When two worlds collide: Why Edge Computing is disrupting the current IT/OT status quo when it comes to security

 

As Edge Computing continues to expand, differing priorities are inevitably going to cause growing friction between IT and OT – unless carefully managed. But, at the end of the day, when it comes to what is connected to company networks, IT should have their say on the implications for secure computing - no matter how pressing the demands of OT. 

 

This makes sense, even if their security model which what was once a castle is rapidly turning into a major airport passenger terminal. However, as to who should make the final decision will be down to individual user organizations.

 

Every smart “thing” is an intersection of the OT and IT worlds.  

Think about it. That “thing” could be anything from a smoke detector to an autonomous crane – you name it.  Whatever it may be, ‘smart’ implies that at its core lies a computer which must operate reliably and communicate securely with a various mix of local and remote control, static and dynamic software. In the typical Edge Computing scenario, OT teams will require many, many smart “things” to be connected to the network infrastructure. And time pressure is invariably going to be high to get these things on line as soon as possible after their acquisition. 

 

On the other side of the coin, IT policy will dictate caution over the ever growing security threat of cyber attack when adding more devices to the network. 

 

A more prudent approach is justifiable, judging by the growing cyber security “horror stories” in the news on an almost daily basis 

This is not surprising. As of today, most 'smart' objects have been designed with very sparse embedded computing practices concerning cyber protection. Just take a look at http://www.insecam.org and https://www.shodan.io/ to get an idea of the size of the problem that non-protected objects poses to Edge Computing. While it would inevitably take time to recover from accidents waiting to happen such as these, at least lessons should be learned and more companies will become sensitive to the problems. Tougher EU legislation will also enforce much stricter compliance. 

 

Undeniably, the rise of Edge Computing highlights the importance of adopting a more coordinated and closer procurement process between IT and OT; to safeguard against the growing security threat of unauthorised things being added or removed from the network. 

 

A sophisticated, yet easily and quickly deployable software layer is the solution to the problem 

Help is at hand. Kontron, as a leader and innovator in Embedded Computing Technology is already on the case. We are moving rapidly to address the growing edge-driven threats to secure computing monitoring and maintenance now facing IT and OT professionals. As they look to embrace the many possibilities - and manage the potential hazards - of Edge Computing we are poised to offer a clear approach, allowing IT and OT experts to collaborate on the same “things”.

 

So, who has the final say in your company when it comes to smart “things” deployment and secure computing at the edge of the network? Are your processes more OT or IT driven?

 

For more information on Kontron’s Secure Computing Solutions visit  

https://www.kontron.com/products/solutions/security/sec-line.html

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