Is Edge Computing Secure? Cybersecurity Risks and Measures to Consider

Is Edge Computing Secure? Cybersecurity Risks and Measures to Consider

Authored by Neelesh Kripalani, Chief Technology Officer, Clover Infotech

Edge computing is gaining traction quickly, with some analysts deeming it as the next great revolution in technology. IDC has predicted that the worldwide edge computing market will grow to $250.6 billion by 2024.

Why is Edge Computing gaining traction?

With edge computing, what you are effectively doing is cutting the distance to the computing power. Instead of going all the way to the cloud, you are running processes on the edge server or even local devices such as IoT devices. Processing data locally using edge devices and servers distributes power across a network and reduces bandwidth requirements at central locations. It facilitates data analysis at the edge of the network instead of interacting with cloud-based servers, thereby improving the response time. This enables organizations to add more and more devices in remote locations without any substantial monitoring strategy. 

Is Edge Computing secure?

The increased connectivity and the no. of devices used for edge computing creates more room for cyber criminals to exploit the system’s vulnerabilities. It also creates problems with network visibility and control for the organizations. Any loophole in edge security can provide hackers easy access to the core of a network. 

5 Securing challenges of an Edge Computing world

  1. Edge computing is the deployment of computing resources outside the data center, close to the point of activity that the computing supports. This deployment practice removes edge computing resources from the protective physical access and network security umbrella that the data center provides.
  2. Edge computing, by its very nature, creates an increased attack surface by locating computational resources closer to data sources. When endpoints multiply, the threat landscape expands accordingly. Each device represents another potentially vulnerable endpoint. 
  3. The IoT and other internet-connected devices are known for vulnerabilities caused by default passwords. Thus, the default passwords must vanish and multi-factor authentication needs to be enabled from security point of view.
  4. Data that is gathered and processed at the edge lacks the hardened physical security of more centralized assets. By simply removing a disk drive from an edge resource, or by copying data from a simple memory stick, vital information can potentially be compromised.
  5. Physical tampering of devices is a likely possibility in an edge computing architecture. The fact that there’s a greater number of devices spread across various places, makes physical attacks that much easier to carry out for cyber threat actors.

What should organizations do to ensure security?

One of the most important things is to implement Zero Trust Edge Access wherein cybersecurity team allows minimal or only the required amount of access for each connected device. By this way, if one device is compromised, it’s much harder for a hacker to inflict damage on other resources.

Another important security upgrade is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture. Monitoring edge networks can be challenging given their distributed, endpoint-heavy nature. SASE makes it easier to look into and control these networks by reducing complexity and automating background security tasks as it brings wide-area networking (WAN) and network security services into a single cloud solution.

Further, organizations must implement controls to prevent the dangers of physical tampering with devices. This includes adding malware to assets, swapping or interchanging devices, encrypting data in-transit or at-rest, and automating patching.  

Wrapping up 

The edge has the potential to revolutionize the world of cloud computing. However, companies must be careful not to overlook security considerations. Cybersecurity professionals have the responsibility to stay informed about the best practices to ensure their edge computing infrastructure stays as secure as the central core.

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