What Does Edge Security Mean in Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is an evolving set of tools, risk management approaches, technologies, and best practices that protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attacks and breaches. A granular approach to permissions and user behavior is key for edge cybersecurity, along with the Zero Trust model of verifying identity before granting access.
The device detection aspect of edge security is crucial as most edge devices need the processing power or robust security features of traditional IT infrastructure. As a result, they have more points of vulnerability and are easier to attack. For example, a single vulnerable container image or edge node can become a breach point and compromise an entire network. This is why the first step in an effective edge security strategy should include a robust threat modeling and risk assessment process conducted on every individual device, according to Couchbase. This can help identify potential vulnerabilities and weed out unpatched weaknesses.
As part of the device discovery process, checking that each edge device has been configured correctly is necessary. This can prevent attackers from accessing sensitive data or compromising the security of a network. Moreover, it will make the network more resilient to disruptions and attacks like routing attacks, where the network’s data pathways are blocked.
Finally, it is essential to have granular edge security settings to prevent any device from becoming a gateway into a larger network. This means enforcing security policies at the device level with a hardware root of trust to prevent firmware tampering and provide visibility into all the edge devices in the network. This is a crucial component of zero-trust networks and other advanced IT security strategies that should be implemented as part of an edge security platform.
With data moving around the network in real-time, OT and IT teams must work together to ensure all devices are secure. That includes the hardware, like wind turbines or well oil sites, and software, which must remain updated with security patches. These processes and systems must be monitored for suspicious activity, such as unauthorized access. The shift to remote working, accelerated by the pandemic, has also changed how companies interact with their data. This is particularly true regarding edge networks, which are increasingly accessed outside the office through cellular connectivity or a VPN. Edge networks must be protected by firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention systems to prevent unauthorized access. In addition, a Zero Trust model can require all users to authenticate to access the network, regardless of their device or network. This way, the risk of a rogue user entering an organization’s system is significantly reduced. Despite these challenges, building effective cybersecurity measures at the network’s edge is possible. This requires a new mindset from IT and OT teams that understands where safety and security overlap but doesn’t conflict. It requires a holistic approach that includes assessing risks, monitoring devices, applying patch management best practices, and implementing Zero Trust alongside identity management.
The most important tool in any cybersecurity arsenal is a network monitoring suite with threat detection, firewall, VPN, and DNS security tools. This suite should be deployed on every device and able to adapt to edge computing environments. Because the physical security of edge machines often falls short of data center standards, it’s critical to monitor how much information is being sent from or to these devices. This is important because adversaries can weaponize data transmission to sabotage the efficacy of an entire edge network. As data processing moves farther from corporate control, a different set of network security controls is needed. Most experts describe the solution as a “secure access service edge,” or SASE. This refers to a combination of software-defined networking (SD-WAN) services with cloud-based network security functions like firewall, threat prevention, and SSL/TLS encryption. This solution also supports Zero Trust, which requires all users to verify their identity before accessing any application or device. This ensures that only authorized personnel can configure or update devices.
Security Policy Management
Security measures are important to protect any network, especially with edge computing. Since this technology supports real-time data processing, it has an increased attack surface. It also poses additional challenges because it often occurs in remote locations – which can provide attackers with easy access to the company network and devices.
Cybersecurity solutions for edge computers can include:
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems.
- Secure connectivity protocols like VPNs.
The sensitivity of the data being handled by these technologies makes it essential to keep them up to date and constantly monitor them for any signs of trouble. This is why organizations must utilize a solution combining device detection and asset management with continuous monitoring and policy updates.
One way to address the challenges of securing the edge is by implementing a zero-trust security model. Using a zero-trust access approach means that all devices and users are considered not trusted by default. This eliminates many potential threats by ensuring an organization’s broader network doesn’t recognize any connections from the edge computing equipment. Instead, a device connected to an edge computer is required to authenticate itself and prove its identity before being given access to the network.