidence that its edge infrastructure is safe? A large business may have far more devices spread out around the perilous edge than in the protected center. This can make safety a hurdle.

Regardless the specific configuration, edge sites have complex monitoring requirements. These encompass the security of each device from intruders, as well as the maintenance of operational conditions like electricity and climate control. Organizations can tackle these challenges with advanced software that intelligently combines monitoring and control into a comprehensive management system.

One of the main reasons for putting processors at the edge is for performance. Therefore, speed is paramount. To deliver real-time results, administrators need to see performance data as processes unfold. For edge applications, like artificial intelligence, real-time data down to millionths of a second must prevail.

Lack of access to electrical and network connectivity can compromise management at the edge. Security at the edge presents additional threats. While data centers offer multiple complex defenses, edge computing puts critical data right where attackers lurk. Thus edge monitoring needs to adhere to a high standard, incorporating all aspects from the physical and network layers up.

The edge is served by technology from multiple heterogenous providers and the resultant heterogeneity can complicate computing. As with the other challenges facing edge deployments, this necessitates monitoring tools to manage the whole edge network. With an abstraction layer to glue together the divergent underlying equipment, organizations can surmount heterogeneity issues.

The challenges of edge computing differ from difficulties faced in traditional data centers or the cloud. Often devices in use at the edge are smaller. A portable computer that employees or customers use has less room for hardware than a data center, and mobile network connectivity is often less robust.

An embedded computer for a power station, a retail store, or a vehicle is far more difficult to fix than a server. Also, these edge applications and services should have more capacity for self-maintenance. They have to work even without the usual assurances of connectivity or basic security. And immense differences in architecture further confuse matters when an organization wants to run the exact same code base on the edge as in other deployments.

As 5G, IoT, and other technologies expand, this will flood IT departments with connected devices. This volume poses the fundamental challenge of handling the information in a fast, safe manner. Meeting evolving ethical standards, providing assurance of robust cyber and environmental safety, and delivering speedy service without compromising integrity are all necessary, while also challenging standards to meet. Monitoring the edge thus becomes a critical security task, which can make or break the success of a deployment. Accordingly, organizations operating devices at the edge need robust monitoring tools. Luckily, firms like RF Code now produce just such solutions necessary to manage edge networks.

The Need for Edge Monitoring

Appropriate monitoring tools enable businesses to protect their investments in critical systems, as well as their customers. When monitoring is not done well, it can result in security breaches, compromising private data. Also, failures can result in lost and damaged equipment, with immense costs in terms of time and money. Regulatory compliance also suffers without monitoring.

But proven monitoring solutions like RF Code offer comprehensive resources to handle edge computing safely. An efficient edge monitor should operate as, essentially, a central nervous system for deployment. It should process incoming signals, such as climate information or alarm signals, and then sends output signals in response. This “brain” combines data from numerous sources, making for an effective overseer.

RF Code includes useful features such as real-time monitoring, video of monitored deployments, and global mapping to perform just this sort of function. Together, these tools allow for continuous operation without on-site personnel. A real-time edge monitoring service like RF Code offers extreme detail, down to individual server racks, and reliably functions 24/7. These automatic tools, along with reporting and alerts, assist you in keeping track of your assets to prevent losses and increase regulatory compliance.

A monitoring system must continuously report on the status of monitored devices. Controlling who can or can’t access data at the edge can have more pivotal influence than at any other part of the network. A radio frequency-enabled device can automatically report access violations, and even respond by adjusting or controlling access from afar. Traditional edge deployment lacks the security infrastructure of a data center, but modern monitoring tools can fix this.

When one needs not only more data or bandwidth, but also lower latency, scaling up fails—but scaling out succeeds. Edge computing involves spreading computing resources across larger geographic areas, rather than packing computers more densely. Transferring some data processing to the edge opens broader avenues, and can also act as a margin of safety for network or electrical outages.

Edge facilities are prefabricated, deployable data centers. They pack a wallop in small spaces of only a few feet that nonetheless may draw on 100 kW of power. Downtime costs can tally up to a massive $300,000 per hour. Monitoring these small powerhouses can therefore save millions of dollars in disaster prevention and recovery.

At the edge, devices need to discover each other again to increase management performance. This allows the edge to structure itself. For discovery to work, your devices need continuous, detailed monitoring. The increasing complexity of the edge pressures organizations to monitor these services, to identify the causes of slowness or errors. This can affect safety or the bottom line, if for instance a car or an oil rig suffers damage.

Additionally, in responding to environmental challenges, monitoring temperature, humidity, and other core data can keep equipment within warranty and safe. Having a real-time handle on inlet air can protect sensitive hardware. Keep enemies like dust and gaseous pollution at bay by environmentally monitoring your critical systems in edge data centers—which may have to contend with effluents from factories, farms, and other hazards.

Our global economy is adapting, with each sector evolving to explore and utilize the specific edges that make sense for it. Technology and the economy are moving in tandem toward a heavier reliance on computing everywhere. This practically necessitates the edge. It allows for processing with disregard for the current scarcity problem of present internet and electrical supplies.

But unfortunately, edge data centers do not inherently have the luxury of a traditional data center’s space and resources, making continuous monitoring of their resources a necessity. Thus, the right remote monitoring system can make the critical difference in operational effectiveness.

Utilize A Monitoring System To Successfully Steer Your Edge Devices Into The Future

Bringing computing to the edge is like bringing groceries or any other goods home to where people can use them. But like any transportation of resources, you need to keep an eye on things in transit! One needs to make sure nothing happens to goods en route. Thus, to extend the analogy, real-time monitoring of edge devices and infrastructure is an essential component of your assets’ defense.

The age of edge computing represents a third stage of the internet. First came the server. Then, we expanded into pure space with the cloud. Edge computing builds on this even further, making the same new capabilities the cloud birthed now portable and multiplicitous. It does the content delivery network one better, bringing resources even closer to the customer. The lower latency expedites the enmeshing of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things ever more closely with people’s lives.

But this ever more intricate channel for data sharing needs some guards to run effectively! RF Code can protect your edge site, even for lights-out deployments. Along with the other benefits of edge monitoring, RF Code’s asset management software sends alerts as soon as it detects any potentially hazardous situations, giving you the power to find and eliminate threats, while increasing operational efficiency.

You need to manage assets throughout your enterprise, from the data center to the edge, to increase efficiency, save money, and decrease risk. Large businesses already rely on these solutions, and you can too. Constant monitoring is the essence of edge protection. It covers not only the data center, but the entire path from the data center to the customer. We’re at the start of the edge computing revolution—take the security steps necessary to ensure you remain a leader in it by safeguarding your edge data. Contact RF Code for a demo of their security services today.