With every new computing technology, businesses and organizations are plunged into a steep learning curve to iron out inconsistencies and inefficiencies, while addressing security risks. The same applies when you consider edge computing - the future of how we process our information at nodes closer to its source with low latency rates allowing for real-time analytics at a scale not seen before.

Edge computing is the deployment of resources outside the data center. They are placed close to the point of activity that the edge network supports, where a series of connected devices link the edge device to users or processes such as IoT elements. The deployment of an edge device, therefore, loses the physical security measures of the data center.

The client-server model in traditional cloud computing is insufficient to address these problems. Despite being simple, scalable, and reliable, it raises critical issues such as bandwidth and poor web connection. While edge computing largely eliminates these challenges, it introduces new ones.

Edge environments are quite different from traditional data centers. While data centers hardly accommodate end-users, edge settings such as retail stores and factory floors do. The same applies to financial institutions, for example, where clients and customers are expected to interact with the organization. This introduces the potential for a range of data risks that server stations and other big data processing entities have never managed before.

What does this mean for your business? Well, according to some experts, it means you need enhanced security protocols because of the new types of networking on our devices in the future; with ‘edge networks’ being one example. In order to ensure smooth business operations while staying secure against these security risks, understanding edge network risks is the critical first step - so let's break down these.

Why is Security at the Edge Noteworthy?

The data entry point presents major risks since a business is expected to maintain close proximity with the client. Cyber predators can take advantage of the processing capabilities of edge devices to inject vulnerabilities through different wired or wireless technologies.

Most cybercriminals know the easiest way to compromise edge computing systems is to target physical devices, and circumvent network security. They base their insights on the fact that networking protocols employ different security measures between the base’s computing devices and the topology. In many cases, the former is often weaker. If there is a breach, your organization stands to lose valuable data that may be proprietary in some cases.

Vulnerabilities of Edge Servers

Edge data centers, typically, aren’t as secure as the big cloud solutions located in remote sites. In ‘best case scenario’ situations, edge servers are hidden in office closets where the only individuals who can access them are the senior executives— still not skilled systems administration experts or managers. In some cases, the company simply hides the server under the IT manager’s desk!

In sharp contrast, mainstream data centers have high-end security systems to protect their assets. Security protocols could include multiple access-gated security doors, biometric access, and three-factor authentication protocols.

This comparison shows that the major area of weakness through which malicious actions can impact edge systems is between server sites and the public/private centers. Some of the security challenges that edge servers have to deal with stem from the tasks which Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) expect these machines to perform. For instance, these servers are considered to be the decentralized location in which equipment management, security analysis, and resource allocation are initiated within an edge network. Offsite data centers are only accessed by the edge server intermittently, meaning that the bulk of the computing processing takes place locally. Therefore, the IT technician is required to handle the equipment deployment at the organizational level.

This process requires thorough planning beyond what you’d expect within a traditional data center. The process becomes more complicated in big companies since the CTO has to come up with a scaling solution. Remember, edge computing is only considered successful if it can function 100% without relying on a network topology that links back to the cloud. Consequently, this calls for the installation of multiple edge servers to manage the data generated by various nodes.

Setting up the edge servers to handle such huge demands must be balanced with security considerations. The placement of the nodes so close to the source of data means that any compromises will result in leaks of sensitive or private information. If the organization in question is a hospital, for example, server attacks could result in the leak of confidential health data. Businesses must thus ensure rigorous safeguards of their servers since most criminals targeting them may demand ransom in exchange for not making the sensitive information public.

The multiplicity of computers needed by a relatively large organization presents huge security challenges for critical components across dispersed locations. With a third of all digital attacks perpetrated through physical access to the key resources, the need for enhanced security measures of edge servers becomes more pronounced.

What Can Be Done?

Businesses that have deployed edge computing should strengthen their commitment toward this new computing domain by investing in the appropriate physical and digital security measures.

RF Code, who specializes in real-time asset tracking and management, environmental monitoring as well as power monitoring data center services, helps ensure the safety and security of your physical edge compute resources. This aids in improving the efficiency of the computing function while reducing the associated risks.

RF Code gives you the continuous monitoring and the instant alerting necessary to safely and securely deploy edge locations, anywhere, worldwide.

Once you have taken care of the basic protocols of the edge nodes, networks, and servers, you should focus on security. Most organizations have a tendency to acquire infrastructural components that are easy to maintain on-site as opposed to the ones which are off-site and safe. However, the most convenient solution is often not the most secure.

This oversight can exact huge costs on companies when hackers finally discover the vulnerabilities within the system. IT departments need to impress on management that the cheapest solutions, in most cases, are the easiest ones to breach. Most of the recent hacks across various industries such as oil, healthcare, and insurance can be attributed to the use of vulnerable hardware and software solutions. This also explains why big software vendors are quick to release security patches whenever a bug is discovered.

Edge compute solutions solve most problems inherent in cloud computing like the need for high bandwidth and overreliance on remote services for critical processes. However, they reintroduce the challenges associated with traditional local computing such as the physical security of the devices, the programs, and data. RF Code‘s solutions allow companies to harvest the benefits of edge computing without risking their physical and digital assets. With RF code, businesses have 100% visibility over the physical infrastructure within an edge network, delivering real-time insight and control over your assets so that security compliance can be enforced remotely.

RF Code Complements Edge Compute

RF Code can easily be integrated into existing IT, facilities, and business systems, creating mission critical value throughout the asset lifecycle, while our platform’s real-time reporting capabilities allow you to dig deeper into the functionality of various edge domains.

Our platform eliminates any concerns you may have about compatibility between RF Code and your existing software deployments. The program works smoothly with data center infrastructure management platforms (DCIM), building management systems (BMS), and IT systems management tools (ITSM).

With RF Code for Edge, your business doesn’t have to sacrifice the convenience that comes with edge computing saving you money, increasing efficiency, avoiding downtime, and ensuring regulatory compliance.